6 Food Stylist Tips for Perfecting Your Instagram Shots

Photo: Evi Abeler

Imagine this: You go to an ice cream shop and order scoops solely based on their colors coordinating. You find the perfect brick wall to stand in front of, and anxiously set up the perfect photo with melty, colorful drips and sprinkles, then snap the picture. If you can relate, we have a few pointers that are just for you. We spoke to Evi Abeler, a professional food and still life photographer who makes the simplest foods look effortlessly beautiful. With clients such as Food & Wine magazine and the Food Network, she definitely knows a thing or two about what it takes to make an Insta'-worthy shot. We asked her to spill her top tips, from her favorite editing apps to shooting techniques.

Evi Abeler

Shoot Pretty Food
Go for foods that are colorful, have an appetizing texture, and are pleasing to the eye, such as a bright breakfast berry bowl or a trio of pretty cupcakes. As far as what not to shoot, Abeler says, “stay away from sausages, brown stews, lasagna, prepared food that came out of the freezer, and anything served on a paper or plastic plate.”

Be an Editor
While it may be tempting to include a gorgeous perfume bottle next to your stack of pancakes, think again. “Carefully consider all elements in the frame and make sure they all have a reason to be there”, she says. Excessive props and backgrounds may harm your shot, not help it. “Let the food be the star.”

Evi Abeler

Use Your Environment to Create a Story
You may want to capture that gooey, melty chocolate right up close as you pull apart your chocolate chip cookie. But Abeler says to “consider pulling back from time to time to get more of the table scene.” One of her favorite moves? Stand on a chair to get that bird’s-eye-view shot. If you show more of the table scene, your followers may be intrigued by the context of your photo.

Take to the Shade
Watch out for too much sunlight, which causes the exposure to be overwhelmingly intense. “For the best range of colors, textures, and tones, shooting in the shade or under cloudy conditions is best if you are using a phone to take the picture.”

Evi Abeler

Carry a Clean Lens
This may seem obvious, but Abeler stresses this small tip: “To achieve mouthwatering effects, use a soft cloth and wipe your lens”, she says. You'll avoid creating a smudgy photo.

Exploit a Good App
Abeler loves the VSCO Cam App. “It allows you to pick a focus and a brightness point, and provides awesome editing tools and stunning filters”, she says. Then, you can proudly upload your pro-edited photo to Instagram.

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