How to take Food Photography for Instagram the easy Way

Silvain • updated June 25, 2022 • 7 min read

Best Food Photography for Instagram: 23 Tips

There’s no denying Instagram has a great thirst for food posts, with chefs, bloggers, producers, and home cooks all snapping, sharing, and liking on the image-led platform.

Instagram is used by 500 million individuals globally, with 300 million of them using it every day, including you and us.


23 essential techniques for food photography for Instagram to improve your phone photos

#1. Shoot in natural light wherever feasible

Because artificial lighting might make your food appear unappealing, it’s better to shoot in natural light. Shooting adjacent to a window is the simplest way to accomplish this.

If you make a reservation at a restaurant, simply request a table near a window – your photos will be 100 times better.

#2. However, avoid shooting in direct sunlight

Shooting in direct sunlight (such as outside on a sunny day) might make your food appear harsh and cast long shadows. This can be cool and provide a modern air to some images, but it can look overly intense in most food photos.

Shoot in diffused light, such as light shining through a window of light that has gone through a thin curtain, to get around this.

food photography for Instagram, make use of daylight

#3. Maintain the aesthetics of your Instagram feed

Consider how your Instagram feed looks as a whole, as this is what people see first when considering whether or not to follow you. If the photographs don’t flow neatly together, it can look a bit sloppy.

To accomplish this, shoot as much as possible against a consistent backdrop or color. Stick with it and develop a style for your account, whether it’s a rustic kitchen table or clean, fresh, and white.

As a general rule, avoid filters, and be mindful of warm tones or yellow illumination. Crop, brighten, and increase the saturation of your photographs. Aim for a uniform look across your postings.

#. Use a white napkin or piece of paper to bounce light onto your food

If you’re taking a shot near a window, place something white (such as a piece of paper or a napkin) against the plate’s non-window side. This will reflect some of the window light onto the gloomy side of your food, revealing additional details in an area that is frequently too dark. Reduce light to create dark and moody photos.

#5. While shooting, manually adjust the exposure

While shooting, most Phones allow you to manually control the exposure. To do so, when snapping a shot, tap and swipe up or down to open the exposure settings.

This just affects how light or dark your shot is, which might be useful when shooting in bright or gloomy conditions.

#6. Keep your photographs as genuine as possible

Food looks best when it’s a little sloppy, drippy, and oozy, so don’t try to make it appear too flawless. One thing I’ve learned from photo shoots is not to overfill the plate. Allowing the food to breathe will make it look even more lovely. Read more about food styling.

Keeping the tableware and cutlery plain, the decorations might overpower the meal and make the meal appear fussy.

Good lighting is essential! If you’re shooting outside, position yourself with the sun behind you to emphasize the meal and pick up on all the fine details.

#7. Make the white balance a bit cooler

Yellow tones can make an image appear ancient and dismal, so I usually reduce the warmth and boost the saturation in the self-edit tools to compensate.

food photography for Instagram, clean your phone's lens

#8. Clean the lens

A good piece of advice is to clean your camera lens before you begin taking pictures. Most phones spend the day buried in bags or pockets, accumulating a layer of dirt. A short polish with a clean cloth can make a big difference in image sharpness.

#9. Avoid using zoom

Simply move the camera closer to your food to get a better view. Using the zoom reduces the quality of your images and makes the food appear sloppy.

#10. Take a few shots

When photographing food, always take more shots than necessary. That way, you can go through and select the ones with the most concentration. Almost half of the shots come out blurry, so having selections is wonderful.

food photography for Instagram, read your phone's manual

#11. Learn about your phone’s settings

Learn how to use your phone’s features: enable grid lines, tap the screen to focus before shooting, and consider utilizing the AE/AF lock to adjust the exposure and focus.

#12. Nice background

Look for visually appealing backgrounds to provide depth to your photo – in pubs, cafes, and restaurants, I’ll look for graphic tiled floors, colorful wallpapers, textured walls, and table tops.

You don’t always have to shoot where you’re served; Pick up your glass or dish and go over to a different area of the venue to get more light or a photogenic background.

Consider your surroundings; you don’t want to create a commotion by taking pictures and disrupting other diners!

#13. Use other phones as light-source

Instead of using your flash to photograph food at a dark restaurant, ask a friend to swipe up on their phone and utilize their torch app.

You may alter the light’s intensity by moving it closer or farther away and adjusting the angle. Just be careful not to overuse this tip and blind your fellow diners.

#14. Try firing from above

When in doubt, shoot from the sky. Sure, it’s not the most innovative or intriguing viewpoint to photograph from, but practically every dish looks good from this perspective. 

The goal here is to keep your phone as parallel to the subject as possible. Your shot will not have that crisp, bird-eye style if it is slightly slanted.

food photography for Instagram, compose your photo

#15. Consider the composition

Use asymmetry and negative space to your advantage. Don’t be scared to leave some space on one side to enhance intrigue. It’s critical that the shot be well-lit so that the ingredients can really stand out. Use natural light and, if possible, position yourself near a window.

#16. Enable your photo grid

This is very useful when photographing something properly lined up from above (like cookie dough balls). The lines will be displayed to help guide you during shooting, but they will not appear in the final image. To enable your grid, go to settings > photo and camera > grid and turn it on.

food photography for Instagram, enable the grid on your phone

#17. Share a story

It’s easy to think of photography’s storytelling potential. When you initially begin, you should focus on lighting, composition, and camera settings.

But, after you’ve learned the fundamentals, what’s the next logical step? How can you maintain people’s attention for more than a few seconds?

#18. Make use of your friends’ phones as well

There will be times when you feel driven to photograph your dinner in a candlelit dining room. You will almost certainly fail. The light created by your phone’s flash will not flatter the cuisine. Read about how to take food photos in low light.

If you’re dining with friends, have them turn on their phones’ lights and position them toward the dish as you shoot the picture without using the flash.

They can also use lightweight white napkins to reflect the phone light. Be considerate, however. Nobody wants to eat next to the group that switches on the floodlights for every single dish.

food photography for Instagram, shoot from above

#19. Experiment with a different angle

Take an overhead shot of your food by standing up or ducking down to meet your dish at a 30- to 45-degree angle from the table. Read more about Camera Angles for Food Photography.

#20. Take your time when composing the shot

You might be surprised to learn that I take the time to set up each of my food photographs. It can be as easy as using a single thing intelligently, such as my daughter’s half-eaten cookie. Take your time for the composition.

#21. Don’t be afraid to rotate the plate

Take the path of light. Sometimes you have to place that plate on the floor to get the best shot. (Do not attempt this at a restaurant.)

#22. Don’t move your phone as much as you can

If you move or shake while taking a picture, the picture will be blurry. To see if a photo is in focus, zoom in on the food on your phone and see if it is clear. Read more about, how to take sharp food photos.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a photo is actually in focus, so zooming in will help you choose the right one.

#23. Use filters or make small changes by hand instead

Some things are better with filters than others, but the food isn’t always one of them. You can’t change each part of the editing separately, so some settings might be too high and others too low. Instead, download a good app like Snapseed for editing and make small changes yourself.

For the uninitiated, a dish might just be about taste, but for a food photographer, it’s about the visual feast. Food filters for Lightroom are the tools that plate this feast, ensuring every image is seasoned to perfection.


10 talented food photographers on Instagram for your inspiration

Inspire your imagination and your taste senses with these mouthwatering Instagram feeds of professional food photography.

Instagram’s #food search returns about 490 million results, followed by #foodporn with about 290 million results.
Whether you’re a novice or an expert photographer, food is a popular and delectable subject matter.

Even though Instagram is overflowing with food photos, there are a select few taken by talented photographers that will leave you craving more.

Whether you’re looking for a professional food photographer, food styling, project planning, starting a food blog, or even more on #foodporn, we’ve got you covered.

Leslie Grow – @lesliegrow

Thank me later once you’ve had a look at Leslie Grow’s Instagram feed. The first time I started scrolling, I had no idea how long it had taken me to scroll into oblivion.

A cuisine and still life photographer, she lives in Los Angeles and creates images that are both vivid and austere. In her work, she typically employs new angles and dramatic lighting, and her Instagram feed is awe-inspiring and actually brings food to life.

Despite knowing what a peanut looks like, I’ve never taken the time to appreciate all of its delectable intricacies. Phenomenal.

Sarah Brunella – @sarah_fel

It’s easy to lose track of time scrolling through this cake-filled feed. Everything from elegantly folded bread to fruit-filled cakes to bite-sized goodies made especially for Sarah Brunella’s son may be found here for your viewing pleasure.

Aimee Twigger – @twiggstudios

Aimee Twigger’s Instagram feed would be like The Secret Garden if it were a real person with a passion for food photography.

Aimee not only photographs but also styles the cuisine she posts on her Instagram feed. In the perfect squares, the colors range from eerie and enigmatic to vibrant and alive.

As a result, I’ve developed an enormous and unrelenting yearning for hot cross buns after looking at these photos, which include magical food.

David Chang – @davidchang

As the host of Ugly Delicious, American chef and restaurateur David Chang uses his cellphone camera to send food photos to his one million Instagram followers.

In addition to posting mouthwatering dishes from hidden gems, he also features some of the industry’s most forward-thinking chefs.

Alex Lau – @ihatealexlau

Alex Lau began photographing for his high school newspaper. Later, he sold all his photographic equipment to travel Europe.

Lau started a photographic internship at Bon Appetit without ever having done food photography before.

He fell in love with art when his career took off. Alex worked full-time for Bon Appetit but now freelances for cookbooks and businesses including Good Drinks by Julia Vernon Bainbridge and Tsingtao.

His photos are detail-oriented, beautifully lit, and angled.

Steve Hansen – @stevehansenvisuals

Steve Hansen’s food seems to defy gravity in his paintings. It’s not uncommon to see this photographer photographing food and beverages while they’re soaring through the air.

Hansen’s shots contain a special ingredient: imagination. For those who follow him on Instagram, he regularly gives them a peek behind the scenes at how he creates these mind-boggling images.

David Loftushas – @davidloftus

David Loftushas had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s most celebrated chefs, including Jamie Oliver, Rachel Khoo, and Gennaro Contaldo.

Close-ups of uncooked food and clumsily plated miracles adorn his Instagram account.

Magali Polverino – @magalipolverino

Pop art may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of food photography, but Magali Polverino’s Instagram page will change your opinion.

She’s an Argentinean with a penchant for bright colors, geometric designs, and food-inspired patterns. Her feed reflects these passions.

An artist, she transforms food from something you eat by mouth into something you can eat by looking at. In each picture, you’ll be whisked down a fanciful and delightful road, and I’m sure you’ll be desiring something sweet.

Dyutima Jha – @dyutima_myfoodlens

Dyutima Jha, an architect-turned-food photographer, provides a little something extra for her fans. From how to stay creative to how to emphasize glossy food, the Singapore-based photographer trains her fans on everything connected to food photography.

Her website will inspire you to experiment with new food photography techniques and styles like never before.

Linda Lomelin – @linda_lomelino

When it comes to photographing food, who is the best? Some could argue that a photographer who is also an accomplished cook would be the best candidate.

When it comes to baking, photography, and cookbook author Linda Lomelin has it all. It’s a Swedish photographer who prepares stunning baked pastries before photographing somber, edgy photographs.

What are your tips for Food Photography for Instagram – let us know in the comments!

By Furoore team member Silvain

Silvain is a French/German national and has been with the Furoore Team since the beginning. He likes to write about various photography themes, especially food photography. If you leave a comment, he will come back to you to answer any questions you may have.


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