By Marilyn La Jeunesse

Published on January 19, 2016

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Photography by @hungrybetches

If you’re one of the 400 million+ Instagram users, chances are you’ve shamelessly snapped a pic or two of your food before devouring it. But have you ever wondered why your picture of a red velvet cupcake doesn’t look nearly as appetizing as that food account you follow? There’s a reason. 

Michele Mansoor, the brains behind popular ‘foodstagram’ account @HUNGRYBETCHES, reveals to Domino her most valuable tips to taking a mouthwateringly good food photo.

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First and foremost, Mansoor stresses the good lighting is the key to a great photo.

“Natural lighting is always the best — not harsh sunlight, as that creates shadows that can actually end up being distracting,” she says. “A nice overcast or cloudy day actually is the best.”

If you’re at home trying to snap a photo of your homemade food creation, we suggest using the light reflecting off a nearby window. If all else fails, turn towards a trusted lamp for synthetic sunlight. 

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According to Mansoor, drippage can add another dimension to a food photo.

“Movement is always good, it shows the texture of the foods and how they blend together making it easier for people to ‘taste’ with their eyes,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!”

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“The more color, the better,” Mansoor reveals. “This one’s pretty self explanatory — the more color the food has naturally the easier it will be to get a great shot.”

If your food has more neutral tones, up the ante by placing the food on a stunning plate or decorative hand towel. 

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@HUNGRYBETCHES‘ creator says symmetry can sometimes be a vital part of taking the perfect ‘foodstagram.’

“There’s something so pleasing about looking at something symmetrical. Sandwiches and bagels have this going for them — I say always take advantage of both sides, don’t abandon the other half of the bagel. There’s beauty in the simplicity of symmetry!”

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“Take a bite,” Mansoor tells us. “This makes your photos come alive. Another great way to show your audience texture.”

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Next, the Instagram star tells us it’s totally okay (and sometimes necessary) to play with our food.

“You can turn something average into a fun hybrid food by getting creative on the spot,” she says. “For example, stick a cookie into your ice cream cone!”

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“I am a big fan of the break and stack — another great way to show texture,” Mansoor says. “Sometimes the ooey gooey-ness is hiding underneath. The best way to reveal what good things are going on inside is to break it open!”

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“Keep an eye out for foods with lots of intricacies and natural patterns,” Mansoor tells Domino. “Even just a slice of babka has enough layers and swirls to create a beautiful image. All you gotta do is hold it!”

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“Mix up the angle,” the ‘foodstagrammer’ says. “Take something flat with not a lot of natural depth and height and play with the way you hold it and tilt it. You can make something tiny look larger than life if you hold it right!”

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Lastly, Mansoor says people should have fun with their food and subsequent food photo. 

“The best example of that would be froyo! Get crazy, add wild toppings, come up with fun themes, and fill that cup high! Go with some friends and make a big giant froyo for everyone to share (perfect excuse for a photo like this).”

Don’t forget to decorate your creation with colorful utensils.