Sure, there's fun to be had when shooting food pictures with your iPhone. But, sometimes, while flicking through our Instagram feed, we shudder in disappointment. Do Instagramers really think that a flash-flooded shot of corn chowder looks appetizing? Or that a blurry photo of empty wine glasses merits a "like"? It's just down-right offensive to the eyes (and the stomach).
We are the first to admit that we take our food pics a bit too seriously. But there aren't enough retro filters in this app to truly remedy a bad shot -- even when you add so many hashtags that it garners more than five comments.
To be a true pro of Instagram food pics, you must start with a good photo. Then you can play with as many filters as you'd like. (Valencia is our favorite.)
So, in the hopes of inspiring food picture betterment in Miami and beyond, we've compiled a list of Instagram do's and don't's that will solve all your future photo-sharing qualms. Please revisit frequently -- especially when it's time for your daily "what I had for dinner shot". Just think of all the happy followers!
Do: Shoot in daylight
Food looks best when photographed in daylight, preferably in soft light by a window during mid-morning or afternoon. If you must shoot at night, then seek out good white lights. Yellow lights make food look, well, yellow.
Don't: Shoot in a dim-lit dining room
Nothing kills an Instagram shot more than a dim-lit dining room. So, unless you're equipped with a professional flash, please don't bust out the iPhone for a pic of late-night fried chicken.
Do: Remember, food almost always looks best when it's back-lit
Follow our lead: First, set a plate with food on the table. Shoot the photo by holding your iPhone with your back to your light source. That's all.
Don't: Forget to look at shadows
Maybe you're in the middle of a restaurant dining room, far, far away from a window. Take a second and look at where shadows are turning up in the picture. Shadows usually look nice behind the food, not in front of it.
Do: Hold the phone... with both hands.
If you want a sharp shot of that double-decker burger, then you'll need to keep those hands steady. Use both hands to ensure a quality picture. Resting your elbows on a flat surface is your best bet -- particularly after one too many cafecitos.
Don't: Try motion shots with your iPhone.
Sure, drizzling honey into a cup of steaming tea sounds like it has good potential. But chances are your shot will be blurry. And bad.
Do: Tap the screen to focus your shot.
Play around with the focus. Tap the screen and watch as the exposure and white balance auto-adjusts. It's like magic.
Don't: Get too crazy with filters and frames
We know, we know. That graffiti wall in Wynwood looks way cooler with a high-contrast filter. But chances are that your lasagna doesn't. So, fellow Instagramers, please keep it simple with the filters and frames.
Do: Use the Teardrop option to blur out parts of the shot
Nothing makes Instagram food photos look fancier than the teardrop tool. Use it to hide smudges or sloppy plating. It's like a refreshing facelift, but for food.
Don't: Ever, ever use the Lux option
The Lux option (the little sun on the bottom left of your insert-screen) increases contrast levels and consistently results in overexposed food pics. Not good.
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SHOW ME HOW
And for our final, "don't", check out College Humor's hilarious video parody, "Look at this Instagram". We are definitely guilty of a few of these, uhm, accusations. But, really, isn't coffee foam just lovely with a dainty Walden filter? We sure think so.
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.