Want to be an Instagram Food Star? 9 Secrets You Need to Know

You'll want to get your nails done, and never ever use the flash.

It's no surprise that Instagram is having a huge impact on the way we look at food—literally. On the one hand, it's just a visually appealing platform that puts a strong emphasis on beautifully plated dishes; but on the other hand, Instagram seems to inspire a lot of hate. Recent months have seen articles that actually compared food Instagrammers and bloggers to the spawn of the devil. Harsh. We Instagrammers are just taking pictures of bagels in the air, man. Still, the majority of us “foodstagrammers” take our mission very seriously. We’re not saving lives here, but we do help people find delicious food. And we thought you might like to know exactly what goes into getting that perfect yolkporn pool or that cheesy pizza string that dangles perfectly off the plate, begging to be bitten. Here, 9 secrets to killing it on Instagram:

1.  Don't Eat That!

Average time we spend taking photos before actually eating: 6 minutes. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but next time you get your food at a restaurant, let it sit there for that amount of time before touching it. Feels like an eternity. Photo: @gothamburgersocialclub 

2.  Never Ever Use the Flash

Natural lighting makes for the best photos. Don't even think about using the flash. We use the flashlight app if it’s dark. And we hate it. Someone will hold the light up over the food while you take a pic, and then you switch. That is the proper Instagram etiquette. Photo: @skinnypignyc

3.  Don't be Afraid to Sit in Awkward Positions

We will ask to move tables to be closer to a window, or pick up our food and walk somewhere else in the restaurant with better lighting. When you see a girl sitting on a hot radiator with one leg up, balancing a plate of fries on her knee while she takes a pic, you can assume she’s an Instagrammer. Photo: @skinnypignyc

4.  Learn the Special Language

We have our own language. Here are some Instagram terms you may overhear:

  1. “Let’s take this outside." What used to mean “let’s brawl in the street”, now means “let’s hold this burger in the street”. Natural lighting is everything.
  2. “How are your nails?" If your nails aren’t in good shape, you are not holding my sandwich. When was the last time you saw one of us holding a bagel with chipped polish? 
  3. “Light me.” This means “hold a light over my food, it’s too damn dark in here”.
  4. “Bang Bang Brunch." Get your mind out of the gutter. This is two brunches, at two restaurants, back to back. This happens with lunches and dinners too.   
  5. “Instaception.” This is when you take a pic of someone’s phone screen while they’re taking a pic of food. Photo: @mollytavoletti

5.  Practice Standing on Chairs

We sometimes stand on chairs for a great overhead shot. We’ll also rearrange the plates three times, and ask the restaurants to put the lights up a little. Not everyone goes this far, mind you, but you know you’ve seen it. And you've probably prayed we would fall off that chair. Photo: @ccbymwilliams

6.  Keep a Stash of Hashtags and Captions

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Some people actually write down a list of captions and just pluck one out when they need one. We also usually keep a log of relevant hashtags to copy and paste into each post, only in the comments section, of course. Photo: @brunchboys

7.  Know Where to Shoot, and Where Not to

Some restaurants will make separate dishes simply for photos. If there’s an event going on, what will likely happen is that people will float in and out, eating as they go, and messing up any beautiful presentation the chef has done. So the kitchen will make separate plates for photographing, and some restaurants even have a special spot for picture-taking. Photo: @skinnypignyc

8.  Don't Use Instagram Filters

We don’t use filters, and some people actually use real cameras instead of cell phones. Obviously not speaking for everyone here, but the majority of us rarely use Instagram filters. It's all about natural light. We’ll play with the brightness, contrast and saturation in Insta or Snapseed, and sometimes we get crazy and throw in some vignette or a tilt shift. Some of us have debated naming our future child Valencia just for fun, though. Photo: @cheatdayeats

9.  Be a Good Party-Crasher

Average event/lunch/dinner invites an Instagrammer gets per week: 10. How many we end up going to: 12. Seriously. It’s a very small world once you’re in it, and you will get invited to many things as the week rolls on. Trust us, we’re not complaining…until our pants stop fitting.

Photo: @skinnypignyc

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