Food & Drink

Gastro Grams

The best tips on getting those picture-perfect Instagram food shots. ​

We’ve all been there. A server delivers our dishes to the table and, before we can dig in, one iPhone-wielding diner implores us to wait while they get the perfect shot, angle, and filter for every plate. And you know what? Experts say that’s okay. “We eat with our eyes,” says Dave Seel, founder of Blue Fork Marketing, which handles public relations for Gunther & Co. and Gnocco. “Visual content is quickly becoming a primary driver in the food industry.” We decided to survey a chef, a food blogger, and a marketing expert for their best tips on getting those picture-perfect food shots.

Zack Mills

executive chef, Wit & Wisdom

Lighting is Key
“It seems to be all about the lighting from what I’ve learned. I always try to make sure the light is natural and coming from the back of me.”

Aim For No Filter

“Ideally, I am trying to find the best lighting possible and try not to use any Instagram filters if I can. But I am partial to Ludwig.”

Always Look Back

“I like looking back over my Instagram account at a lot of the pictures of our food over the years. It is a nice yearbook of sorts, and helps me remember what to improve on.”

Rachel Lipton (@LiketheteaEATS)

food blogger, Like The Tea Eats

Right Tools
“I usually travel with a portable lighting device that I use when it’s dark. I also have a mini tripod for my phone to keep it steady. The app Enlight is great for editing.”

Quick Captions
“If it’s more than 90 characters, people lose interest. I get the name of the food item in there and the restaurant in the first five words.”

Backdrop Matters
“Make sure there is little to no clutter in the background of your photo. No one wants to see your dirty spoon. I do my best to eat dinner outside and, if I’m lucky enough, to have a water view.”

Dave Seel (@thefoodadventurer)

founder, Blue Fork Marketing

The Editing Room
“I try to avoid using a filter, but I generally edit my shots. I bump up my brightness level. Look at Bon Appétit and Saveur—that’s what they do.”

The Right Angle
“Go low and close, with the phone at the edge of the table, to bring out the juiciness of a burger or the crust on a scallop.”

Story Time
“Instagram Stories are the next big thing. You have to be a director and screenwriter all at once, but also keep it real, have fun with it, and make it interesting for your audience.”