So let’s talk about Martha Stewart, eh? I’m sure by now many of you have read about her twitter feed and how horrible her food photos are (shocking!). If you haven’t, click on that link over there (we’ll consider it the Internet Share of the Day) and then get back to me…
Are we all caught up now? OK. Here we go.
So I, too, am kind of amazed at how bad her food photos are. I mean, I don’t expect everyone to be able to take great pictures of their meals with their cell phones. But I *do* expect her to know the difference between good photos and total crap. That’s part of her brand, you know? And frankly, I’m surprised she hasn’t hired some professional to do her social media photos for her. In fact, now that I think about it, I kind of adore the fact that she hasn’t. It means she is, in fact, human, like the rest of us…
Anyway! Reading about this gave me an idea. How about I give some tips on instagramming your food with your cell phone and how to make it look better than Martha? I mean, this is our ONE CHANCE to one up this woman, amIright? And before I begin, I want to admit that I am not the best food photographer — I reference two of my favorites at the bottom of the post — but these are some tips that I thought I would share to help everyone improve. I just want to clarify that I am not a master of this (just yet).
So here are some tips on taking better food photos with your phone:
1. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT use the flash on your phone, under any circumstances, to photograph food. It reflects badly and makes horrible shadows and will change the color of the food. Trust me, if you have to use your flash, it’s best left off of social media.
2. This means that the best food images are shot in natural light. Which means if you love taking images of your food, you should ask for tables near windows. I do it all the time — it’s not as weird as you think.
3. This also means that in Minnesota between October and May you will only be photographing breakfast and lunch. I know you eat amazing dinners. Really, I do. But unless you have amazing light in the restaurant you are dining in, the photos will be awful — trust me. Better yet, trust Martha.
4. Try different angles! Shoot straight down! Shoot close up! Shoot from the side!
5. Try styling your images by laying a fork across the plate. Maybe use the napkin in a classy fashion or a vase from the table.
6. Pay attention to what’s going on in the background! Is your date in a horrible Zubas-style sweatshirt? Then don’t have them in the background!
7. Take 4-5 images in the “camera” setting of your phone, then choose the best one for instagram. Don’t just shoot one using the app and call it good.
8. For God’s sake, wipe off the lens of your camera phone. All that oil and grease from your fingers is making the photos have this weird out-of-focus “glowing” effect and your followers are making fun of you behind your back. Ok, maybe it’s just me doing that.
9. Choose a warmer filter. You know what? Brannan is my favorite filter of all time. But you know what else? It makes all food look like crap. Personally, I like Valencia and Mayfair.
10. See that little drop of water icon in instagram? That’s the tilt-shift effect. Play with that. Make your food in focus and the background blurry. It will help draw attention to the best part of the photo.
* The photo above is of the pot roast at the Modern Cafe — one of my favorite dishes in town. I also instagrammed it.