We’ve all been there… You whip up something in the kitchen that you’re particularly proud of and quickly take a photo for Instagram. Only, nine times out of ten the image looks terrible and instantly puts your culinary efforts to shame. So I’ve often wondered how the top food bloggers take such wonderful pictures.
I follow a number of Instagram accounts that always give great #FoodPorn, and my current favourite is @alphafoodie, which is the creative-outlet for scientist Samira Kazan. Samira has been sharing healthy and super-colourful breakfast ideas on the platform for just over a year, and has quickly amassed a huge following. I met Samira a few weeks ago at a cooking workshop, and asked if she would share some of her top Instagram photography tips. She kindly obliged, so if you want to learn how to take beautiful food photos for Instagram read on for Samira’s advice…
Always Use Natural Light
“I don’t have a background in photography, but I realised you can take beautiful food pictures without having any previous experience,” Samira explains. “All you need to do is use natural light. Natural light is the best – especially in the morning. I find the hour between 6.30am and 7.30am is the best time to take photos. I place whatever dish I’m photographing on my kitchen counter, right in front of a big window, quickly take a few snaps and then upload them to my computer before I leave for work.”
Keep Editing to a Minimum
Samira isn’t a big fan of editing Apps, and doesn’t use any for @alphafoodie. “I do as little editing as possible because I hate when pictures look over-processed,” she says. “I very lightly adjust the brightness and contrast using the editing tools in Instagram, but that’s it. Personally, I think that if you take good pictures there’s no need to edit everything. I’ve seen some accounts on Instagram that do too much editing – their oranges will appear too orange, for example – and it never looks real.”
Give Yourself Options
“I always photograph the same dish from a few different perspectives to see what works best. And it’s useful to have variations on an image, because that way if the picture is popular you can share a photo taken from a different angle a few weeks later,” Samira suggests. “It’s also good to get a second opinion on a picture before posting. My friends aren’t very responsive if I text them early in the morning to help me chose between two images. So I usually ask whoever I’m sitting next to on the Tube for their opinion.”
Focus on Engagement and Your Following Will Soon Grow
Samira has been using Instagram for just over a year, and already has over 100K followers. And I know what you’re wondering: how did she do it? “The key to growing your following is engagement, Samira explains. “When people start commenting on your pictures and tagging their friends you immediately see your follower count start to grow. That’s why I often ask questions in my captions. It’s also so important to engage with the people you follow, because if they return the favour by commenting on your posts their followers will see and it helps open you up to a new audience.”
Professional Equipment Will Take Your Pictures to the Next Level
It’s not essential to work with professional equipment, but Samira uses a DSLR camera to increase image quality and cut her editing time. “I shoot with a Nikon D600 and use a macro lens, which allows me to take close-ups that are high definition,” Samira says. “And I also always use a tripod so that my pictures are really crisp. You can set up most tripods in a variety of ways, so you can shoot from from above or the side. It makes the process so much easier.”
All images courtesy of Samira Kazan at @alphafoodie. Please do not re-post without permission.