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Tasteful Snaps: Growing Business with Food Photography

food photography in social media marketing blog

Don't sweat that small social media budget. With a little time, knowledge, and creativity, you can snap food pics worth sinking your teeth into.

Thanks to full-page food spreads and massive, mouthwatering billboards, our world is inundated by amazing food photography. Sure, it gives us lots of tasty things to look at (and usually gets our stomachs rumbling well before lunch). But if you’re a small business owner in the food industry, it can be incredibly intimidating — especially when being relevant often means shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for only a handful of photos.

Don’t get me wrong. Studio quality photography is always your best option for professional ad work and website content. However, it’s not always feasible to run a full production for every photo you need — especially when it comes to social media. If your business can’t afford an agency, being able to produce quality content in-house becomes a must for getting noticed.

The Key Ingredients

While there’s an unlimited list of elements you can play with to influence the success of your photos, certain factors should always be top of mind. Here’s a list of my own top four considerations and how I use them to optimize visual appeal.


If you do nothing else to your photos, make sure you optimize lighting. Bright, white-balanced pictures pop on screen, helping to enhance the natural colors and details in the food. Additionally, if you’re sharing on social, a well-lit photo will stand out better in-feed on lower lit mobile devices, helping to grab the attention of your followers and other users exploring hashtags.

For best results, situate your food setup near a well-lit window on a sunny day. The key is to avoid harsh, direct sun and instead aim for that soft, early afternoon or late morning glow.

Photo by Edgar Castrejon


People may not be able to smell the deliciousness in our photos, but they still associate brightly colored foods with freshness and quality — both of which can help entice appetites and stimulate a purchase.

Rather than shoot dull, desaturated pictures, be sure that your photos are rich with color to make them eye-catching and mouth-watering on busy newsfeeds. You can easily bump up saturation using free phone apps, but keep in mind, if the color isn’t there to begin with, the app won’t do much. So, always work natural colors in as much as possible. (NOTE: Lighting will also have a big effect on your photo’s color saturation range, so make it lit!)

Photo by Edgar Castrejon


When it comes to social, no one likes repetition — especially when this is the sixth “overhead table shot” you’ve posted this month. Attract and maintain followers with content that stimulates both the appetite and the eye. If you want to liven things up, experiment with new angles and complementary elements to make each photo unique. This will keep your audience engaged and eager for more.

Photo by Pablo Merchan Montes


One way to add new dimension to your photos is to play with different textures within the composition, especially when you feel like your content is getting stale and predictable. Throwing in new food or inedible elements that create interesting contrasts can inject your content with an appealing visual freshness.

Photo by Monika Grabkowska

Useful Mobile Apps 

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom, available in both paid and free forms for iOS, offers a wide selection of photo editing tools right at your fingertips. You can import photos straight into the app, manipulate lighting, color, cropping and saturation, and export directly to your social media app of choice.


Much like Lightroom, the VSCO app delivers a slew of photo editing features for free, while also providing additional preset filters for quick use. Unlike Instagram’s overused and often obvious preset filters that ruin photos more than they enhance them, VSCO’s filters are made for a more authentic, natural look that enhances the photo rather than distorts it.


Every now and then, you might need content with more than just a pretty picture. Maybe you want to turn that nice table spread into a shareable Facebook graphic? Or maybe you want to update your Instagram followers with a yum-inducing new menu post? Either way, Canva is a fantastic free app with quick and easy-to-use tools so you can graphic design on the fly.

Ready, Set, Snap

Key takeaway? You don’t need state-of-the-art photography gear or a Hollywood blockbuster budget to get quality content for your business’ social media. Simply pair a little confidence with a touch of know-how and voila! You’ll be tempting tummies in no time. Now, break out your favorite camera or smartphone, and get to snapping!