Instagram Tips for dineL.A. Restaurant Week


Taking great photos of food with a phone isn't easy; just ask Martha Stewart. To give you the best opportunity to win our "Dine. Snap. Win." contest during dineL.A.'s Restaurant Week, we've asked Los Angeles photographer Bonnie Tsang to share a few secrets on how to take gorgeous food photos from a smartphone.

Bonnie Tsang is an editorial and commercial photographer with a focus on interiors, portraits, travel and food. Named by Time Magazine as one of the "Top 30 Pinterest Curators to Follow," Bonnie has spoken at conferences such as SXSW and taught several classes from her expertise in photography and social media.

1. Allow movement for a more natural photo.

Instagram by @bonnietsang

Naturally, friends will want to pause what they're doing to let you take the picture. Instead, tell them not to worry and keep doing what they're doing. The picture will come out more natural-looking when there's movement.

2. A full table of food is a feast to the eye.

Instagram by @bonnietsang

"Please have everything come out at the same time." Visually, a full table of food is a feast to the eye. And your friends will only have to wait once for you to snap the picture.

3. Use different surfaces.

Instagram by @bonnietsang

When the tabletop at the restaurant isn't making a good background, try taking the dish to another surface, such as the floor or the bar. Note: I normally do that when the restaurant isn't busy - you don't want to bother other customers and the waitstaff. Also, if you choose the floor make sure you know the restaurant is clean.

4. Move things around.

Instagram by @bonnietsang

The best styling is when it doesn't look like it's been styled. Move things around to create different angles and heights.

5. Try close ups.

Instagram by @bonnietsang

Not all dishes look great from a wide angle. Try close ups to let the audience get a closer look.

6. Use a retouching app.

Image courtesy of Bonnie Tsang

To keep the integrity of a great photo, use a retouching app like TouchRetouch for a clean image.

7. Bring down the yellow tone.

Image courtesy of Bonnie Tsang

That dreaded fluorescent light when you eat out at night? Try using blue tone filters from image processing apps such as VSCOCam to bring down the yellow tone.