You can't help but cringe when you scroll through your Instagram feed and see a blurry, off-color photo of a meal. It's even worse when you know the individual was trying to take a double tap-worthy image of his or her food.
To make sure you aren't guilty of posting a lackluster photo of your next meal, stick to these cardinal rules when it comes to snapping pics of food for social media.
1. Always Go for Natural Lighting
Natural lighting is a must when it comes to mobile photography, and it's especially true when it comes to food, which can encompass a wide variety of colors. To bring out all of the hues and contrast of your plate, try to snap a shot in natural light.
2. When Lighting Fails, Turn to the Right Editing Tools
Don't just rely on filters that come with apps like Snapchat and Instagram. When lighting fails and you can't capture all of the details, don't give up — there's an app for that. Photoshop and VSCO are just two of the many on the market that can help you salvage an image of your meal.
3. Overhead is Best
Overhead shots of your meals are the best way to capture all of the items on your plate and showcase the serving as a whole. Angled shots may be effective for other subjects, but strive to show your followers everything you're eating in all its glory.
4. Bring Out the Color
There's a time and place for black-and-white filters, and it's not when you're about to post an image of food. Everything from pasta to avocados can be just as colorful as it is flavorful — why take that away from a photo? Allow the hues of your food to shine in your snapshots, and don't be afraid to boost the saturation for an added effect.
5. Let the Food Steal the Show
If it's a birthday dinner or anniversary brunch, you might want to showcase the guy or gal indulging in the photographed meal. However, good food tends to speak for itself, meaning you don't need a person (or people, in general) in an image of a delicious dish. If your intention is to highlight the art of the food, steer clear of people in your shot.
6. Go Ahead and Make a Mess
Sometimes, messier is better, especially when it comes to food. Gooey cheese and layers of chocolate frosting can be extremely pleasing to the eye. Don't be afraid to take photos of food that looks more natural than perfect — your viewers will appreciate it.
7. Be Mindful of Your Dishes
Dishes come in all shapes, sizes and colors, so why limit yourself? If you're taking a photo of a meal you prepared at home, be mindful of the dishware you use for your food. A plate in a complementary color, for example, can bring out the hues of a meal and make for an eye-catching image.
8. It Isn't Always About the Filter
It may be tempting to use one of the many filters on Instagram, but sometimes, it's best to go naked. See what you can do with natural lighting and the right angle — you may be surprised at the end result. Filters can be harsh on an image that already has optimal highlights and shadows, giving it a more "fake," artificial look. Food should look just as genuine as it is delicious.