How to Take Pictures of Food for Instagram

By Chef Carla Contreras

If you’re a food professional, your Instagram feed is just as important as your website. The look and feel can connect people (and clients) with you right away…or they can keep on scrollin.’ Hey, there are a lot of photos to look at on the internet!

I know, because I work in the industry as a food stylist, chef, and health coach. Here are the Insta tips I always keep in mind—feel free to use ‘em for your own pics!

Pick a cohesive style for your feed.

This applies to your feed photos, Stories, and IGTV highlights. Think: light and bright, moody, colorful…This will determine what surface you place your food on, what props you decide to use, and even the type of food you choose to photograph. If you’re not sure of your style just yet, create a Pinterest board and play with different pictures you love. My feed is light with pops of color.

Edit. Edit. Edit. 

Unedited photos are great for Stories, and you can simply slap a filter on there if you want. But it’s worth taking some time to edit the photos you post on your feed using a free tool like Adobe Lightroom. Many photographers sell presets for food, but again, make sure it works with your cohesive style!

Use a natural or artificial light source. 

I love natural light for my photos. This may not be possible with your work schedule or kitchen, but try taking a bunch of photos at once if you can (say, on a nice, bright Saturday). Oh, and if you’re cooking a ton of food at once, make sure to freeze any leftovers!

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Use a scheduling app to see how your photos look together. 

You should be telling a story with your photos, and ideally, treating your grid like your own magazine. A scheduling app like Plann will help you see how it all comes together before you post, so you can change the order if you need to. It’s much easier for people to know what you’re about when your feed makes sense.

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Show your face. 

I know—isn’t this about food?! Yes, but people are part of your community because of YOU. If you seriously don’t want to show your face, I get it, but I urge you to get out of your comfort zone. Don’t believe me? A study by the Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs found that photos with faces in them are 38 percent more likely to get likes on Instagram. Don’t be shy!

(Photo: Carla Contreras)

About Chef Carla Contreras
Chef Carla Contreras is the founder of the online cooking school Cook+Chop. She competed on season 12 of Chopped! on Food Network. She is Nutritious Life Certified, a Certified Holistic Health Coach, a food stylist, and photographer with a stacked culinary resume.

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