First of all, let’s start with the word INSTAGRAMMABLE and what it actually means. According to the urban dictionary the term is used to describe a picture that is worth posting/sharing on instagram. However, it raises a question: how do you measure ‘Worth’? There are 95 million photos and videos shared on Instagram daily (most likely this number has already increased) and only a small fraction of these go viral.
Certainly, knowing some statistics may be helpful. For example, did you know that PIZZA is the most widely Instagrammed food in the world (CURRY in the UK). Speaking of drinks pictures, Champagne takes the top spot. Knowing this may help you a little, however there must be other bits of information that could help your food and drinks pictures to stand out and encourage people to engage (like, share and comment). To understand this better, I asked some Food and Drink gurus (Ariane Resnick @chef_ariane, Morten Krag @thecocktail.blog and Matthias Soberon @servedbysoberon) on Instagram to share their top tips and tricks in helping to create that stunning shot that will get your audience to react instantly.
1. NATURAL LIGHT
With over 45k followers Morten Krag @thecocktail.blog definitely knows what gets people excited when it comes to instagrammable cocktail creations. He says that one of the key priorities in capturing a brilliant shot is natural lighting. ‘Whether one shoots with a camera or a smartphone, using natural lighting will achieve the best results for those instagrammable shots.’ If you want to improve your Drinkstagram game even further, @thecocktail.blog shares a pro tip: ‘Try to create a reflective surface. By using a white cardboard or t-shirt, or even a table with a surface that creates a reflection.’
2. BRIGHT COLOURS
There might be something comforting about earthy colours or lighter, sun-kissed tones, however when it comes to drawing attention and engagement, brighter food and drink colours are the ones which will get you results. I asked celebrity author, speaker and special diet chef Ariane Resnick @chef_ariane to share her top tips with us and according to her, the colours BLUE and PINK are the ones which seem to perform best. She also suggests picking a food or drink that has distinct elements. For instance, dishes like casseroles that are hard to discern tend to look muddy or blurry on pictures and may not get the desired attention. Speaking of drink colours, drinks expert Matthias Soberon @servedbysoberon with over 47k followers says that bright blue, pink, purple and green are the colours that work well in pictures. However, as Matthias mentions jokingly, ‘PLEASE don’t make every drink on your menu look like it walked straight out of an eighties movie’ – so as always, finding the right balance goes a long way.
One could compare garnishes to accessories – with a little creativity you can ‘style’ or set your dish/drink apart and give it a little personal touch. When it comes to Instagram, it does seem that pictures with more creative and exciting garnishes receive considerably more attention and engagement. However do not go crazy with the garnish game just yet, what @servedbysoberon points out is to make sure your garnishes are always fresh and vibrant. He also says that they should serve a REAL PURPOSE, therefore you should avoid items that are inedible, toxic or not aromatic. According to @thecocktail.blog, garnish can also be a great way to add some contrast to your pictures. For example, he says that serving an intense red/pink cosmopolitan, with a bright green lime garnish will attract lots of attention.
Let’s say you have found a perfect, naturally lit spot for shooting your food/drink pictures, you have nailed that desired colour and your garnish looks brilliant, what’s next? According to our Instagram pros the background and props can really improve the quality and atmosphere of the image. For example @thecocktail.blog says that blurred backgrounds with some lighting reflections will really draw the attention to the sharply captured cocktail, filling the frame. He also suggests playing around with props, for instance plants, flowers, even furniture can be a great way to add that extra emotional connection to the shot. However, food expert @chef_ariane points out that making sure your selected food or drink shot has a strong focal point in your image is something you shouldn’t forget about. She says ‘While you’d think this would automatically be the dish or drink, it can actually be anything–a fork, a napkin, etc. You just want something that captures the eye.’
Have you ever heard someone being photographed saying ‘this is my good side’? Even though finding a perfect angle to get that delicious food or drink picture may be easier than capturing a human’s face, it is definitely worth taking several different shots to be sure that you have more than one perspective to choose from. Think playing with different distances, angles and positions. @chef_ariane suggest trying multiple angles even when you know how you want the shot to look. You may be surprised how a slight move to the left or the right may affect the appearance of the image. @thecocktail.blog also highly encourages close-up shots because ‘These are brilliant when there are fine details in the food/drink or you are simply introducing a different perspective to your audience’.
This one may seem like a no brainer, however many times this is overlooked or decided on at the last minute. Make sure that the glassware and tableware complements the food/drink and does not steal the show or makes the food or drink less appealing. Speaking of glassware, @servedbysoberon suggests to take your time to look for something that fits your style of service. ‘Maybe a consistent style throughout the entire menu or specific glassware for specific drinks’. For inspirations he suggests having a look at The Gibson Bar and Nightjar in London. Funny enough, the best source of inspiration can be social media itself. Browsing Instagram or Pinterest can be a great way to figure out your likes and dislikes and see hundreds of different images in a short period of time. Just make sure you use this to get inspired while creating your own personal style rather than full on copy someone else’s.
You can take the most stunning pictures of your food and drink but if it does not taste delicious in real life, your customers will notice it. Whether you run a bar, a restaurant, a catering business or simply an enthusiastic home cook, it is important to remember why you got into sharing pictures in the first place, which is the absolute love of food/drinks. As @servedbysoberon says, ‘taste should be the ultimate goal and if you want people to remember your drinks/food and share them in their grids rather than their stories, they’ll need to walk out of your bar, restaurant or away from the event with a POSITIVE FEELING’. You don’t want to create images of food/drink which you cannot reproduce even on a slightly larger scale, or takes an unreasonable time to do so. Your audience will come to your page to get inspired themselves, and your biggest compliment will be when they try to recreate something that you shared. However, if the final product let’s them down, you will leave them with a bad memory and they will certainly feel cheated.
I certainly hope you will now feel much better equipped and prepared to take that ‘ultimate shot’ which will draw the deserved and desired attention to your product. Just don’t forget that a perfectly cooked steak or a subtly balanced Negroni feels and tastes much better than a few extra likes. And experience says that if you take special care while creating your dish/drink, using our experts’ tips, the perfect image will follow and it will definitely WOW your audience.
by Dovile Daugelaite
Special Thanks to
Ariane Resnick @chef_ariane
Morten Krag @thecocktail.blog
Matthias Soberon @servedbysoberon