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5 ways to make your food photos stand out on Instagram

Style your shots and use the right filters to make your pictures go from #meh to #foodporn-worthy

Take the shots from above the dish for a stylish, bird’s eye perspective. Photos: Samantha Francis

If you’re dining with a bunch of friends, chances are, somebody’s going to whip out their smartphone faster than you can reach for your fork.

These days, it’s taken for granted that the modern meal ritual begins with a snapshot (or a dozen) of the dish. Because if a photo was’t posted on Instagram, did the meal really happen?

Here, we show you how to level-up your food photography skills, one filter at a time, and turn your Instagram account from #meh to #foodpornworthy.

Also read: 5 SG50 pastries you need to try

1. Style your shot

Before you click the shutter, make sure you compose the shot. A single dish? Make it the centre of attraction by having it against a clean and uncluttered backdrop. If you’re photographing a few dishes, arrange them closely for a tighter and more cohesive look, or better yet, take the shot from above for a stylish, bird’s eye perspective. Extra hipster points if you manage to arrange some dried flowers or tea towels around the plate for that rustic feel.

Also read: 5 awesome things to do with your Instagram photos

2. Perfect that exposure

Snapseed allows you to adjust the brightness of specific areas, perfect for those mouthwatering details. Photo: Samantha Francis

Sharp and clear photos are the order of the day, but not all restaurants offer ideal lighting situations for your food shots. Sit near the window for natural sunlight if you can. If not, rely on apps such as Snapseed or Adobe Photoshop Express. The former allows you to adjust the brightness of specific areas, perfect for those mouthwatering details, whereas the latter automatically adjusts the photo’s exposure. Best of all? Both apps are free.

3. Yummier with filters

Once you find your favourite filter, you never go back. Most of the time, anyway. If the in-built Instagram filters don’t whet your fancy, try out VSCO cam for that matt film look; Afterlight for dust or light leaks for that artsy effect; or FancyCam which comes with its very own ‘Food’ filter to enhance the look of the dish. I’ve been adding VSCO cam filters to every dish I’ve savoured, but if you can’t decide, any filter with a warm tone will elevate the colours of cooked poultry or seafood.

Also read: Gorgeous desserts that will dazzle you 

4. Divide and conquer

Why stop at one photo when you can have a whole collage of your tantalising meal? Filter Grid will transform your shot into a tasty masterpiece by allowing you to partition different filters within one photo. For something more minimalist, use Diptic to segment your images into neat squares where you can customise the frames and layout. With photo collages, you can go ahead and showcase your 8-course meal all at a go.

5. Instafood? We’d rather be Instafamous (just kidding)

While you may not be the next food blogger wannabe, it’s always nice to see your painstakingly-shot food photos garner some likes. If you’re a huge foodie and your Instagram feed consists of predominantly food photos, congrats because an account curated to a theme is already a step ahead of those littered with selfies and messy shots. Take it up a notch by alternating between close-up food shots and ambient shots of the restaurant, or between dark and light-coloured photos. Finally, use relevant hashtags such as #foodporn, #sgfood, #instafood, #onthetable and watch the likes roll in!

– By Samantha Francis