02nd February 2021

Industry secrets to the perfect Instagram #foodie shot revealed


An online community for photographers has revealed the photography secrets bloggers and influencers use to capture the perfect foodie shot. From using motor oil instead of syrup on pancakes to makeup sponges in burgers, this guide shares the weird and the wonderful, in response to the growing trend of people cooking their way through the pandemic. The Google search term ‘food photography’ peaked to its highest in April 2020 and has stayed popular going into 2021 and the hashtag ‘#food’ has been used on 426 million posts, demonstrating how popular food content is on social media.


An online platform and community dedicated to photographers has revealed a list of the top 10 photography secrets food influencers and bloggers use to capture the perfect shot for social media. 


According to Google search data, the term ‘food photography’ peaked during April 2020 and has stayed popular ever since. Searches for the lockdown food trend ‘banana bread’ also peaked in April, with the hashtag ‘#bananabread’ used on 1.7 million posts on Instagram and accounting for 178.4 million views on Tiktok. As a whole, the simple hashtag ‘#food’ has been used on 426 million Instagram posts and ‘#foodphotography’ has been used on a total of 71.1 million posts. Additionally, it was discovered that people have also been looking for advice on food photography, with searches for ‘best apps for food photography 2020’ rising by over 5000% in the last 12 months.


The company behind the research, Shotkit, consulted with professional photographers to gain insight on the most popular industry secrets and discovered tricks such as using tampons for steam and mashed potato as ice cream


The top five food tricks are:


  • Using motor oil as syrup  - motor oil can be used as a substitute for syrup on pancakes or desserts as it doesn’t soak into the food meaning there is more time to photograph the food whilst the ‘syrup’ is still looking delicious. 


  • Using PVA glue instead of milk - use a liquid white glue, such as PVA, instead of milk when photographing cereal, so that the cereal doesn't get soggy.


  • Using a tampon to create steam - typically, food will have been sitting out for hours before being photographed, so will look cold. If photographers are looking to give the illusion of steam coming from the food they can soak and microwave a tampon or cotton balls, to place behind the food. 


  • Hair spraying vegetables - to give vegetables a glossy more aesthetically pleasing finish, spray them with hair spray!


  • Adding make-up sponges to burgers - it doesn’t necessarily have to be a make-up sponge, but anything that adds height is often used in burgers to give them a taller, fuller look. 


The full list of the food photography tips can be seen here: 


Shotkit is the home of photography tutorials, inspiration and unbiased gear reviews. It has become a valuable resource and an amazing community for the 10,000+ photographers interacting with the platform daily.


Martin Stevens of Shotkit said, 


“This year is difficult for everyone, we want to help our community as much as possible by sharing expertise with our community. After having an increase in food photography related queries we thought we’d utilise the platform we have to create a fun, easy to follow guide.


“We hope this guide will help some people get the most out of their new hobby or career! We have an abundance of other resources online too, so whatever type of photography you are interested in, I’m confident we can help.”

Subscribe to RoxStars

RoxStars is brought to you by Roxhill Media