4 Tips for Capturing Insta-Worthy Food Photographs

insta-worthy food photography

Let’s face it — food photography is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. We love to photograph our food.

Why? Because food is a shared experience, something that connects us. It only makes sense that we would want to share that connection with our friends. Even science is in on the trend — studies show that our hunger hormones activate when we see delicious food pics! 

But snapping the perfect food pic is sometimes easier said than done. There are food photos everywhere you look, and some are better than others.

How do you capture it best so it looks as delicious as it tastes and stands out from the hundreds of other food photos in your friends’ feeds?

Today, we’re sharing our top tips for snagging food photos that will impress even the toughest food snob.

First Things First — Food Styling 

Nobody’s looking for a plain pb&j on a plate. Food photography is all about taking your meal and creating something Insta-worthy out of it. 

Think of your food like your clothing or hair — you need to take the time to style it!

When you take the picture is almost as important as what’s in the picture itself. Most foods are at their peak “body” when they come right out of the oven. Don’t wait until your food loses its appeal — snap that pic as quickly as you can, while it’s still piping hot. 

Pay attention to the plating — how you position vegetables around the main dish, the pattern of your sauce, the way the colors interact with each other. Create a visually appealing piece of art on your plate. (You can always hit Pinterest for some food-inspiration if you’re stumped!)

You also want to consider props because they can make all the difference. Think about your table setting. What can you add for a special pop? A vase with flowers? A fun placemat? Fancy silverware? Seasonal decor? 

Plan your setting and props in advance so that you can style your food and capture it at the opportune moment. 

Go Retro

You can use your smartphone to take food pics, but if you really want to stand out, go retro and try an instax instant photo camera

The instant print provides creative prop opportunities that will dazzle your followers. 

You can post a shot of your instant photo as is, or add layers by taking a close up print of your plate and using it as a prop in an aerial table setting picture.

If you’re entertaining a group, capture pictures of your friends and place those prints around the table setting as extra photo props. 

For an added twist, use your instax camera to take pictures of the ingredients you used, then position those prints around the finished product and snap a final photo.

You can even use instax prints to make a custom placemat of friends, food inspiration, books, or any images that inspire your food creativity — then use that placemat as a table setting for your next food pic.

Lighting — Food Photography’s Best Friend or Worst Enemy

When it comes to photography, lighting is always a key factor. But the ideal lighting for food is vastly different than what you want when you’re snapping a selfie.

The best food lighting uses soft light — lighting that’s bright with no harsh shadows. It shows the texture and details that make our food so appealing.

To nail soft lighting, you’ll need a diffuser to spread light evenly onto the scene. Ideally, you’ll also have a reflector to bounce light onto the food. You can use mirrors, white foam boards, or any reflective surface.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure you use side lighting. Place a ring light, lamp, or other light source beside your setup, using the diffuser in between the light source and your plate. 

It takes some practice to conquer food lighting photography, but it takes you from flat, unappealing visuals to photos full of life and texture.

Work that Off-Center Angle

Food photography offers a wide range of angles for you to experiment with. What’s more interesting — a straight on picture of a plate in the dead center of a shot? Or, a creatively placed plate with the camera angled to capture more of the table setting? 

Using off-center angles gives your food photography a unique look, draws the eye, and lets you show off your props. You can simply move the plate to one corner, or get down low and capture the shot from a side angle to provide more depth. 

If you want to get extra-creative, raise your camera up for an aerial shot! 

Play around with different angles and discover what works best with different types of food and settings. 

Food Photography – You on a Plate

For the aspiring food photographer, the possibilities are endless. With the right lighting, props that make your food pop, a well-planned setting, varied angles, and some old-fashioned imagination, you can capture food photos that rival those of your favorite influencer.

Just remember to be creative, be you, and experiment with different methods until you find what feels right, captures the essence of your food, and stands out.


This article was written by the INSTAX Brand Team. The INSTAX team is dedicated to helping people experience life more fully with their instant cameras. INSTAX wants to give individuals a tool to create, express, and share their memories. Learn more about INSTAX cameras, printers, and film here.

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