Photo: Konstantin Trubavin/Corbis
Photo: Konstantin Trubavin/Corbis

Take it from the right angle. Use a variety of different-colored foods. Choose the right filter. Use the rule of third. And don’t forget the allow plenty of natural lights.

These are some of the keys to taking great Instagram food photos, according professional photographer Denis Yaux.

Whether you love sharing what you eat on Instagram, or like smirking at those who do, foodstagramming isn’t going anywhere soon. The good news is, Instagraming your food can make you feel like the food tastes better. More bangs for the buck.

That’s according to a study published in Journal of Consumer Marketing that showed taking photos of your plate before eating it “increases the savoring associated with consumption of pleasurable foods.”

The study gave 120 participants red velvet cake and split them into two groups. One group was told to take photos of their cakes before eating, and the other group was told to dig in right away.

Interestingly, the group that took pictures of the red velvet cake later reported it to be tastier than the group that didn’t take any photos.

Taking pictures of a red velvet cake increased its perceived tastiest. Photo: Ton Tip / Flickr
Taking pictures of a red velvet cake increased its perceived tastiest. Photo: Ton Tip / Flickr

However, this effect was only observed in some foods. When the researchers tried again with “less indulgent” foods such as a healthy fruit salad, taking a photo did not increase perceived tastiness.

What’s happening here? It all has do with delayed satisfaction. The Science of Us explains it like this:

“Food photography ultimately boils down to the same process: You’re interacting with what’s on you plate. There are camera angles, lighting, composition, and the placement of forks and knives to consider.

All of this takes time and puts off any actual eating that might otherwise be happening, building anticipation for what’s to come. When you do eventually go to take that first bite, the experience ends up tasting that much sweeter.”

The increased anticipation built up from taking photos of the cake made it taste better. The fruit salad didn’t get a boost from the anticipation likely because no one looks forward to eating one.

This link between food satisfaction and photography may explain why some seem “addicted” to the ritual of taking photos of their foods. For them, the increased anticipation from the pictures and the actual consumption are inseparable experiences.

If they don’t take a photo, they feel something is missing from the experience.

It’s no wonder why many restaurants encourage their costumers to Instagram their foods. Not only do they get increased awareness on social media, their foods magically end up tasting better!

In fact, the study goes as far as recommending this:

“The findings provide insight into the effects of consumers taking pictures of their food before consumption, a growing trend on social media sites (i.e. Instagram). Marketing managers can develop strategies to encourage their consumers to take pictures of their food.”

It might be frustrating to know that those who walk their $15 pancake outside to get a good photo may be enjoying their foods more, but don’t knock foodstagramming before you try it.

If you can’t make them go away, might as well join them.