The cheat's guide to better Instagram food pics: we asked 5 experts

Claire Gunn -  food photographer, chef and artist

Claire is one of South Africa’s most sought-after food photographers and award-winning chefs up and down the country have her number on speed-dial.

Claire's tips: look at the background before you shoot, and keep your lines straight!

Often times we see photos of the subject being the hero but there are ugly things in the background that do not help to tell the story of the hero.

The background does not support them, it becomes noise and uncomfortable to look at and distracts from the hero.What you put into the frame must have a reason for being there, otherwise move your subject.

Hein van Tonder - photographer, videographer, editorial stylist

Hein may be better known to you as food blogger Heinstirred. His delicious recipes are regulars on Food24, but it’s his work for South African cookbooks that is really drool-worthy! He recently collaborated with The Kate Tin’s Katelyn Williams on the cookbook, Chocolate.  

Hein suggests: Look for interesting surfaces to place the food on. 

To me food photography is all about texture, whether in the food, the light or the surfaces. Look for interesting surfaces to place the food on. Play with shadows and composition to make the shot more interesting. It's Instagram so don't be afraid to push the editing of a shot to something a bit more unusual. 

Michelle Parkin - food photographer

Michelle has worked with some of the biggest brands in your kitchen, and is well known for her bright and clean style. 

Michelle tells us: Find the light! 

Whenever trying to capture a beautiful food photo, try and position yourself close to a window where you can see the direction of the light.  If you are standing facing a window and place the food right in front of you, the dish is "back lit". This creates a halo / silhouette effect. 

If you are standing with a window to your side and the food in front of you, the dish is "side lit" which creates more of a moody effect. You can play around with turning your plate clockwise until the light falls on the most delicious angle of the food. 

Brett Field - multi-award winning food photographer

Brett is a professional photographer, with a special interest in food. Our readers will know him as the cameraman who captures The Sweet Rebellion’s tempting recipes. 

Brett’s tips: carry a small piece of baking paper in your phone cover. 

food photography, photo tips, instagram tips



You can use the baking paper to diffuse light from a phone shining onto the food you are shooting. By diffusing the light you will get a much softer and more elegant image. Highlights will be enhanced while keeping shadows soft.


Sam Linsell - food photographer, stylist and cookbook author 

Sam’s recipes are some of the most popular on Food24. Under the title Drizzle and Dip, she has bought us years of cooking inspiration including the top trending perfect roast potatoes recipe.

Sam recommends: Always use natural light and then give your images a light edit

I use two free apps - Snapseed and VSCO to edit my iPhone pics. I never add a strong filter, just occasionally a touch of a filter.

If you are going to take your IG seriously you should take the time to edit the image to the best that it can and then decide if it's good enough to post. 




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