5 tips to teach you how to take better food photos for Instagram Cloudy with a chance of wine Are you on Instagram? I am. (You can follow me HERE!) And while I thoroughly enjoy scrolling through my feed each morning (and afternoon and night) and seeing all of the fabulous photos other people take of themselves, their lives, their fashion choices, their makeup must-haves, and the delicious things they cook for dinner, I am the first to admit Instagram scares me. I’m serious! All of those gorgeous photos remind me that my life is boring, and that I am completely and utterly useless at capturing important moments on film. I just feel like I’m the only 30-something woman in the entire world who struggles to take interesting and captivating photos that tell a story, you know? But just when I was ready to pack it in and delete my Instagram account, the FABULOUS gal who is rebranding and redesigning my website (stay tuned!) reminded me how incredibly powerful Instagram can be for lifestyle bloggers like myself, gave me a few pointers on how to take better shots, and then challenged me to refocus my efforts and figure out how I can leverage this powerful tool to make it work for me and my new brand. My initial instinct was to stop blogging entirely, but my mother did NOT raise quitters, so I decided to take her up on her challenge and set aside a few afternoons to practice my photo-taking abilities. Now, I’m not going to lie to you. My first few photo shoots ended with me sobbing into my pillow, but once I figured out that Instagram is much more enjoyable when you focus on capturing things you’re passionate about, I learned to not only enjoy taking photos, but I also became kind of good at it. As you can see, I tend to focus on beauty and fashion photos as I find I never get tired of either of those things, but after seeing how much engagement food shots get on Instagram, I realized I will be selling myself short if I didn’t tie my love for food into my grid as well. So I’m challenging myself to learn how to take better food photos for Instagram, and since I know I’m not the only gal out there who struggles with the photography side of things, today I’m teaming up with the wondering folks from Sparkle® Paper Towels to share 5 of my best tips to date. 1. USE NATURAL LIGHT For a long time, I was taking photos on our kitchen table…at night. I figured as long as there was enough lighting in our kitchen, it wouldn’t matter what time of day I took my photos. I was wrong! As it turns out, unless you’re using a light box to take your photos, ALL of your shots should be taken in natural light. So I now take all of my photos on the floor of our kitchen between 11 am and 2 pm when the light from our patio is at it’s best. 2. THINK IN THIRDS I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate in an ambassadorship program for a well-known food brand last year, which was pretty cool, but after the initial excitement wore off and I discovered I had to include 3-4 high quality photos in each of my posts, I knew I was in trouble. So I started looking through food photos on Pinterest and discovered that all of the high-quality shots were off center, and after doing a little bit of research, I learned about an important principal of photography called the ‘rule of thirds’. The idea behind this concept is to breakdown your photos into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 small squares, and then place the objects you want to photograph where the vertical and horizontal lines intersect. The effect is a much more interesting photo. Give it a try! 3. EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT ANGLES I used to take all of my photos head-on, but recently started playing around with different camera angles in an effort to determine what works best for me, my style, and the environment I take my photos in. I personally prefer standing on a stool or chair so I can angle my camera directly above whatever I’m photographing as I find it results in a cleaner look, but when I’m using my DSLR camera, I often find a 45-degree angle works well. 4. USE EDITING APPS There are HEAPS of editing apps and filters out there, and when it comes to making your photos look amazing, it all comes down to personal preference. I prefer to stay away from pre-defined filters, and instead play around with the exposure, contrast, and saturation until I get the colors and shadows of my photos just right. It took some getting used to at first, but it’s amazing how much a photo can come to life with a few small alterations! 5. GET CREATIVE WITH BACKGROUNDS When I initially started to tackle the wonderful world of Instagram, I went out and bought a bunch of white poster boards, and while a white background can be great for some photos, I soon learned it can become really boring and repetitive. So I recently started experimenting with different patterns and textures, and I am amazed at what a difference the right background can make in bringing a photo to life. And guess what? You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on marble slabs, granite countertops, or fancy table linens to get the perfect background. In fact, some of the best props are often right in front of your eyes. Take this roll of new Sparkle® Spirited Prints paper towels, for example. On its own, it looks like nothing more than a roll of fancy kitchen towels, but in actuality, the different patterns and colors can create a powerful background for fabulous Instagram photos. Pretty cool, right? There are so many fun and different prints available which can give the illusion of different table cloths or place settings, and I love that I can find just the right style for my individual mood without having to iron linens or worry about food spills. As you can see, my favorite of the new Sparkle® Spirited Prints paper towel is ‘Nature’s Trail’. I love how simplistic it is, I like the color combination, and as you can see in the photos above, it matches our dishes perfectly! Who knew such a simple household item could help create such great Instagram shots? Just Right Style. Let me know in the comments below if you have any additional tips for taking better food photos for Instagram, and which of the new Sparkle® Spirited Prints paper towel designs is your favorite! If you liked these tips to teach you how to take better food photos for Instagram, please share them on Pinterest! You don’t wear the same thing every day. Why should your home? See all 17 Sparkle® Spirited Prints designs at http://www.sparkletowels.com/products/spirited-prints. This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Georgia Pacific. The opinions and text are all mine. This is an excerpt from the article 5 tips to teach you how to take better food photos for Instagram which originally appeared on http://www.cloudywithachanceofwine.com/.