If you really creep back on my Instagram I used to have some seriously ugly photos. I used to message other food bloggers and ask for help, but sadly no response. And trust me, I get it! When I get messages that require a long ass paragraph response I’m like sh*t…. This is a lot. That’s usually my cue to write a blog post, because sending a link is a lot easier than writing an essay.
First things first, I want to point out the difference between what I do and what a food stylist/photographer does. I take photos of the food that I eat. When you compare my photos to those of a professional food stylist, well you really can’t compare. A lot of the time the pretty food you see on Instagram, in cook books and on advertisements is inedible. They use spray paint, makeup and a lot of the time they under cook the food so it doesn’t look dried out. None of which I would ever do, because you can’t eat a taco with eyeshadow on it. I’m here to share tips that I use, but I want you to know I am by no means a professional at this. I also pride myself on the fact that I eat everything I post. These are just some easy ways to get you started taking prettier, drool worthy photos!
- Lighting is key– Always use natural light when you can! My favorite spot to shoot is a shaded spot right next to the best direct light area in my apartment. You usually do not want the light shining directly on your food.
- Side plates 4 ever– My biggest mistake when I first started my blog is that I used big dinner plates. Now, I only use small side plates because the food completely fills it up. Blank space = not pretty.
- Garnish, garnish, garnish– Always add a little somethin’ somethin’ on top. Whether it’s black pepper, fresh herbs, hot sauce, etc.
- Show detail– Don’t forget, food doesn’t have personal space so don’t be afraid to get all up in there!! I used to take shots from so far away, but I realized that people love to see texture and detail.
- Give yourself options– Would this look good with a bite taken out of it? Probably. But take some before photos too in case it doesn’t work out. Same with certain garnishes and sauces! Most of the time it will add to your photo, but sometimes drizzling sauce can be a fail so always have backup!
- Accessorize– Buy some cute plates, cutlery, and dish towels to add to your shots (I love World Market & West Elm). It makes such a difference!
- Photo Editing– I love Chelsea Jean’s presets for my food pics, but I also use Snapseed and Afterlight.
- Lighting– We can’t always use natural light! When it’s dark, I use my box light and it’s the best! Here’s the Amazon link– it’s like $40!
- Plates and flatware– Keep in mind you can just buy one! My cupboard is filled with a random assortment of plates and I have tons of different forks in my drawer.
- Props– Stock up on other props to add to your photos like cute dish towels, small little bowls for sauces, serving spoons, etc. I’m always on the lookout!
- Backgrounds– I used tons of white poster board before I got a white kitchen- so helpful! I also love using contact paper on a piece of wood for a cute white marble or wood background.
WHAT NOT TO DO ft. ME!
- Too much blank space– Again, get some side plates!! Dinner plates are too large 99% of the time.
- Avoid branding- Don’t include branding unless it really fits with the photo. Most of the time, people don’t like seeing labels in photos.
- Get closer– Don’t be afraid to show detail!!! I used to take my pictures so far away, but people really want to see every detail.
Hope that was helpful! Tag me in your pretty pics! xoxo BYB