What makes a photo perfect? Is it an aesthetically pleasing styling and array of colors on a quality photo? Or is it that the photo gets a ton of likes on social media? There isn’t one final answer but for the purpose of this guide, let’s assume that a perfect food in the air picture is one that gets a lot of likes while also being a quality photo.
If you’ve made it this far and aren’t sure what a food in the air photo is, don’t overthink it. It’s quite literally a piece of food or drink, being held in the air. Now that everyone’s phones are basically high quality cameras, this has lead to a rise in this type of photo. I’m guilty of taking a fair amount of them and since they tend to be well-received from my Instagram audience, I thought I’d share some best-practices with the rest of you!
For the sake of brevity, I’m going to keep this post to be strictly food that is in the air, not food with feet. While similar, the latter is a whole other beast so I’ll save that for a separate blog post.
Pick Decadent Food and Drinks
This first tip is easy: pick decadent food to put in the air. The more decadent the better. Dripping cheese, absurdly sugary toppings piled high, oversized food, unusual ingredients. The more eye catching the better.
Just make sure that it isn’t so crazy that you can’t hold it though. The last thing you want is to drop the food before you even get to dig into it!
Find Your Focus
Okay, this one seems obvious but you’d be surprised at the amount of photos I still see where the food is front and center (and blurry) but the camera is focusing on something in the background. Pay attention to where the camera is focusing and adjust accordingly. If you’re holding your food in one hand and your phone in the other, it can be hard to get your thumb up to the spot you want to tap to focus the camera. Use the side of the index finger to do it instead!
Choose Your Background Carefully
As the name suggests, food is the key element of a food in the air picture. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that the background doesn’t matter though! It might not be in focus but the background is a critical element of your food in the air photo.
Not sure where to start? Here are some options.
- Pick a background with colors that complement your food.
- Go scenic with either a city scape or a natural vista.
- Find a simple neutral background and keep the focus on your food.
Natural Light is Your Friend
When I take food photos at home, I can control just about everything about the lighting. When I’m taking food out in the real world however, that’s not the case. Even so, there are steps you can take to avoid common lighting pitfalls.
- Look for shade. Direct sunlight can cause shadows and be too harsh.
- Don’t face the camera directly in the sun. Remember when you parents told you not to look directly into the sun? The same rule applies to your camera.
- Whether you take your photo in the shade or in the sun, just make sure that your camera and all of the elements in your shot are both in the same type of light. When I took the lobster roll photo below, I was in the shade on a really sunny day. That makes it hard to edit in post-production and generally displeasing to the eyes.
Remember the Rule of Thirds
You know when you edit your Instagram photo and that grid appears? There’s a reason for that. When your photo is divided into three parts horizontally and three parts vertically, it creates four interest points that your eyes are naturally drawn to. Neat right?
Try to align your food subject so that it hits at least one of those points. You can also use the horizontal and vertical lines to help you line up elements in your photo, like the horizon. Not everything needs to be right in the center of your shot.
Don’t Ignore Your Nails
Just like the background of the photo is a key player, so is your hand that is holding your food in the air. Nothing distracts someone from a beautiful donut more than dirty nails or chipped nail polish. This may sound looney but I’ve heard of influencers carrying around nail polish in their bag just in case they need to paint a coat on their nails for a photo. I’m not suggesting you need to do that but keeping your nails trimmed and clean isn’t such a crazy suggestion, right?
Show Some Brand Love
If you’re taking food in the air pictures, you’re likely eating out. Take advantage of this and boost your awesome photo’s reach by tagging the restaurant behind that decadent creation. Bonus points if you can get the restaurant’s sign or a logo in the picture.
Ready to create some truly perfect food in the air pictures and rack up all the likes? Get to it! Don’t forget to tag me in your photos so I can see them.