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The question I get asked most is probably: “How do you take and edit your pictures?” To be honest, most of the time I just grab my magical Iphone and it works wonders. However, I do have some tips and tricks to help you instantly up your Instagram game. I will show you how to go from this top photo to the bottom photo. Oh and I currently shoot with an iPhone 7 Plus and Fujifilm XT-20 camera.
From photo taking to post editing, you can simply take your food photography to the next level even without a bunch of fancy camera gear. Without further ado, let’s hop right into it!
Lighting is the most important element. Always find a spot with natural lighting whether you are at a café or at home setting up your own photo shoot station. Take your pictures near a window with indirect light, meaning the sun is not shining directly on your photo surface. There will be times when Mother Nature does not cooperate, or you are just stuck in a horrible environment with artificial bulbs lighting, and this is when I take out my Godox LED light. This little guy helps me simulate natural light to illuminate the food whenever I do not have the perfect light to work with.
If lighting is the key to a successful photo, composition is not far down the list. My favorite composition to shoot is the “flatlay,” a bird’s eye, top to bottom looking down composition. The technique is currently trending in food photography, or any type of photography.
To create a photogenic spread, you can always throw in some props, from a pair of sunnies to magazines, they will spice up your photos! Remember to balance out larger items with extremely small ones to create some scale in your flatlay. Also it is best to leave a breathable amount of space between the objects to prevent the photo from looking too cluttered. You may also include hand models, AKA your friends, this will also be a good opportunity to find out whether or not they are your true friends, ha just kidding!
Last bit of composition wisdom I have for you is: turn on your grid function!
My favorite photo-editing app of all-time is VSCOcam. I choose the same filter in order to keep a consistent aesthetic theme, which is usually A6. The more cohesive your feed is, the better. Occasionally I would switch to HB2, or I don’t use filter at all! A6 is perfect for a modern light feed. With A6, the details in the highlights are crushed, enabling a cleaner look, and there is an overall desaturation to the image.
I usually set the strength of the filter between 6 and 9 to keep the photo from having too much contrast and false colors. After applying the filter, I do a little bit more fine-tuning with its editing tools, which often includes slightly upping the brightness, enhancing saturation, and sharpness. I also like the temperature to be cool rather than warm, so I tend to add a blue-ish tone to my photos.
If there is a dirty spot in the picture, for example: a watermark on the table, I would get rid of the unwanted elements with Snapseed’s “healing” tool. Last but not least, the good-old Instagram editing tools. Before uploading my pictures, I do some last minute tweaking with Instagram’s tool, whether it’s straightening the picture or adjusting the perspectives.
Sometimes I do shoot with my camera, the Fujifilm XT-20 (since May 2017). Most cameras nowadays have wifi transfer function, so it is relatively easy to import photos from camera to your phone and edit them on it.
Finally, there is Unum. Unum is a game changer app for those who want to plan out their Instagram feed. Once you log into your Instagram account in the app, it automatically imports your existing feed. From here, you can plan out new posts by uploading them onto Unum, click and drag them around the feed to see if the photos fit your theme.
Now go out there and start crushing your photography game! Happy Shooting!