How to Take Delicious Instagram Food Photos: 6 Pro Tips for Shooting Hotter Than Hot Food Porn

As a part of my job as a food writer, I am constantly photographing my meals. In fact, sometimes I feel like I spend more time snapping pictures of my food than I do eating it. The extra effort is worth it. The best shots – the ones that have the power to make viewers literally salivate or exclaim, “I want that in my belly now!” – get posted to my Instagram account @nevinmartell or are sold to a variety of print and online publications.
How to Take Delicious Instagram Photos

I shoot exclusively on my iPhone 6 using the Hipstamatic app because of its versatility and extensive variety of filters. Additionally, using a phone camera allows me to do my work relatively unobtrusively in a restaurant, so I’m not disturbing other guests while I painstakingly document my dishes and drinks.

Though it seems super easy to just whip out your phone and snap a few shots of the steak you’re enjoying, it’s actually quite difficult to make it look good. We’ve all seen the bad shots people keep posting to social media. They’re often poorly lit, out of focus, and have no clear subject. Worst of all, they make the chef’s or mixologist’s hard work look downright unappetizing.

Food photography should inspire a sudden hunger or an unfettered desire. That’s why they call it food porn. So, if you want to shoot wow-worthy pics that rack up the hearts and make your friends envious of your dining regimen, follow along to learn how to take delicious Instagram food photos.

Light

Utilize natural light whenever possible by shooting next to a window or outside. If you can’t shoot during the day, never use a raw flash. Instead, get another diner to cover the front of their iPhone with a white napkin and turn on the flashlight app to create a soft light.

How to Take Delicious Instagram Food Photos

Beautification

Sometimes you need to do a quick mini-makeover of a dish before you photograph it. Wipe smudges and crumbs off the plate, arrange garnishes attractively, and pull sandwich halves apart so the fillings are visible. Remember to take pictures quickly, because ice cream melts, sauces congeal, and greens wilt.Continue Reading

How to Become an Online Dining Influencer #hackdining

Welcome to March — the month that brings with it the promise of spring and the first harvest that will put all things fresh and green to our plates. As we awaken from a winter slumber spent in an indulgent haze of carbs, meaty cocktails, and over-the-top sweets, we invite you to embark on a spring awakening of your own — on social media. Contributor Nevin Martell spoke with top social media mavens for their tips on how to become an online dining influencer and share your food and drink adventures in a meaningful way. 

online dining influencer

A tweet that a soon-to-open, much-buzzed restaurant has just started taking online reservations. An in-depth magazine profile of a rising star chef. A gorgeous Instagram of a new dish that just went on the menu that evening at a James Beard Award-winning eatery. A thoughtful blog post on the just-launched brunch at a hot newcomer.

We’ve all liked and shared these social media posts. But who are the writers, photographers, and tastemakers behind them? By the looks of it, they have the coolest jobs in the world as they eat out, drink up, and go behind the scenes with chefs, mixologists, and restaurateurs.

Wouldn’t you like to be one of them? But how can you become a dining influencer? Whether you want to become a well-known blogger, a social media star, or a writer for food-focused publications, there are some rules you should follow, even if you only plan on doing it part-time.

To help you kick-start your career as a go-to authority in your dining scene, we rounded up keen insights from an enterprising and prolific freelance writer, a queen of the blogosphere and a certified wine-spirits expert turned writer-editor.

LAURA HAYES

Freelance food writer for the Food Network, Washington City Paper, and many other publications, as well as the lead D.C. contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @btmenu and like her on Facebook.

Blog Laura Hayes copy

1. Go out. A lot.

“When I was starting out, I went to every invite I got and I didn’t stand in the corner. I made sure to get to know the people. I stuck business cards in everybody’s hands.”

 2. It’s all about knowing people and developing relationships.

“I might not be able to pronounce the name of the finest French wine, but I can tell you how many kids a chef has or what they like to eat after a shift. Get to know people and they’ll tell you great stories.”

3. Be different.

“If you’re going to start a blog, carve out a space that’s unique and hasn’t been done before. A lot of amateur blogs cover everything – events, reviews, round-ups – but you need to be more specific. Also, your voice is the most important thing. Be a polished version of yourself when you write.”

4. Express yourself on social media…

“It’s important to let people get to know you as a person, not just you the journalist. So I do 80 percent work posts, 20 percent personal posts. You don’t want it to come across as self-promoting all the time.”

5. …But be smart about it.

“Words that don’t carry any value are “delicious” and “#yumyumyum.” Even in 140 characters, you can pack in a lot of information, factoids, and snippets of value.”

CORI SUE MORRIS

Co-founder of the food and lifestyle blog Bitches Who Brunch, which offers formatted reviews of – you guessed it – brunches around D.C., New York, and Chicago. Follow her on Twitter @CoriSueMorris and Instagram @corsuemorris.

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1. Don’t get lost in the noise.

“Don’t be so busy you don’t have time to check out what other people are doing, but don’t unconsciously copy them. If you copy someone, you’re automatically going to be second best.”

2. The picture has to tell a story.

“A person shouldn’t just be sitting there with a cup of coffee. If they’re looking off in the distance and seem engaged, you get the sense they’re having an interesting conversation with someone.”Continue Reading

Frost and Bloom: A Connected Event with Vedge + Vernick in Philadelphia

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“There is no beauty without some strangeness.” — Edgar Allan Poe

Under the cold there was, in fact, gold. This week, on a snowy evening in Philadelphia, OpenTable gathered with foodies, lifestyle contributors, and local influencers and chefs Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau of venerated plant-forward restaurant Vedge and Greg Vernick of new American favorite Vernick Food & Drink for Frost and Bloom, an unlikely Valentine’s Day soiree that is part of Connected, our series of talks and gatherings that bring together the restaurant and tech worlds with food, drink, and local culture.

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Seeking a deeper and unconventional connection to the notion of love, we set out to dig deep within the chill of winter for true connections — to food, to drink, and to one another, turning the holiday and its all-too-often saccharine associations on its head. Drawing inspiration from mavericks such as Saint Valentine, Chaucer, and Spenser, Philadelphia’s storied The Mask and Wig Club was given an enchanting costume of winter blooms and evocative artwork from Nitsua, Kyle Huff, and Conrad Benner, curated by OpenTable brand director Cort Cunningham, and the intrigue kicked off at 6:30PM with food and drink to mirror the mood dreamed up by these top chefs and Vedge beverage director Ross Maloof.

Drinks

We shrugged off the chill of the evening within the warm confines of The Mask and Wig Club as hearts were gently melted with intoxicating piano music, and we sipped one-of-a-kind creations from Maloof that embodied the spirit of the evening, including the Cupid Makes Me Retch with vodka, chocolate, espresso, beet, and rose water rinse, and the non-alcoholic Pickpocket, forged out of plum, Meyer lemon, thyme, citrus, and club soda. Guests scooped up cards with quotes about love in all its many forms as they nibbled on sexy bites from Landau and Jacoby, such as  smoked hearts of palm on crostini, jerk spiced carrots with rutabaga “fondue”, celery root “cacio e pepe” with fregola and black pepper, and crispy sunchokes with black garlic buffalo sauce and celery leaf ranch.

food

The festivities later moved upstairs, where DJ duo Maggs Bruchez raised the temperature in the room, laying down the PHL’s best beats. Chef Vernick and his team headed behind the burners for the second half of the subtly sultry evening, serving a trio of savory dishes featuring flavors designed to delight the senses, from salt cod and semolina croquettes with saffron cream and avocado crostini with spicy radish to tuna poke complemented by macadamia nuts and sweet soy and spicy veal meatballs swathed in ancho chili caramel served on appropriately dagger-like toothpicks.Continue Reading

Nine Foodie Celebrities to Follow on Instagram

If you believe Us Weekly, celebrities are just like us. We won’t debate the veracity of that claim (they always seem to look preternaturally pulled together even when they come out of the Jivamukti studio), but we will say that, like us, they love to eat! In celebration of the release of the 2015 100 Best Restaurants for Foodies awards, here are nine foodie celebrities to follow on Instagram to inspire your eating and drinking adventures.

Chrissy Teigen IG 2

 

Chrissy Teigen
A list about celebrity Instagrammers who love to eat would not be complete without model Chrissy Teigen. Married to singer John Legend, the New York City-based stunner has the most delicious IG feed of all. She chows down on fish tacos from Michael Chernow, dines decadently with friends at Meso Maya in Dallas, and snacks on cooling ice cream cones – all while maintaining a super-healthy physique.

 

Action BronsonAction Bronson
Rapper Action Bronson is closely associated with a catchphrase that’s unprintable here, but, if his Instagram feed is any indication, he utters it several times a day. He sinks his teeth into Ivan Shishkin’s French toast-ified pastrami on rye, sups at Marea on charred octopus, and gushes over the cous cous in Morocco as he travels the world entertaining his many fans. ICYMI, he’ll also autograph pizza crust for said fans. Also, Action, if you’re reading this, if you ever find yourself performing near Newburyport, Massachusetts, dine at BRINE.

 

GwynethGwyneth Paltrow
The driving force behind kale smoothies and good-for-you food, Gwynnie has her fair share of lovers and haters, but, whatever your feelings, you’ve got to give her props for her longtime celebration of fresh food + drink. whether she’s hobnobbing with fellow celebs or cooking with her kids. She’s got snaps of just-picked summer produce from her garden, mind-blowing ramen from Ichicoro in Tampa, and her National Oyster Day feast at The Marshall Store in Tomales Bay.

 

Quisp LoveQuestlove
If you’ve been to a high-profile foodie event, chances are you’ve caught sight of Questlove. A talented drummer and band leader who plays with The Roots nightly on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, he is an avid foodie who hosts food salons with marquee chefs on occasion. Questlove’s reputation as a gourmand who appreciates both the highbrow and the low was the inspiration for the new Quisp Love cereal milk from Christina Tosi of the Milk Bar. Don’t miss his pic of bacon soda sips.

 

Oprah

 

Oprah
She was and always will be the queen of daytime TV, even tho’ she’s no longer in front of the camera every day. However, you can keep up with her healthful appetites on Instagram. She favors from-her-farm produce (which she kindly shares with her neighbors), adores the famous crab cakes from Pappas in Baltimore, and claims that Jimmy Kimmel is one helluva pizzaiolo.

 

Drew

 

Drew Barrymore
Actress-producer-entrepreneur-momma Drew Barrymore will always be associated with food in our mind (Hello, Reese’s Pieces!). She’s got a sweet tooth and a taste for rose. In her latest holiday in Japan, Barrymore hit up robatayaki in Tokyo and made her dreams of sushi with Jiro a reality. She has also been known to chill out with mint chip ice cream on a hot summer day.

 

Posen

 

Zac Posen
You can’t design a more delicious diet than designer Zac Posen’s. Sure, you might expect beautiful pictures of fashionable plates of food from a fashionista. However, Posen also makes many of the dishes featured on his Instagram stream. A master of both sweet and savory creations, Posen, pictured here at Bemelmans Bar in New York, scores extra points for canning his own preserves. Where he finds the time, we’re not quite sure.Continue Reading