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Different methods can be used to help increase the appeal of your plates rather than piling on the food.

5 Tips to Make Your Food More Instagram-Worthy

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It’s no secret that the Instagram food trend has taken the world by storm.
By Rich Lansdale October 2018 Expert Insights

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and seen mouth-watering food that made you want to run out and order it for yourself? If you have, then you know exactly why restaurants are trying to take advantage of this trend.

It’s no secret that the Instagram food trend has taken the world by storm. Restaurants often cater to Instagrammers in a plethora of ways, from offering rainbow bagels to providing Instagram-worthy marble-top tables. Making your food more Instagram-worthy means paying attention not just to the appearance of the food itself, but also to the architectural aspects of the restaurant.

Many restaurants have chosen to hire social media specialists to promote their food. These social media gurus use simple presentation and photography techniques to help make food images go viral.

So how can your restaurant make its food Instagram-ready? Here, we explain in detail five major ways you can impact your food’s Instagram-worthiness.

1. Find the Right Light

This tip is one of the most important pieces of advice for creating powerful photos. This recommendation works for any type of photography, which means it also applies to food photography. Natural light is key to great-looking food.

There are many ways to increase the amount of natural light in a room. Some of the more obvious ways include using or uncovering large windows to let in sunlight. You might also consider installing one or more skylights.

If adding windows or skylights to an existing room is not a practical option, there are ways you can extend the natural light you do have. Help increase light from existing windows or skylights by using mirrors to reflect the light throughout the room. The more mirrors you have, the more reflected light you will have bouncing around the room.

To brighten a dark room, break up heavy, dark accents or furniture. Paint walls and doors a brighter color and rearrange furniture for a more open look. Get rid of any heavy or dark fabrics on your windows and tables, and opt for clean, crisp lines instead. If your room is exceptionally dark, try using white tables or tablecloths to help brighten the space.

2. Beef up the Background

Although the food is the main target for your photography, don’t forget about what surrounds it. Choosing the right background features can have a significant impact on your photo. Great options for upping your background include trendy plating, marble table tops, baking racks and wooden serving boards. You could also slip in a napkin with your logo for a smart marketing tactic.

Make sure you choose the right background elements to complement the food choice. You do not want to overwhelm Instagrammers with a look that is too busy or one that clashes. If you want to show off a rainbow-colored or other brightly hued food, keep your background simple. Basic but cool dishware can create stunning a backdrop for plated food.

Keep in mind that your guests will take in everything at once: the food, plate, silverware, table, napkins and drinks. Try not to overdo your choices; sometimes a simple, bold background will work best.

3. Make the Food Look Fresh

The fresher your food looks, the better. You can even take a photo straight in the kitchen so people get a sense of see how fresh and authentic the food is. Dimensions and texture play a huge part in food photography. People want to see cheese melting or chocolate dripping.

If you want your food to go viral, it should look like food. While bright colors and unique options appeal to Instagrammers, the photo should encourage viewers to chow down as well. There’s nothing more disappointing than a beautifully arranged plate of food that looks or tastes like plastic.

How else can you make sure food looks both fresh and tasty? Consider the colors, textures and shapes of the food you are presenting. Fruits and veggies will provide pops of healthy-looking color to a plate that has too many like-colored foods. You can sear meat and let it rest to help it look its best.

Brushing a light coat of oil over meat and bread may help their appearance pop. In almost all cases, food should be neither over- nor undercooked for it to look its best. As a last resort, you can cut food into interesting or unique shapes, combine textures and choose small portions for visually appealing plates.

4. Don’t Overcrowd the Plate

When it comes time to snap a photo, remember that you shouldn’t overcrowd the plate. Instagram-worthy photos aren’t too busy; keep a minimalist mindset as you prepare your photo. You can experiment with different props to see how many you need. Try silverware, a cocktail, other food or a related item to make the photo stand out.

Try to keep one-third of the plate empty. This empty space creates additional visual appeal. If you try to load up the entire plate, it becomes less visually appealing. Again, try to include fruits or vegetables to add natural color to the dish. If the plate seems too full, either reduce the portion size or increase the size of the plate.

Different methods can be used to help increase the appeal of your plates rather than piling on the food. Add a unique garnish, serve food in odd numbers so the eye will focus on the central offering, stack food or arrange it in some unique way and corral unwieldy or messy sauces by adding them afterward. Food trends are constantly changing; keep an eye on Instagram feeds to see what looks new or different.

Often, rearranging or recoloring food might take your plating to the next level. Simply swapping a traditional garnish for something on trend—like pomegranate seeds instead of an orange wedge, for example—can completely change the feel of a plate.

5. More Than Just Your Food

You can make your restaurant Instagram-worthy by changing more than just the food. Making your entire restaurant more Instagrammable is a great idea, too. You can do this with a statement piece worthy of a photo. This can be easy to implement if you focus on one signature piece. Good ideas include a memorable neon sign or an outstanding accent wall.

Make sure you keep your restaurant in good working order by monitoring the status of your equipment and ordering replacement kitchen parts when necessary. Quality kitchens can be just as appealing as a handsome dining room.

If you want your food and restaurant to attract guests, making simple changes to the way you present them can help drive up Instagram-worthy photos. You do not have to sacrifice taste or your style to create visually appealing spaces; with careful planning, even a few simple touches can create a look worth sharing. If you care about your food and your style, show it off! The more care you put into planning the simple details, the more your food will be appealing and Instagram-worthy to your guests.

Rich Lansdale has been in the foodservice Industry for two decades. From dishwasher to Commerical Equipment Consultant, he has done it all. It’s those years in the business that make writing for Sharptek Supply and several other sites so enjoyable.