Photos first: Make your food look perfect for Instagram

Food photography is hugely popular, no matter what part of the world you’re from. How else are you going to communicate to your friends and followers how great your meal was? ‘Pics or it didn’t happen’ as the internet adage goes.

This is no different here in Melbourne — people are generally obsessed with food and getting that perfect food photo for Instagram. So the next time you come across something scrumptious that you want to share, follow our tips to ensure your foodie photos look fabulous!

Arrangement and Symmetry

Firstly, consider the arrangement of your plates and the symmetry of the photograph. If you have a table full of food, it is important to put the largest dish in the middle as this will make the picture look balanced.

If there is a round table, the largest dish would be surrounded by everything else. If there is a square or rectangle table, both sides of the object can be symmetrical and aligned to make food look clear and orderly.

Photo by Chen Jia Hui

It is always simpler if you have only one plate of food. Most of the time, the easiest thing to do is to position your plate square in the centre of the photo.

But paying attention to the symmetry of a photograph can also mean using negative space and positioning your plate off centre to add some personality to the sea of food pictures on Instagram.

Pay attention to colours and backgrounds

The colours and the background of your food photos also play a significant role.

It is a good idea for the table or the dishes to be simple (eg. black or white) so that food will stand out as the star of the photo. There are many foodie Instagram pages that make use of minimalist designs for both plates and tables to bring out the vibrancy of the food.

When choosing what food to take, photos of foods with a variety of different colours tends to be more appealing than a plate of food of a single colour. This helps to make the food look alive and attractive and seeing photos like this can help make people feel hungry and very eager to eat it.

On other hand, you can also use attractive plate designs and cutlery to bring out the beauty of food that is simple in appearance, such as the panacotta lamington cake in this post by Melbourne foodie Thanh Do of @ieatblog.

Props & Environment

Some props can be added to make the photo more interesting.

Paying attention to the environment and surroundings you’re in when can also enhance the food experience and will show in the picture. In this picture by Melbourne foodie @theplateproject, coloruful text is used to bring out the colours and vibrancy of the food. The potted plant also adds a sense of freshness.

Don’t forget that lighting plays a major role. Try to use best light sources in order to make food look more bright. If the food is very dark, people will not have the desire to follow your food recommendations. Warm light will make food more appealing.

Camera angles are also important. Using the overhead flat lay method is often the most effective way of capturing the overall food experience. However, sometimes close ups are an even more effective way to make your food even more delicious and appealing. Lauren (@foodiemelbourne) uses a close up of her breakfast ramen from Axil Coffee Roasters to bring out the delicious and fresh ingredients of her ramen, including its creamy yellow yolk and red and green chilli and green onions.

Finally, it goes without saying but using apps are a good way to make edit and create ideal photos. The most popular of these, VSCO, has filters that can make photos brighter, increase contrasts and change the entire mood of your photograph. You can also adjust the structure, saturation and clarity of picture.

Don’t forget to take as many photos as you can.  You can then select the best photo to upload.

With these tips, you’re all set to take mouth-watering food photos for your Instagram!

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via

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