Tech Tips

How to Style Food to Get More Likes and Followers

How to Style Food

Social media is filled with snaps of food. Most of these pictures are unappetizing despite the best efforts of amateur photographers who have no clue how to style food. Get more likes and make your pictures more professional with the following tips from Q Link Wireless.

  • Focus on the yum factor
  • Create a fitting mood
  • Consider extras
  • Design your background
  • Create movement
  • Shoot from multiple angles
  • Plate your food

Focus on the yum factor

Which qualities are you presenting in your food story? Viewers want to see photos and drool over the food, not the styling. You may not know how to style food right now, but follow top food photographers and popular hashtags. Scroll through these experts’ feeds to see which tricks they like to use and get inspired.

For example, Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park always seem to have cutlery practically and whimsically arranged on their plates, seemingly inviting the viewer to have the first helping. Nadine Greeff offers a gorgeous study on the element of shadows in food photography.  Explore other big names to understand the role of texture, color and lighting in how to style food.


How to Style Food to Get More Likes and Followers


Make sure the food and background of your photo are

  1. edible
  2. appealing
  3. clean

Viewers can tell wax from real fruit or the use of too many filters, which is not how to style food. If viewers don’t want to eat what you are shooting, you will not get as many likes. The right details matter when telling your food story, including not having grease stains or unintentional smudges.

If you are shooting for a long time, food will melt or dry out. Reserve meat juice after cooking and spritz on your food for a juicy look. For the perfect amount of condensation, fill a spray bottle with water or buy clear spray paint.

Professional food photographers have a few tricks for how to style food while keeping it looking yummy. Invest in a few extras by ordering faux or acrylic ice cubes online and a few makeup brushes that you just use for food. Keep in mind most of these types of ice cubes don’t float, so keep all liquids just below their level.

Create the perfect shot with a few items you already have around the house. Tweezers adjust sprigs of herbs. Rulers keep distances uniform. Spatulas flip or smear.

A hair dryer melts butter and adds movement. Pour sauces into squeeze bottles to get creative with designs. Dilute beverages; they tend to photograph much darker than they are in real life.

Add clear dish soap to old coffee for a freshly poured look.  In short, invest in and have on hand

  • faux ice cubes
  • brushes
  • tweezers
  • rulers
  • spatulas
  • a hair dryer
  • squeeze bottles
  • clear dish soap


Create a fitting mood

Know which ingredients are in season when planning your content. During the cold months of the year, ice cream and smoothies are not what your followers are craving. Think stews and roasts for winter, salads and smoothies for spring, pies and side dishes for fall, and fruit and raw vegetables for summer.

Always go with what is in season, not what you want to shoot. If you are shooting summer foods, try to set the mood by showcasing sunshine in the background. Use a diffuser to counteract the brightness.

Play with shadows and darkness once you gain more experience. For now, think spring and summer whites for backgrounds. Set a winter or fall mood with darker backgrounds.


Consider extras

To avoid filling up the frame and wasting food, use small plates and bowls. Sprinkle some fresh herbs or go bigger with a small bowl of dipping sauce on the plate. Play around with matte palettes to allow your food to pop.

Big plates and bowls are challenges when you are first learning how to style food. Extras tell the story of your food.

Drinks also play a role in defining your food fantasy. Foods that you eat with your hands, including tacos, pizza and burgers, pair well with a tall glass of cola in the background. A goblet of sparkling water complements pastas, soups and stews.


How to Style Food to Get More Likes and Followers
How to Style Food to Get More Likes and Followers



Side dishes and garnishes add robustness to your food tale. Think chopped lemons, chilies and herbs to add texture and color. These extras create a sense of balance with the right tablecloth.


Design your background

Most dishes are served in bowls or plates. However, many, such as charcuterie, can be served on a cutting board or a tile. Cut and arrange fruit in fun shapes. Use yogurt or chocolate as a dipping sauce to anchor the back of your photo.

Serve bread on a cutting board and experiment with the angle of the knife. Smaller items also add BIG visual interest to your background without being overwhelming. Sprinkle dry ingredients around a plate or in the foreground to create a visual representation of recipes.

If you use berries, fruit pieces – fresh and dry – or nuts, stage them around your plate. Brightly hued spices are also great accessories for your food photo. Fill a spoon with these beauties and place anywhere in the frame.


How to Style Food to Get More Likes and Followers

Be bold with small piles of spices or whisper through sprinklings.

Forks, spoons and knives have defined shapes and lines that add interest. Find objects around the house for a more personal touch. If you are making kid-friendly food, use a doll’s hairbrush or a boxcar racer.

Go outside and find heart-shaped leaves, pinecones or an object that embodies the current season. Flowers infuse a photo with color while also adding a delicate touch. A pebble or two adds whimsy.

Draw the viewer into your world by adding touches of you. Think your favorite book or teacup for a relaxed feeling.


Create movement

A static picture is great until your feed and grid are full of them. Some food snappers like to include their hands in the shot for movement. Swirls in the food or slices show that movement has already happened to add interest.

Food can be roughly chopped for movement and a rustic touch.


Food photography


Shoot from multiple angles

To get the right shot, you may have to take dozens of pictures. Play with serving sizes and height. Shoot from above, straight ahead and the side.

Experiment by not keeping everything flat. Prop cutlery or show as much movement as possible.



How to Style Food to Get More Likes and Followers


Plate your food

Every person on the planet eats with their eyes first. If something looks delicious, we are more likely to forgive any perceived flaws.


How to Style Food to Get More Likes and Followers


To design the perfect plate, start with the basics.

  1. Place starches on the plate first.
  2. Then arrange vegetables.
  3. Top the dish with protein.
  4. Clean up any spills.
  5. Garnish.

Your plate should be visually compact and appealing.

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