I can’t wait for the day that I can afford to buy a nice camera to take all my blog pictures and food pictures. But for now, I am too broke to purchase one and too busy to edit them. Which is kind of a blessing, because I’ve gotten really good at using my iPhone 8 plus for all these pictures on my blog and Instagram.
The first part is probably the hardest, which is actually making the food and then plating it.
First, you want to choose a plate/bowl that is going to fit your food perfectly, or even is a little small. This is going to give the illusion that you have more on your plate than you do.
Then, I put down my ‘extras’ in the meal and wait to put the ‘center piece’ of the dish on until last.
For a bowl: layer on pieces to fluff it up so the bowl looks full. Separate each type of food so it is easily seen to the person scrolling through Instagram. Start from one side of the bowl and move your way across. Place the ‘center piece’ of your dish at the top above everything else. Notice how I placed each chicken breast slice on top of the other and poured my sauce only over that part. The consumers eyes are going to gravitate towards that part of the picture.
For a plate: Same idea, choose a smaller plate so your portion seems bigger. Then put your center piece of the dish in the middle, and work your way around the plate so each piece of the meal is seen. Try to minimize as much white space on the plate as possible.
After your dish is plated, it’s time to lay out the backdrop of the picture. Wherever you decide to do this, you want as much natural light shining on the food as possible. Now that’s it’s dark all the time with winter rolling around I have to get a little creative with my ring light and positioning it, but that’s a totally different post. If you’re using a ring light as your main source, just make sure it’s at the same level as the food and shining directly on the area you’re photographing. I am notorious for shooting a ton of my food on the floor in front of the window, on a piece of wood or poster board.
My parents have super old counter tops at their house so I hate photographing on them. It’s also pretty dark in my kitchen, so often times I end up going to our dining room table in front of the sliding glass door where all the light shines.
Here are some good background tips:
If you want an ingredient featured (like my level-1) have it in the background of the photo and then take a few pictures with it upright and some sideways and at the end you can choose which you like best for the food you’re shooting.
Use extra ingredients within the meal to surround the plate. Like these strawberries, or lettuce, add in extra items around like the small serving bowls. Just to add more dimension to your photo. Don’t complicate it too much, I just scatter these around and circulate the pieces.
You can use silverware, if you want a wooden spoon or measuring cups in there if you’re baking. I usually have 5-6 ‘props’ or extras and cycle through and take about a thousand pictures until I decide on one I like.
Switch up what you’re photographing on: I use a lot of different pieces of wood, serving trays, towels, poster board if I need something white. I’ve used scarves if I want plaid. Like get creative with some different backdrops. All of these are super cheap and affordable pieces that you probably have laying around the house.
Alright, then once your food is plated and you have the scene set up in front of a window or door, now it’s time to actually shoot the photo.
The trick? Portrait mode. That’s it. That’s all I do.
Angling the camera tricks (none of these are perfect, I use every single one in a shooting session and decide later which one actually turned out for the scene because it changes all the time and depending on the food you are photographing and the layout of the dish)
Get down at the foods level. Like I’m talking, lay on the ground and have your camera right next to the food.
If you are shooting from above, make sure the phone is flat (hence why it’s called a flat lay), you don’t want it to be angled or the portions of your food will look off (unless that’s what you want)
Then I constantly rearrange where the food is, what plate it’s on, and the angle I’m taking it. I’m not kidding, I probably have about 50 photos for every 1 photo I post on Instagram.
Lastly is editing.
I use the LightroomCC app.
Download my pictures I want and I have created my own presets, however, all you have to do is adjust the sliders much like on Instagram or other apps.
I mainly use the curve line and adjust where my light hits the photo, the brightness, contrast, and the rest of the options under the light category.
Under color I adjust slightly the saturation and vibrance if needed, throw in a little clarity, texture, and structure and call it good.
Then I save it and post to Instagram! It sounds like a lot I’m sure if you’re not used to it, however, it has become so slick for me. I love it, and you really learn after a whole lot of bad shots, how you like to shoot photos and edit them!
Hopefully this was helpful for you, let me know in the comments if you end up trying any of this out!