Have you ever been looking through social media and stopped, mid-scroll on a photo of a glorious cheeseburger that you can taste just by looking at it — loaded with melty cheese, topped by a toasty-squishy bun, layered with a burst of tangy pickles, just asking to be crunched — hungry yet?

These days, it’s easier than ever to master the art of product photography. All you need is a camera, decent lighting, and the ability to play with your angles. Confidence is the key to a fun shot — more passion, more energy! The goal is to make your audience either crave the food through your efforts or to create an essence of FOMO — the fear of missing out.

Here are some tips to enhance your food presentation for social media, inspiring your audience to dine in just by posting a photo!

The Right Light

Selecting the right background with the right lighting is the first step in showcasing food. Use natural light, a ring light, or stage lighting to capture and enhance the true colors of your product. Look for a backdrop that complements the colors and textures of your dish. Whether you stage inside or out, watch for shadows and where you place the camera, finding the best lighting.

Contrasting colors can make your plates pop by balancing the colors in your dish against the background. Neutral backgrounds allow the food to be the focus — try granite or marble tabletops, wooden or concrete surfaces, or plain plates.

A colorful background can come into play to enhance the essence of your plate if you are working with neutral-color food. For example, if you are plating white fish with minimal colors, place it in front or on top of a patterned backdrop, or find a spot at your location that defines you. Being able to subtly brand your photos by showing locations that tell a story is a great way to enhance your image without additional elements.

Finagle the Angle

It’s all about the angle, baby! Don’t be afraid to shoot from multiple perspectives. Overhead – click. Close-up – click. Left-side – click. Right-side – click. Not only will a range of product shots elevate your promotions, but it also keeps your feed engaging and interesting as you post.

Use your team! Stage your staff as background players or diners. Have a team member hold a dish with the focus on the plate or let them play around with how they hold the dish. Studies show that the algorithms behind social media prefer pictures that feature people. Utilize your team to capitalize on likes and viewing margins while increasing engagement.

Trick or Treat?

Use presentation tricks to step up your plated goods — there are a number of techniques experts use to ensure their dishes look the most delicious. Check out the latest edition of The Dish to get some inspiration for your staging and see real-life examples of food photography.

Easy touch-up tricks, such as painting on a discreet layer of olive oil to keep burgers looking juicy or using a spray bottle to keep shrimp plump and moist for their big shot, are easy tactics to finesse your plate. For pizza crusts, underbaking helps you secure that golden brown, freshly baked look by using name-brand browning agents for that extra enticing effect. Also, add wax to your sauces — this will thicken them up, so they maintain consistency and shape throughout your shoot.

Use a handheld steamer to translate a warm dish without having to reheat your plate. Steamers can refresh toppings or freshen up melted cheese for that perfect gooey burger shot as well. And add props! While props can enhance your photo, try not to make them the focal point, overshadowing the main dish. Choose complementing props such as utensils, napkins, or ingredients used to make the dish. Experiment with different plating techniques and consider using garnishes, dips, or drizzles to tie everything together.

Ease Into the Edits

Use photo editing apps to enhance your images. Adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation to make colors pop. Play around with the focal point on your image and add a blur or increase or decrease the blur in the background. You don’t need a fancy camera to create engaging photos. Simply use photo-enhancing filters offered on your phone, such as portrait mode. Keep your editing simple yet defined.

Have your audience salivating over your feed by mastering the art of food photography. Level up your plates by staging dishes and redefining your feed with these easy-to-use lighting, plating, and angling techniques.

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