As The Odyssey states, “We ultimately love food photography because it takes something boring and makes it unique.’ Indeed, food photography has become such a big part of our lives. Whether you enjoy taking food porn pictures or you appreciate looking at them, it is hard to deny we are surrounded by food photography.
Today, we would like to go further in depth to understand food photography on Instagram. Why is Instagram food photography such a big thing and how do we take aesthetic food pictures?
To better understand the context of Instagram food photography, we can start off by asking ourselves one basic question. Why is Instagram food photography so popular?
Reasons behind the popularity of Instagram food photography
You might be questioning the love for food porn on social media. After all, we do not actually get to fill our stomachs while browsing through food porn on Instagram right?
However, that is not the case. Social media users can be deemed as visual creatures and sometimes the satisfaction from looking at food photography far outweighs the actual taste of food.
Past studies have concluded that the act of looking at food photography can be similar to actually eating something. This is because both food photography and the act of eating activates the same section of our brains.
To add on, research participants reportedly felt that a dish tasted better after being shown a good quality picture of it as compared to a substandard picture.
This implies that the power of Instagram food photography is much more than the visuals we see. In fact, it goes on to impact our psychology in ways we might not be aware of.
You might be tempted to embark on the Instagram food photography community. Therefore, we have collected some tips from experts to help you ace your Instagram food photography game!
Food porn tips: #1. The importance of natural lighting
This first tip is a general but important one. No matter what you are shooting, do try to take your pictures in natural daylight.
While artificial lights like lamps are sometimes used (in the indoors), they might alter the colour of your picture, casting a yellow or orange hue on the images.
Therefore, if natural light is available, do make good use of it. An extra tip would be to use a reflector if the sunlight is not in your favour. You can either purchase mini collapsible ones that are handy or make use of surrounding objects that have the ability to reflect light.
However, while natural light is great, try avoiding shooting under extreme sunlight as this can cause harsh shadows on the objects. Instead, opt for sunlight that is less harsh, where soft lights create natural looking shadows.
The last tip is also to make use of your environment when shooting Instagram food photography indoors. Areas like windows are the perfect background for light to enter for the insta-worthy food porn.
Food porn tips: #2. Take note of the shadows
A topic highly related to lighting, shadows in food photography. Shadows are not a bad thing. In fact, they can add depth to a picture.
However, if not done well, shadows could possibly ruin a flawless foodporn image.
Therefore, you can try out different angles to ensure the shadow in your picture complements the image. Some tips you can take not of would be the ratio of the shadow to the object. While there is nothing wrong with a shadow that takes up the majority of the image, most people would not like that.
As mentioned in the above, shadows are highly dependent on the type of lighting present when photo taking. According to iphonephotographyschool. “Strong directional sunlight will cast hard, dark shadows, whereas an overcast day creates a more diffused light, making the shadows much softer.”
You can try taking your pictures on a slightly cloudy day or simply move to a shady area to avoid harsh shadows.
At the end of the day, you are the creative director behind your Instagram food photography. Therefore, do play around with lighting to tune any shadows in your picture to your liking!
Food porn tips : #3. Use your apps well
Since we can’t always control natural factors such as lighting, photo editing apps might come in handy!
Photo editing apps are available to adjust the lighting, contrast, exposure of a picture. If you do not like the filters these apps offer, you can always try using Instagram’s many filters.
A piece of advice would be to not go for a filter that is tinted. After all, in Instagram food photography, colours are very important. We would not want food that looks to be off in colour.
Food porn tips : #4. Keep in mind the colours
There is no rule to stick by when it comes to colour. If you have a liking for muted tones, feel free to use a plain background for your food photography shoot. Likewise, if you enjoy vibrant colours, take courage to experiment with different colours.
However, do keep in mind the impact of colours on food photography. Colours can affect the impression of an image, with different colours generating different responses.
Neutral tones are often easy on the eyes, evoking a sense of calmness. On the other hand, vibrant colours have the ability to stand out and capture attention, evoking feelings of passion.
You can play with colour when it comes to the background of a picture or with the object (food!) itself. The type of food you choose to shoot will ultimately affect the primary focus colour in a food photography shot.
Food porn tips : #5. Layout & angles
Coming to the technical aspects of Instagram food photography — the layout and angles.
I am sure no one takes a selfie from an undesirable angle. An angle that causes your not so obvious double chin to pop out would be the last thing all of us want.
Likewise, in food photography angles are important. Thinking about which angle to shoot from not only helps with the shadows (tip #2) in a picture. It also helps adjust the focus of a picture.
If a particular dish is your focus, you might want to shoot your picture from the side, as your mind dish can be placed closer to the camera.
If every item holds equal weightage, you can take your pictures from above. This will allow the camera to capture every dish in full detail.
Before shooting, do not forget to adjust the layout of the background. You can always move your spread around to decide the best layout for a picture. Additionally, make use of the items around you to decorate the background. A simple flower vase could work wonders!
There it is! What you need to know about food photography on Instagram. While there are some great tips here you can try out, do remember that you are the ultimate content creator. Therefore, let your creativity do the job!