Social media is the most common tool used by the companies and known influencers as an approach towards advertising, promotions and monetization. And one of this is the Instagram. Instagram made a hit since the time when smart phones has evolved and developed new features most especially in photography. Because nowadays, you can become a great photographer even with just a click on your smart phone as long as you have a good eye towards your subject.
I had a fun experience last Sunday during Food Style Snaps, a mini-workshop about instgram food and style photography which was hosted by Cebu Finest and Cebu Content Creators. At first, I was hesitant because I am not a pro photography and maybe the only time I can call my self as a photographer was when I became a photojournalist in high school. Moreover, I don’t have a good camera and all my photos are taken from my one month old phone.
Nevertheless, I still came and stepped out from my comfort zone. I was glad that I saw a lot of familiar faces as well my fellow bloggers from Cebu Blogging Community. The even took place in this well known restaurant in Cebu – KDD STK + BBQ near Plaza Independancia. They are famous of their Filipino dishes.
But again, I want to repeat this – I am not a pro but aspiring to be next in line the famous and best photographers in town. So here are the tips that I learned during the workshop.
1. Know your weapon
When you go into the battlefield, a soldier should know how to shot with a rifle or else everything will become senseless. That is the same in the field of photography, you should know your smart phone or your camera. Whether it is the latest unit of mirrorless camera or the latest iPhone but the only thing you know is to press the click button then it will just turn out to be a normal shot like in your dusty photo albums.
Research about your gadget and familiarize the controls and the tricks that are indicated because this will give magic to your photos. Remember, they can have HDR (Pro), macro shots, Panorama and many more.
2. Know your food.
Well, yes, you already have your well-studied weapon but you don’t know your subject, you don’t know what to shot. You just can’t take a shot here and there on all sides irregardless if it is an ice cream, a bread or a simple soup. Take the angle on how you are going to get the heart and stomach of your viewers. Think on what is the outstanding features of your subject.
Like for example, the Crispy Pata. We all know that this deep fried pig trotters or knuckles are known for its crispiness of the skin and so you have to focus on that side and not on its bony knuckles. People go after for the skin and meat and not for the bones.
3. Less is better
In the workshop that we are taught that it is fine to use props in taking food shots as long it doesn’t destruct your subject or overlaps the scene with your subject. In addition, props are great as long it creates an artistic connection with the food. Like this Chinese noodles as being a consistent dish during celebrations and animals as part of Chinese New Year’s belief.
4. Flat Lay Doesn’t Always Work
This is was the line that was repeatedly mention during the workshop. Again, flat lay doesn’t always work and sometimes it makes it senseless as you don’t deliver your subject very well. According to Mister Philip of Cebu Finest, you need to learn and familiarize other approach in taking pictures like the close-ups, wide-angle, side-angle and worms eye view. And i love you. Haha. Kidding. Anyway, that is why you always have to remember our second tip which is know your subject. If you are having a cake and you are taking it on a flat lay approach, your viewer won’t able to perceive on how tall is the cake, how moist it is, how dark is its chocolate or what are the fillings inside.
5. Remember the Rules of Thirds
When I had my workshop about photojournalism in highschool, the rule of thirds is the golden rule. This rule proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or intersections. Whew! Thanks Google! In a simpler note, it’s a mortal seen when you place your subject at the middle or inbetween spaced of the nine boxes you’ve made. Your phone or camera has a grid feature for your to guide. Uhuh! Remember our tip number 1! Know your weapon.
6. Don’t edit too much
Together with the upgrades of the camera features in smart phones and cameras, there’s an influx of editing apps that surfaced in the application stores and the most commonly used are the snapseed, VSCO, Lightroom Mobile, Afterlight and many more. But always put in mind that we are advertising food in the most honest way as the consumers. We are not like those some TV ads that give false hope towards the true appearance of our food. I think it is safe that we’ll just play with the exposure, temperature and contrast or simply those basic edits. Don’t use filter that would defeat your purpose as a food instagram-er.
Moreover, you can play with the light and shadow for contrast. You can have portable lights or the natural light to give a creative look on your picture. And you can enhance it through editing apps.
Turning into a best photographer or something great doesn’t happen over night so don’t get disappointed when you some of your shots hideous. You just have to practice and practice until you are satisfied, until someone appreciates it, until someone comes to you and buy your shots. You have to start believing in your self that you can do it. And then maybe someone will say – Oh! You’re like a pro!