Photographing Food | Washington DC Photography Classes + Tips


So you’ve finally decided to splurge on that fancy new restaurant downtown (in my case, it’s Thally) and you want all of your Instagram followers to know about it…you whip out your iPhone (or android) and start snapping away only to be wildly disappointed with the results. The lighting is wonky and your gorgonzola pear salad is not looking as appetizing as it really is (because, let’s face it, you took a bite before taking the picture.) You want to dig in but not before you document, and tag, this beautiful creation.


First thing? NIX THE FLASH. Not only is it bothering your dinner guests and neighboring patrons, but it’s making your photo look BAD. The flash on the iPhone creates wonky colors and awful shadows and highlights.


You also need to think about how you’ll frame your images with COMPOSITION. If you’re taking a picture of something flat, like a pizza, hold the camera directly above the plate and shoot down. If you’re taking a picture of something a little more three-dimensional, like a dish of ice cream scoops, hold the camera to the side and shoot at a 45 degree angle.


Even though you’re taking these images for Instagram, you don’t necessarily have to use their filters. Your barbecue pulled pork sandwich accompanied by homemade mac and cheese does not need to look like it was created in 1975. If you want a clean or matted look, I suggest using VSCO or AFTERLIGHT, both apps you can find in the apple app store. I also like these over Instagram's filters because they give you more options to edit the image’s exposure, contrast, and add other effects like vignettes and grain.


I also suggest using an app called INSTASIZE that ensures the full size of the image gets uploaded to Instagram, not the square-cropped version.

Be sure to check out some of my favorite food photographers on Instagram (below), and if you have any other tips for photographing food with your iPhone, leave them in the comment section!

My Favorite Food Photographers on Instagram