Food is a certainty at the holidays — and on Instagram.
The photo social network is a prime place to share foodie snapshots any day of the week. We got an extra helping of dinner table pictures on Thursday, #HappyThanksgiving, and there are many more to come throughout the holidays. It starts with turkey and pumpkin pie and shifts right into Christmas cookies and holiday ham.
But there are pitfalls to #foodporn photography. Just ask Martha Stewart. Even the super hostess has made delicious look disgusting on social media.
For a little help, we turned to Melissa Oholendt, a Minneapolis lifestyle and wedding photographer whose work is often featured on the blog Wit & Delight. Here are her tips for snapping festive photos of food and decor.
Q: What makes a good picture of food or a table setting?
A: Natural light! I know with the sun setting by 5 p.m. that can be tough, but natural light is the best possible ingredient for a stunning Instagram photo. Set the table early and snag a photo before your guests arrive. Call it a practice round for the real thing.
Q: The best Thanksgiving (or holiday dinner) Instagrams show …
A: A beautiful table setting. A top-down view of the table and food. A perfectly crafted cocktail.
Q: The worst food pictures …
A: … are of food only.
Q: Help! So much Minnesota food is white, brown and yellow. Turkey, lefse, creamed corn. Not very colorful.
A: So true. Try bringing in a floral arrangement or even just a few sprigs of herbs into the frame to add a little visual interest. And if all else fails, omit the food and just focus on the beautiful table.
Q: Are there particular clichés to avoid?
A: It’s the holidays. The more cliché the better. Show me your football in the park and your turkey cooked to perfection; I want to see it.
Q: How about other do’s and don’ts?
A: If you miss your window of natural light, do light some candles and give into the warm candlit glow. Don’t make your guests wait to sit and eat while you take photos. Do try different angles — get low, get high, get to the side, etc. Don’t Instagram your half-eaten food. That’s gross.
Q: Any final holiday Instagram thoughts?
A: I love a great Instagram as much as the next person (in fact, maybe more), but if your only photo from Thanksgiving is a grainy photo of the people you love around a table filled with delicious but not particularly Instagrammable food? It’s a job well done. Cheers to you.