Are you a food photographer who is overwhelmed with building a cohesive look on your Instagram?
As a food photographer, especially as a new one, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with building a cohesive look on your Instagram. With the different varieties of food, props, backgrounds, etc. how are you supposed to show off your skill and diversity while still maintaining a cohesive look? I’ve been there and am still working through that at times. I also find that these tips and tricks listed below, serve as great exercises even for the most skilled food photographer. It helps to push the boundaries and expand our creativity. Read through the tips and tricks below. I would challenge you to take a month to focus on just one. After a month of applying these to your Instagram feed, see what your readers respond to most and what really drives you!
Use One or Two Backgrounds Maximum
This may sound overly simple but it will seriously limit colors, feelings, and emotions evoked from your photography. It will also challenge your planning. Gone are the days of just flying by the seat of your pants. Now, I was going to limit it to one background, and seriously if you can – do that! But I know there are plenty of photographers, including myself, that like to play around with the light vs. dark alternating Instagram feed. Limiting your backgrounds will help you to specialize and become even more niche. Decide if you want to focus on a bright and airy style or a dark and moody style – both are amazing! Remember: this isn’t forever. You can always try this for a month and then switch backgrounds. You’ll be surprised at how cohesive your feed will look just by keeping one thing consistent.
Create Only One Style of Food
Similar to the backgrounds create a month planner of only one type of food such as soups or casseroles. Choose a style that is within your niche. So if you are a comfort food style photographer and recipe creator, look at creating a month of crock pot meals. Getting used to photographing with only certain props or certain styles of food will help you to narrow in on the way light and colors appear in that cooking condition. If you are in the health niche, look at creating a month of only salads or only smoothies. After a week or two, you’ll start to feel the pressure. This sparks creativity and helps to push boundaries. You’ll also be able to see what hashtags work within that niche. This isn’t to say that you can’t create different recipes for your blog and Pinterest, but for this exercise and use of building a cohesive look on your Instagram – choose just one. Pay attention also to how the changes and grows your followers. You may like where it leads you.
Focus on Your Weakness
This may sound counter-intuitive but think of it as an intensive course. If you have no idea what it takes to create drink recipes, shoot in artificial light, or create lifestyle tabletop settings, then focus on that for a month. Give yourself creative freedom in this case to use different backgrounds. Try using different food types of dinner, desserts, etc. if you are doing lifestyle scenes. Push yourself to incorporate live models. Focus on whatever it is that plagues you for a month. Let all other things be planned around that weakness. By the end of the month, you’ll feel much more confident having worked out the kinks.
Focus on a Color
One of my favorite food photographers on Instagram is Ronja. She has an amazing style where she incorporates a certain primary color into her photos. For example, she will make a recipe that incorporates raspberries and uses that color to bring life to the rest of her photo however she is styling it. Her napkins are in that color family, her plates or accented items don’t contrast harshly. It’s amazing. Every time I look at her feed I am blown away. Choose a color that speaks to you for the month or maybe even each week. Focus on red for the first week and play with the hues in that color family and how to make them pop. Focus on blue the next week and do the same. Similar to how Ronja does it, you could limit yourself to one background as well – but not necessary. Check out the photo below and how it stays within the same color family, but uses contrasting accents to bring attention to the main character of the story. Figure out what colors work best for you and what you lean towards. That consistent color focus will bring a cohesive flow to your feed even without staying on one background.
Limit your Props
This is a particularly good exercise for new food photographers that really cannot afford to be investing in a ton of different props. Create or find a set of props you feel resonate with your brand. I challenge you not to go the plain white route. While that is certainly in every food photographer’s arsenal, it’s not overly challenging or brand specific. If you like rustic, find a set of pottery you like. Find greens and browns in pottery rustic pieces. Find off-white cloth napkins. Find one set of utensils from your local vintage shop. Limit yourself in styles and colors. Use those all month long. Having less variation in the vessel will help you to focus on the actual contents of the vessel.
There are more ways to limit and challenge yourself in creating a cohesive look to your Instagram feed but those are some great starters. Be sure to check the links and sign up for the Newsletter where I share even more tips and tricks. Want to come back to this post? Be sure to pin on your favorite Pinterest Board for easy referral.