Sarah McGrory –
Love it or hate it, food boasting on social media is an epidemic.
Sign into your Instagram or Facebook account and see for yourself – a deluge of food photos, many of questionable quality, proudly posted by your friends for your alleged viewing pleasure.
There’s bound to be a photo of the grim green breakfast smoothie someone mortgaged their house for at a hipster location this morning or the quinoa and raw vegetable salad they diligently prepared for today’s lunch to prove that they really are healthy. There will be endless coffee photos too – overhead shots of coffee art or takeaway coffee cups at the beach. Other food boasters will post murky close-ups of dinner in a dimly lit ‘hatted’ restaurant where you can’t discern if they’re eating mains or dessert.
I have a confession to make: As a food blogger, I am 100 per cent guilty of food boasting. However, I do have one simple rule: I only ever post good-looking food photos – there’s less chance of annoying those friends who don’t give a hoot about what I am eating.
Here are my Three Tips for Better Food Photos on Instagram.
If you’re going out to dinner think twice before you post a photo of your meal taken with your smartphone. Restaurant lighting at night is usually inadequate and using the flash creates reflections on cutlery, tableware and glassware. Plus, the white balance is always out. Stick to daytime photography outdoors or indoors near a window. If you’re outside, don’t put your food right out in the sun but find some softer, diffused light under a tree or umbrella. If the restaurant menu is printed on light paper or card you can even use this to reflect or ‘bounce’ the light around your dish to remove dark shadows.
Up until last year Instagram photos were square only. This meant your food looked better centred in the photo. Now you can post regular photo sized images to Instagram, which gives you even more room for creativity. Whichever aspect you choose, keep the rule of thirds in mind. Imagine your frame is divided into a nine-part grid. The rule of thirds says that your main subject should be placed either along those lines or at their intersections. Also, while top-down stylised photos are on trend, the texture and shape of food is often lost on teeny Instagram photos. Images from the perspective of the eater work best, of if you are taking a photo of a tall dish such as a layered cake, take it from eye level for more impact.
I beg you – please go easy on the Instagram filters! There’s nothing worse than a garden salad that looks like it has been irradiated. I rarely use Instagram’s filters but I am a fan of the tools – in particular I like to use the Sharpen tool if I feel my shaky hands have put the photo a little out of focus and the Vignette tool (used sparingly) to gently to make the food ‘pop’. I also dabble with Highlights, Shadows or Warmth while keeping it natural.
Follow Sarah on Instagram @getforkedandfly