How To Photograph Like A Foodstagrammer

Written by: Ben Orkin

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I wish I had read one of these kinds of posts before I begun the journey of my Instagram account @benorkin! Not that I’m the best foodstagrammer out there, cause I most definitely am not, but I have learned a few tricks along the way that I use in most of my foodie shots. These aren’t THE rules and I’m not saying that you should follow them like they are the bible, but they can help you to make your foodstagram life a little easier.

Nobody likes a copycat

I personally can’t stand copycats! It might seem difficult to be original at first, but trust me it’s so worth it. Who would you rather be known as? That person who copies so and so’s food account or the person with that totally original style that I wish I had of thought of!

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Pick a theme.

It’s important to pick a basic theme. This can be a colour palette, type of food or mood. By doing this you will create your own style that is recognisable by others. It’s also okay to change it every once in a while. Like for example, I tend to use lighter colours in summer and darker colours in winter.

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Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Making mistakes are the only way that you will learn. It’s also okay to post your mistakes. If you look through my Instagram account you can see the development of my style and how much I have improved on myself.

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Don’t over think things.

Keep your shots as simple as possible. Literally arrange your food as if you were about to eat it. Don’t try being too fancy, cause it never really works out. People want to see real food that can inspire them.

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Use natural light.

When I begun @benorkin the Instagram page, lighting wasn’t necessarily that much a priority to me. I would take most of my photos using the lights in my bedroom. When I look back on them now, I realise just how terrible they are. The thing that made the change for me was some photographer guy was stalking my account and commented on one of my photos “You’ve got some great pics, but I just wish that you used natural light.” I was quite arrogant at that time and deleted the photo he commented on immediately. Then after a while I thought about what he said and tried it out for myself. I’ve only ever used natural light since then, and I’m also less arrogant now.

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Less is more.

Try not to fill your picture with unnecessary decorative rubbish. The only function it forms is distracting the eye from the focal point, which should be the food. It’s important to make your food shine!

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Try using your cell phone camera as much as possible.

I know that proper camera photos look 100 times better than cell phone photos, but to me using a proper camera for Instagram photos is wrong. Instagram is supposed to be a platform for you to exhibit your life and for people to see what you are up to instantly. Using a camera slows that process down and cheats the system in my opinion. I guess it’s more about showing people the behind the scenes of your life than showing them your photography skills. If you still would like people to see your proper photography skills, use other platforms, like a blog.

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Shoot from above or in front.

What I’ve noticed from my cell phone camera is that you can take amazing photos from directly above or directly in front of your food, but not so much at strange angles that would normally work with your camera.

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Invest in some good food props.

I personally am a collector of just about everything and so starting my food prop collection was as easy as pie. What I suggest is shopping at antique/junk stores. They always have the best props and are often a quarter of the price if you had to buy them new. I personally can’t buy anything besides food props anymore because everytime I look at the price of something my head tells me how many props I could buy with that money.

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Post some pictures that don’t include food.

You want to make your Instagram gallery as exciting as possible and when you post just food pictures all the time, after a while it can become quite dry and boring. I advise adding some pictures of things that inspire you. Things like nature, buildings, people, etc. But don’t forget to keep the photos of a similar mood to your food photos.

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Edit your pictures outside of Instagram

Sorry Instagram, I do love you very much, but unfortunately your filters aren’t great. I use an app called VSCO cam to edit all of my photos. You can download it for free in the app store. I make touch ups in the Instagram app afterwards, like adjusting brightness, contrast etc.

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Don’t over edit.

Edit your photos just enough so that it looks like you haven’t edited them at all. I know that this sounds ridiculous, but trust me and just do it.

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All of the above photos are taken from my Instagram account and are shot using my iPhone 5s.

I hope this helps you!

I’ve been nominated for House and Leisure’s Rising Star of 2015. I would love if you could please go and vote for me! VOTE FOR ME HERE!

Happy Photo taking!


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Snapchat: @benorks