Top 7 Tips: How To Take Great Food Photos For Social Media

by Lyrical Lemongrass Photography Various on Thu, August 13, 2015

Everyone loves taking photos and sharing them with their friends on social networks. One of the favourite subjects? Food. Everyone is sharing what they're eating, so here are our tips on how to make your photos look great and stand out on social networks.

Ready, snap, eat!

Everyone takes photos of food and posts them to social media nowadays. There are social media accounts dedicated entirely to food shots. Smartphone cameras are making it easier than ever to take beautiful, share-worthy food photos...

1. Keep 'Em Hands Steady
Always keep your hands steady - but relaxed - when taking food photos. Rest your elbows on the table, or keep them tucked close to your body if you're not seated.

This photo could've been sharp, but nope. Shaky hands.

Expert photographers will say to click the shutter when you exhale as your muscles will be more relaxed, too.Steadier hands allow for sharper pictures and reduce the risk of the exposure going haywire. Your pictures will look very polished!

2. Let There Be Light
The best light for photography is natural light, especially just before noon or just before dusk. In the right light, it's possible to take beautiful magazine-like food photos even with a smartphone.

A photo posted by Marianne Jacobsen (@_mariannejacobsen_) on

Source: Marianne Jacobsen

But since you might not always be at the right place and right time, just try to find a window or sit outdoors. Keep some shade above you, as direct sunlight can be too harsh. Colours and shadows will look better and have better detail in natural light, so make it your friend!

3. The Flash Is Not Always Your Friend
Unless there is no other way around it, try to avoid using your smartphones built-in flash when taking food photos.

Those two little lights? Not so friendly for food photography.
Source: Gottabemobile

The flash will almost certainly blowout some details and cast harsh shadows in the photo, as well as making it look flat and dull. If you must use flash, then try to diffuse it: cover the flash with tissue paper or take the picture at a certain angle where light can bounce off (against a white wall, for example).

4. Composition Is Key!
Composition here means how the shot is framed. Food can be challenging to photograph because it has so many colours, textures and shapes. Before you take the photo, try to imagine it in your head. Use the best of the surroundings. Check this photo out:

A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀Faridah Mosawi (@faridah88) on

Source: Faridah88

Isn't that pretty? Notice how the food isn't dead-centre, and the hand adds, rather than distracts from the main focus: the strawberries. So think of the colours, shapes and objects in and around the food. Visualising in a square frame will help, as most social networks crop pictures to a square. The most basic composition tip? The rule of thirds. Check it out, it'll really help improve your food photography.

5. If All Else Fails... Top Shot!
But sometimes you just can't find a great angle to take food photos. This is when to resort to the top-shot. The top-shot (as it sounds, it's when you take food from the top) is good, fool-proof way to make food look good.

A photo posted by FriedChillies (@friedchillies) on

Source: FriedChillies

See? Even emptied out husks of durians look good in a top shot. It'll hide problems with depth, or weird shapes in the food. A lot of lovely photos on social media are top-shots. As a bonus, top-shots often look very professional and be very flattering to your food. Browse around and you'll get ideas.

6. Get It Right In Camera
Filters on most photo apps nowadays serve to enhance your photo by making it look more dramatic or pop-out more. But often, if you follow the basic rules above, great food photos are totally possible without the touch of software.

A photo posted by ros13 (@ros13) on

No filter, rule-of-thirds, natural light... see what we mean?
Source: Ros13

Try it - take the #nofilter challenge and you'll be surprised how beautiful food can look like without filters.

7.And Remember, Practice Makes Perfect
As with a lot of things, the more food photos you take, the better you'll get at it. So practice and keep on practicing. You'll get the hang of it!

Photography tips from Mohd Adly Rizal, CEO and Food Photography Sifu at FriedChillies.


See You at Ayam Lejen 2017!
1:00 min

What Are You Gonna Get at Ayam Lejen 2017?

Malaysia’s 1st Fried Chicken Festival
0:45 min

Taste the Top 8 Fried Chickens in One Location!

KLIA’s Sama Sama Rack for RM30

We Discovered a Hidden Food Gem in KLIA

Fresh Dim Sum at KLIA
1:00 min

It's made fresh daily at Eden KLIA

Worlds Biggest Nasi Lemak Event
1:00 min

I Eat Nasi Lemak 2016 is Back!