By Kira Turnbull
November 26, 2014
Kira Turnbull

You do it. I do it. We all at one point or another have taken Instagram photos. Food and culture have always remained intertwining emblems of travel and as our social media driven world has grown, so has our love of sharing our experiences. In light of the upcoming holidays, where there’s an inevitable increase in traveling and dining, why not amp up your food photography (or phoneography) skills with these great tips and tricks.

Find the light. The best food photography is taken near a window during the day (see above). The window creates a soft, natural filter, making dishes appear crisp and cool.

Try different angles. You can always take a great photo of a dish from above but try experimenting with different angles and points of view. Try taking a photo in which your eye is level to the plate or move the plate so half of it is out of the frame for some interesting composition.

Stick a fork in it! (or take a bite out of it). Food in all of its magical beauty is first and foremost about one thing: eating it. Some of the best food photos are the ones that feel like they capture a moment in a meal. Whether it’s someone who’s just taken a whopping bite out of some shepherd’s pie, or has finished the last slice of mouth-watering pizza, it’s about documenting the eternal love affair that one has with food and the culture that surrounds it.

Don't use a flash. This is probably the cardinal rule of taking food photos on a phone (with some exceptions). Using a flash tends to make the food, though delicious, appear greasy and unappetizing. The flash enhances the shine of the food and detracts from the color and texture that you really want to show off.

Instead, if you’re out dining with a friend, ask them to put their light on from their phone and point it on the dish for some constant side light. This will help bring more light to the photo so you wont have to put the flash on.

Filters and Apps: The only app I’d recommend is Instasize. Other than adjusting the brightness and contrast of the photo, go for the #nofilter look.

Experiment and have fun! There’s always room to create and experiment. Have fun and try out new techniques that will make your photos pop out from a phone’s screen. Play with colors, shadows and space.

For more photos like this, follow T+L’s Photo Assistant Kira Turnbull and Photo Director Scott Hall on Instagram.