How To Take The Best Instagram Food Photos Ever


Don’t you get annoyed when your photo is either too overexposed or too underexposed? While we thank our lucky stars for the auto function in digital cameras, it still doesn’t solve all of our problems. When taking photos in the day with sunlight, photos can either look beautifully raw (sunlight is the best lighting, always!) or be too overexposed; that means your photo may look too bright or harsh.

There are some things editing can’t solve and the key to avoiding bad photos is to make sure that the subject of your photo is always in focus. Zoom in to parts of your photo to check whether the photo is in focus to avoid disappointment during your editing process. Photos can look wonky if you force sharpen a blur photo or too grainy if your photo is too bright.

Here are some simple tips and tricks on how to take the best food photos.

Instagram-Object + Exposure


To your left, you can see that the first photo looks plain and boring with the edges of the sushi roll slightly overexposed. To pimp up your photo just a little bit more, add a subtle but complementary object to the back of the subject. As you can also tell, the background subject defines the edges of the sushi roll, so the exposure does not look as harsh anymore. In turn, the subject of your photo creates a crisper illusion to create a more defined photo.



When the sunlight is coming in from one direction, follow the same direction that the sunlight is coming in from to avoid ugly shadows in your photo. As you can see in the left photo, the camera was positioned against the sunlight, hence, multiple shadows are created and seen in the resulting raw image. There are tools to remove the shadows, but the photos will still look a lot dimmer than a properly lighted photo, as seen on the right.

You might already have a few go-to apps to edit your food photos in your phone or simply edit with Instagram’s basic functions. We’ve put together a list of the Best Photo Editing Apps for Food. So get your creative juices flowing and have fun editing!

In the photo on the left, you can tell that the subject matter was placed carelessly on a side that does not showcase the good side of the bowl and the piece of salmon, the main star ingredient, looks miniscule. On the right, it is obvious that the salmon is the main subject matter and the size looks much bigger than the photo on the left. This results in a more pleasing overall photo.

Varied Positioning


Your Instagram feed might come off as boring or one-dimensional if you take all your photos in just one style. Vary different angles, try out which position suits the subject matter best or even use your friend’s hands to pick up the bowl or plate, as seen in the photo on the right. A vibrant, multi-dimensional feed is more interesting than a boring and dull feed.



Depth of field can be your best friend or worst nightmare when you struggle to make sure the subject matter is in focus. However, when opportunity calls for a great depth of field, always take it. In the day, chances of bokeh in your background might be low, but as long as the background isn’t too jarring, go for it.

On the left side, you can see that the photo has no depth at all, making it extremely in-your-face and not that special. On the right side, you can see that the photo has different depth layers from the blurred out background and an in-focus foreground.



If you know that your subject matter is already vibrant in colour, do not a choose a messy background that will take the focus away from it, as seen in the photo on the left. Instead, pick a neutral-coloured background without any messy additions. This will ensure that the viewer of your photos will focus directly on the subject matter without getting distracted by anything else.

Artificial Lighting


If you’re dining alfresco in the night time or in a poorly-lit restaurant, you might have to improvise with your own artificial lighting. If you’re not the biggest fan of the harsh and bright camera flash, you can possibly use a candle (as seen in the photo on the left) to give a dreamy lighting to your romantic candlelight dinner food photo.

If a candle is no where in sight, use the flashlight on your mobile phone and shine it directly overhead for a more evenly lighted photo (as seen in the photo on the right).

About the writer:
Cheryl is a staff writer for ladyironchef. She loves a good steak and an even better cuppa. She eats just about anything and everything. In her free time, she regularly starts on sci-fi or fantasy movie marathons.