9 expert tips for taking awesome food pics for your Instagram

Amp up your Insta in minutes with these top tips from the professionals

9 expert tips for taking awesome food pics for your Instagram

If, like us, you love taking a proud snap of your lockdown banana bread or a cool cross-section of your sourdough, then you will love these savvy hints and tips! It's never been easier to take professional-style shots in the comfort of your home – and with only a few tweaks of the lighting and a pretty backdrop, your Instagram will have a whole new look. Follow our top tips from the experts and you can amp up your Insta in no time. Let's get snapping!


1) Keep it lit

Art director Jack Cunningham says, 'My go-to tip for great-quality food photography is to utilise natural lighting. However, don’t get sucked in to using direct sunlight – this will bleach the colour out of the shot. Instead, use indirect light or, even better, diffused light.' 

The best way to use indirect light is to place the dish near a window, but make sure it’s about ½ metre away so the light is a little more dispersed. You could also drape a sheet or cloth over your window to allow enough light in but keep enough out.


Image by @mandjames

2) Food styling

'Food is best shot immediately after it’s been prepared,’ says Jack. ‘The longer you leave food, the worse it will look, so plan the placement of your dish and any props you will be using prior to shooting. Keep the food styling vibrant. If you feel your dish could do with a little colour or variety, add sprigs of mint or a scattering of parsley, depending on whether the dish is savoury or sweet.’


Image by @catedixon_food

3) Think Props

‘Try not to force the placement of cutlery and napkins when it comes to propping your pic,' says Jack. 'Let the props sit where they would naturally.'

Video producer Lydia Bowden explains, 'You can spot an overly thought addition from a mile away! Make it look perfectly imperfect – scatter over those crumbs but make them look natural.'


Image by @catedixon_food  

4) Consider your background

When selecting a background surface, think of the colours involved in the food and the main dish or plate, and select complementary colours. Clashing colours will kill the food in an instant and distract from your amazing food!

Food stylist and chef Cate Dixon says, 'Don’t be afraid of a little colour to bring a dish to life. Whether it’s a a stunning background or bright kitchenware, colour makes your food pop!'


Image by @catedixon_food

5) Play with your Lighting source

Lydia explains how to get the most out of your lighting. 'Though natural light is preferable, don’t be afraid to use any source of light you have, such as lamps or even the light from a phone – anything that can bounce off shadows.'


Image by @emilieessen

Image by @harriette_95

6) Don't go filter crazy

'We all love a filter,’ says Lydia, ‘but don’t overdo it! Try using VSCO Cam – an easy and accessible free* photo editing app. You can add natural filters that complement your food in seconds. Have a play!'

Cate adds, 'I always have a play around editing my pics once I’ve taken them. I usually up the shadows, brightness and contrast and very slightly tweak the saturation. Don’t go too crazy on the editing, though – you still want it to look natural, just slightly enhanced.'


Image by @emilieessen

7) Get creative 

'Don’t be shy to think outside the box with angles and crops,’ says Lydia. ‘Try off-centre or super close-up – perfect for getting that gooey poached egg shot! You can also add character and a touch of personality to your shot by holding a spoon coming in from the side, or pouring a pot of melting chocolate down the side of a cake.'



8) Take a bite 

Want to make your image a little more 'lived in'? Try Cate Dixon’s number-one tip. 'Take a "bite" out of food such as biscuits to make them look tucked into and more inviting – but make sure you can’t see any teeth marks!'



9) play around with materials

Cate says, 'Look around your house for different matterials to use in your shot. I like to use the wooden floor in my hallway as that also has good lighting, but I often place my dishes on top of tea towels to mix it up a little. Hunt out different textures and colours – anything will do – and if you crop the picture carefully, no-one will know you’re using an old sarong from the 90s!'

Images by @catedixon_food


*Mobile date charges may apply