Reading time 12 minutes
This is a featured article. Click here for more information.

If you use Instagram, you’ve probably seen enticing food posts and photos. With the right preparation, you can take these mouth-watering photos as well. Start planning the shot before the meal is ready. Set up in natural light and use colorful, eye-catching ingredients. Experiment with different angles and lighting until you find the one that gives you the best results. If you want to get sharper photos, adjust your camera settings or edit the pictures with an app or filter. After this, your photo is all ready to post.


[Edit]Setting Up the Shot

  1. Cook a meal using colorful ingredients if you’re photographing your own food. Start planning the photo before you even plate the food. Choose meals with different colors and textures that will catch a viewer’s eye on Instagram. Try to mix and contrast colors so your photos are as vibrant as possible.[1]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 1.jpg
    • Even if your main dish isn’t colorful, try adding some more vibrant side dishes. Steak, for instance, is not especially colorful, but a side salad with lots of different ingredients introduces new colors into the frame.
    • Cut fruit is another great way to add color and shine to your photos.
  2. Set up your photo in natural lighting for good shadows and textures. Natural lighting usually produces the best results for food photos. Set up a table near a window to capture the natural light flowing in. Take the photo from the front so you don’t block the light.[2]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 2.jpg
    • Don’t photograph outside in direct sunlight. This creates harsher shadows. Photograph near a window instead.
  3. Use bright backlighting if you’re inside. If you don’t have access to a window for natural light, then placing a bright light behind the food also gives you good illumination. Use a lamp or studio light and photograph the food from the front to get a nice display of shadows.[3]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 3.jpg
    • If the front of the food looks too dark, you can use a reflector to bounce some light back and brighten it up. You can buy an inexpensive one online.
    • Sometimes, darker indoor lighting produces nice results, but it takes an experienced photographer to make that lighting look good.
    • Don’t use the flash on your camera or phone. This usually doesn’t make the food look good.
  4. Place props around to add more atmosphere. Just a plate of food might not make the most exciting picture. Liven up the photo with utensils, cups, side dishes, colorful napkins, and any other props that would enhance the photo. Just remember to keep the picture focused on the food, and that the props are only a supplement.[4]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 4.jpg
    • Make the props fit the mood of the meal. If you’re photographing pancakes, for example, position a cup of coffee and a bowl of syrup nearby.
    • If you’re showcasing your cooking or baking skills, try arranging the ingredients you used around the food.
  5. Plate the food so you can see all its ingredients. When your photography space is all set up, then place the food down. Arrange the ingredients on the plate so all the ingredients show clearly. The different colors and textures will create an eye-catching picture that your followers will love.[5]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 5.jpg
    • If you’re in a restaurant, plates are usually already arranged in a visually-appealing way, so most of the work is probably already done for you.
    • Don’t worry about making the plate look pristine. Leave in the drips or crumbs to accent the picture.
    • Have your photography space set up before the food is ready so you can take the pictures while the food is fresh.
  6. Add different ingredients to introduce a color contrast. If your food still needs a little something to catch the eye, try adding some more ingredients as a garnish. Make sure these new ingredients introduce a new color to contrast it with the rest of the dish. This will make your photo stand out much more.[6]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 6.jpg
    • For example, a few basil leaves on top of a plate of pasta with red sauce adds a new, eye-catching color dimension.
    • Sprinkling parsley or oregano on your dish also introduces new colors in a simple way.

[Edit]Snapping the Perfect Photo

  1. Use a camera instead of a phone for the clearest shots. Many of the food pictures you see on Instagram are taken with a professional camera, not a phone. Cameras use high-quality lenses and include lots of options for zooming, lighting, contrast, and texture. If you want your shots to look as good as they can, then invest in a camera instead.[7]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 7.jpg
    • There are many choices for a good camera. Try investigating the cameras that some of your favorite Instagram photographers use for the best type for you.
    • This is optional, and you should only buy a camera if it fits your budget. Otherwise, a phone camera will work fine.
  2. Take the picture when the food is as fresh as possible. Fresh food looks much better in a photograph. If you let the food sit around, ingredients will start wilting, getting soggy, losing their color, and overall looking much less vibrant. For the best results, take the picture as soon as the food comes out.[8]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 8.jpg
    • Remember to have your photo stage set up before the food is ready. Otherwise, the food will sit around while you set up.
  3. Take the photo from the top or side, depending on what look you’re going for. These are the 2 most common angles for Instagram shots. Both produce different textures and shadows, so the one you use depends on what look you want. Experiment to find the angle you prefer.[9]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 9.jpg
    • If you want to show off the scenery or shadows in the photo, then opt for a side angle.
    • A top photo could show off the ingredients better than a side shot. Choose this angle if you have a complex dish with lots of elements.
    • For the best results, try both angles and see which you like best.
  4. Include the surroundings if you’re in a scenic location. Instagram food photos are about a lifestyle as well as the food. If you’re visiting a lakefront, beach, or the mountains, arrange your food so the background shows in the photo. This enhances the mood of your post.[10]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 10.jpg
  5. Adjust your aperture to AV mode to let the right amount of light in. Aperture is a camera setting that controls the amount of light in the lens. The AV setting automatically finds the best light level and adjusts the camera accordingly. This is ideal for food photos.[11]

    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 11.jpg
    • If you’re an experienced photographer, you can adjust the aperture manually, but this takes practice to find the right levels.
    • Unless you have a photography app, most phone cameras won’t have this control.
  6. Set your ISO below 400 in low-light settings. ISO is a setting that sharpens the photo in dark settings. If you’re taking photos without a lot of light, adjust your ISO below 400 for more clarity.[12]

    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 12.jpg
    • Some smartphones have an ISO setting, so check on yours to see if you can adjust it.
  7. Zoom to fill the whole frame so the scene looks vibrant. Try to cut down on the amount of empty space in the photo. Either get closer or zoom in to fill up the space. If you’re only photographing one plate, then a few props could also fill up that space.[13]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 13.jpg
    • Some photographers like to zoom in so some of the props are out of frame. This makes the space look larger and more active than if everything were perfectly in frame.
    • You could also crop the photo afterward to get rid of blank space.
    • Too many props will make the photo look too busy. Make sure the food is still the main focus.
  8. Keep the camera steady to avoid getting a fuzzy shot. Fuzzy or out of focus shots and ruin a good picture. Hold the camera or phone as steady as possible until you take your shot. Then, always check the photo to make sure it came out well.[14]
    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 14.jpg
    • Some props may be out of focus. This is okay as long as the food is clear.
    • Remember, you can take as many pictures as you want, so keep trying until you get it right.
  9. Experiment with different lighting and arrangements to get a shot you like. All photographers will tell you that repetition and practice are key. You might have to take 10 photos to get one that you like. That’s fine, and all part of the process. Try all different angles and lighting to see what you prefer.[15]

    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 15.jpg
    • Remember that different food might look better in different lighting or from a different angle. There is no universal rule.
    • As you get better at photography, you’ll have to take less photos to get the one you want.
  10. Edit the photo with a filter or app if you want to make changes. If you want to, you can make some changes to the photo before posting it. Many apps and software let you edit photos. You can adjust the lighting, colors, contrast, and filter to get the best picture possible. Try all the options to enhance your photo before posting it.[16]

    Take Food Pictures for Instagram Step 16.jpg
    • Instagram has some basic filters and editing options if you want simple edits. For more involved editing, try an editing software.
    • You could also choose to keep your photos unfiltered. This is a stylistic choice.


  • Try to post a story along with the photo. This gives the post a more personal touch that your viewers can identify with.



  1. Read, of course, far from my topic. But, nevertheless, it is possible to cooperate with you. How do you yourself feel about trust management?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *