We Asked One of Our Fave Instagrammers for Foodstagram Tips

by Macy Alcaraz   |  May 12, 2015
PHOTOS Instagram (@tenthousandthspoon)
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Right after the waiter sets down the plate on your table, phones hover above it almost immediately. It takes not just one try to get the perfect shot. Sometimes the lighting in the restaurant is bad and you need to get creative to get your hand's shadow out of the shot. You probably even ask to be seated near a window so you can "shoot in natural light." We get it. We've been there and we can't blame you. 

Because we know how obsessive you can get about your Instagram grids, we sought out the help of one of our fave food Instagrammers, Jaclyn of @tenthousandthspoon (hit that follow button if she isn't already on your following list). She shares some of her tricks to getting that double-tap worthy shot.

 1  Shoot at different angles.

Try to shoot at a variety of angles first and see, which angle best suits your food. However,there are two angles that are commonly used for taking food photos on Instagram: overhead and horizontal.  


The Overhead or 90-degree angle is the most popular angle used on Instagram. It's great for flatlays. The trick with this angle is to use different sizes of flatwares and balancing the composition of the photo.

The Horizontal (0-degree  and 45-degree) angle is great for still lifes. When shooting at this angle, use props with varying height and shoot against a background that isn't too distracting. When you're just beginning, one of the best ways to learn is to study the work of the photographers you love and look at how they use textures, negative space, and color. Most importantly, practice a lot so that composing/styling becomes second nature. 

 2  Always shoot in natural light if possible.

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I love using natural light for my food photos and usually shoot near a window. If there's no good light available, I would rather not take the photo. Most restaurants' lighting are not good for food photos. But if you have an SLR and a good lens, you can still take good photos even in low light situations.  

 3  It's okay to use props, but don't go OTT!


Use plates, bowls, fabric, utensils of different colors and textures, but try to practice restraint and don't overdo it. Choose a color palette, color coordinate, and try not to make your props and background clash with your food. As for food styling, you can add micro greens, dust cocoa, or powdered sugar around, scatter crumbs, etc. It's in the styling that you get to tell the story and show movement as well.

 4  Use textures and patterns depending on what type of theme you want for your food shot.


The props and surfaces you're going to use will depend on the theme you have in mind for the food you're shooting. 

Wooden boards and vintage china, especially those that look aged and worn are great for rustic-themed shoots.  White surfaces and neutral plates for a clean and minimalist look. 

 5  The best filter for food photos? No filter!

The best filter for food photos is actually no filter. No, really! Filters mess up the real color of the food. When editing I usually just increase or decrease brightness, contrast, sharpness, warmth, and saturation. If you do use a filter, I would suggest to use just a touch of it. The Instagram filters I've used so far are Slumber, Crema, and Aden. In VSCO, I've used C1, F2 and T1.

 6  Cakes and pastries are the prettiest food to photograph! 

My favorite food to photograph are cakes and pastries. Because they're pretty. hehe. And breakfast food, since breakfast is my favorite meal. However, even if it's very hard to shoot and style, I really try to shoot Filipino food at least once a week. It's like my little project. Filipino food is still unknown to a lot of people and showing it through my Ig page is my little contribution.


Share your own tricks in the comment box below or tweet us @candymagdotcom. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram, too!

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About the author
Macy Alcaraz
Former Editor in Chief, candymag.com
When she's not busy online, she's in the kitchen on a mission to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
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