PER THE EXPERT LESLEY CHESTERMAN
There’s no denying the impact of social media on our daily lives. In fact, many of us have now become “professional food photogs,” routinely capturing myriad delectable moments for our followers and likers to enjoy and savour. With that current reality has also emerged an ardent desire to up our games and output shots that make the grade. Enter: savvy food critic and food connoisseur Lesley Chesterman who, in her revered positions as same, has mastered the art of insta captures and dared to share generously in our latest edition of the print mag, Diary Vol. 6. So glad she did; these tips are solid. Enjoy social snappers :
1) Is it photo worthy? You love your hamburger and are convinced it’s da’ bomb! But really, is it all that? Instagram is packed with food images. Be sure that if you make the move to post something, it’s not just good, it’s fabulous.
2) I wanna taste it! Sheer deliciousness is what you want from a food photo so that plate of food better be colourful, beautifully arranged and look so good that people will be tempted to lick the screen.
3) Lean in. Too many food shots are taken from a distance. If you want to get a feel for the taste, smell and mouthfeel of that croissant or slice of apple pie, get in close to show the texture of the dough, the creaminess of the filling, and the caramelization of the crust!
4) Brighten up! Restaurants are usually dimly lit, which means your food photos may come out dull, out-of-focus, or dark. Die-hard Instagrammers will request a table close to a light source, best of all being a window for unbeatable natural light. If you’re really dedicated, take your plate over to more brightly lit part of the dining room, or head to the kitchen to catch your plate as it’s coming off the line.
5) Create some atmosphere. There are billions of food images on the web so to make yours stand out, set the scene around it. Have a glamourous friend bite into that sandwich, set it down somewhere unpredictable (a haystack, a cactus, or somewhere risqué!), or simply place that simple taco plate in the foreground and make sure your background is super cool.
6) Ditch the flash. I have rarely seen an amateur food picture taken with a flash that didn’t overexpose the shot. Instead seek out that natural light (see suggestion #4) actually heading outside if you can. And keep in mind, using a flash when taking pictures at the table is also incredibly annoying to your fellow diners.
7) Don’t fudge the filters! Instagram filters are fun, but some give food an unappealing orangey or blue tint that’s not exactly appetizing. For extra effect slap on a filer if you please, but keep in mind, the best food photos are filter-free.
8) Check out the competition. Follow fellow food lovers on Instagram to get a sense of what you think looks great, such as shots taken from above, desserts, finicky plate presentations or scrumptious-looking fries. It’s all there for your inspiration.
9) Go beyond the plate! Some of the best food photography is not about food at all but about what’s around it. Working chefs, farmers markets, vineyards, farm stands, bakeries and even cooking supply shops can provide great material for beautiful pictures.
10) Don’t become “that picture person.” Having a meal with someone who is snapping pictures constantly is a big drag. Take a picture or two, make sure you have something special to share and then put the camera away. As fun as it is to show off tonight’s caviar, foie gras of molten chocolate cake, keep in mind you are there to share a meal with your friends, not your Instagram followers.