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How to take really good food photos for Instagram: 14 top tips

How to take a brilliant food photo for Instagram. Including notes on using your iPhone camera, how to get the lighting correct, tips for composing your image, what to do about #hashtags, and understanding the 'rule of thirds'.

ALWAYS TAKE PICTURES WITH YOUR iPHONE CAMERA FIRST

It’s not a good idea to use the Instagram app to take photos because it lacks several features that your iPhone camera does have – for example, it can’t zoom and it automatically crops your frame into a square.

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With an iPhone camera, you can adjust settings easily and make the most of the iPhone’s built-in HDR function (particularly useful when shooting still objects). Plus, using your iPhone camera first means that there will always be a copy of your original image available.

TIP 1: Tap on the area you want to be in focus. Once you’re happy with it, scroll up and down to change the brightness. This will prove useful in dark restaurants and bars (only iOS8+).

TIP 2: Slide right with your finger and make sure you’re shooting the picture as a square, so you don’t have to crop the photo later to fit nicely on Instagram.

TIP 3: Don’t zoom in using your iPhone because it decreases the image quality. If you can, get closer to your subject physically.

TIP 4: Reduce camera shake by using the ‘+’ volume button when shooting landscape.


STAY ON THE GRID

TIP 5: All iPhone’s have a grid that you can use, and it can be helpful for lining up your shot. To enable the grid, go to Settings > Photos and Camera > Grid. This works especially well when shooting ingredients.


‘RULE OF THIRDS’

TIP 6: Imagine drawing two horizontal lines, and two vertical lines across your image, to create nine equal parts. The important elements of your picture should really be placed along these lines.

TIP 7: Usually, people aim to place their subject in the middle third; but there’s nothing wrong with playing around with your photo, by moving items into the upper and lower thirds.

Click here for a more comprehensive guide to the rule of thirds


COMPOSE YOUR IMAGE

TIP 8: Don’t just point and shoot; set the scene first. Your dish doesn’t necessarily have to be in the centre of the frame, nor does it have to look perfect. You could always take a couple of bites out of that pie first, or include cutlery in the photo.

TIP 9: Be aware of what’s in front of you. You don’t want a dirty napkin in the background (or the edge of a magazine, even if it is olive!). Move items in and out of the frame until you’re happy with what it looks like.


IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LIGHTING

Natural lighting (i.e that from the sun) is key to taking a decent photo. Using man-made light sources, like a lamp, can make your image look dull and yellow.

TIP 10: If you want to take snaps at a restaurant, ask for a table next to a window. Such a position will keep your subject well-lit.

TIP 11: Don’t use your flash! It will bleach the picture. Instead, use the torch light on someone else’s phone to illuminate your food.

TIP 12: If there just isn’t any decent light around, resort to improving the image by editing it. Increase saturation, brightness and colour, all on your iPhone, or use an app such as Snapseed, which allows you to choose specific parts of the photo that you want to edit.


USE HASHTAGS, BUT NOT TOO MANY

TIP 13: Hashtags are great for building a fan base. Plus they’re a free and simple way of collating all your images together. Searching hashtags can help you find images and Instagrammers you might enjoy, and using them will help people find you and your photos.

TIP 14: Try not to use too many hashtags. It can look spammy if you do more than four.

To join our foodie adventures, follow olive on instagram HERE: www.instagram.com/olivemagazine


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