Forks in the Road: Food and Travel in Central PA - A Community Blog

Adrienne Wolter shares local restaurant reviews, day trips and cooking adventures

6 Tips for Instagramming Your Meal

Written by Adrienne Wolter, Community Blogger | Mar 24, 2014 8:15 AM

Stunning. That luscious, juicy, pink skin, soft and velvety. Sultry in its curves and firmness, it lays there, gracing the delicate porcelain. Inside, bursting with life, flavor and sweetness, ripe and perfect with age. Waiting to be photographed. Waiting to be noticed.

Capturing this moment brings out the best in what Instagrammers call #foodporn. A single peach on a crisp, white, dessert plate becomes more than just a yummy treat. This fruit becomes a work of art, a moment for others to lust after, a conversation.


Photo by Sonya Yu

However, not all photographs of food are this tantalizing. On the contrary, many amateur users that snap shots of their dinner plates make some serious rookie mistakes. From overexposure to spamming their friends with way too many uploads of plastic-looking soups and beer cheese, many fail to capture the subtlety of Instagram food porn.

Don't fall under the amateur voyeur trap. Instead, become a professional and sell those mouth-watering shots to all your friends on Instagram. By following some basic tips below, you too, can be equipped with the necessary skills and drive to become a food Instagrammer.


Photo by Sonya Yu

1. Equip Yourself

Focus on taking higher quality images by using your phone's camera prior to uploading your picture onto Instagram. Apps such as Camera+ and Photoshop Express have great features for editing. For better results, try to avoid self-editing in real time. This will put a damper on your dining experience and ruin the moment for others. Also, your Instagram connections will appreciate the lack of "spammy" uploads of unfinished projects.


Photo by Sonya Yu

2. Know Your Limits

Toy with angles and perspectives. Instead of approaching your food head-on, experiment with your surroundings. Capture your meal from above for a bird's-eye-view. You'd be surprised how much is revealed and how many details are captured. At the same time, understand and know your limits. For example, a typical phone picture is captured in a rectangular frame. When uploaded to Instagram, you have a square or 1:1 ratio. Keep this in mind so that you don't cut any of your image off. Also, consider the "rule of thirds" to frame your photo.


Photo by Sonya Yu

3. It Takes Two to Tango

Having a friend to help you photograph the perfect Instagram is great for lighting, since the right lighting is so essential. Have one phone provide lighting above your food as you take the picture. Avoid spotlights and the flash on your phone; this causes abrasive reflections on glass and faded colors. Avoid taking a picture like a Christian school student at lunch, trying to sneak a cafeteria food photo before the lunch lady takes away their phone. You never want your food to look fake, plastic and utterly unappetizing. When possible, sit near windows and make sure the light source is not directly behind the subject.


Photo by Sonya Yu

4. Au Natural

Alas, not all foods are photogenic. Be creative and think of different ways to beautify your plate. Consider the dishware, silverware, table top and atmosphere. Be classy with your photo effects and provide as much natural beauty as possible. Try to incorporate colorful food and attempt to achieve a soft focus. The blur tool is an excellent way to highlight your food on Instagram and avoid too much focus or contrast.


Photo by Sonya Yu

5. Live In the Moment

This should go without saying, but don't ruin the moment, be in the moment. Essentially, enjoy the experience and take many photos. Then, store your phone away to work on editing and uploading your Instagram photos later. Your biggest regret would be fixating too much on a picture and letting your food go cold and irritate your dinner guest. Check out photographer Sonya Yu for beautifully captured food.


Photo by Sonya Yu

6. Short and Sweet

 Keep it simple. Don't decorate your food with unwanted or tacky gimmicks. The restaurant has their own presentation style and it contributes to the experience. Unless you want to cook your own meal and attempt the same dish to perfection, leave it to the cooks and don't quit your day job. Simply stated, capture the raw moment. Don't try to glorify it. Avoid writing notes on napkins to label your dessert, and remove the table menus and beer lists. Enjoy its simplicity.

Savor each Instagram with these 6 tips for a successful foodie photo. Just remember, these tips come with a warning: food may cause uncontrollable drooling, stomach pains and an addiction to food porn.

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