5 Actionable Strategies for a Stress-Free Food Instagram Feed
The one with Instagram is a hate-love relationship.
Most often we love it, but is fair to also hate the platform at times.
Infact, if you want to stand out from the noise of the Food Instagram world, it’s no longer enough to take beautiful photos.
You have to take beautiful photos, create heartfelt captions, be extremely consistent, craft a beautiful feed that’s cohesive and, if all this wasn’t enough already, learn to communicate your brand clearly and efficiently (plus tonnes of laundry are still waiting in my basment).
In short you are becoming a photographer, editor, marketing expert, writer and PR.
No wonder so many people feel overwhelmed and stressed about keeping up with Instagram.
Cooking, styling and shooting takes tonnes of time and effort.
And sharing your work at the beginning (like the first 30 years!!) can be daunting.
So today I share with you my 5 startegies that ease my work on Instagram. And that I believe can help you create the first steps to a perfect feed for food photography.
Anybody at any stage of their photography can and should apply these strategies!
Of course this is what I discovered with my work.
Out there there will be more strategies and experiences that are super valuable. Here I share what helped me directly and I can be 100% sure that works because I have tested them on the way.
STRATEGY N. 1
Simplify to amplify.
A few months ago I heard this quote above and I believe it’s GOLD!
“Simplify to Amplify”.
”Marikondo” your Instagram babe!!
The key is to keep it simple. Declutter your food photography from stressful attempts, strange prospectives and tonnes of frustration.
Concentrate on what already works well for you and your Instagram feed.
And focus on making it glow!
What you need to do.
Understand your photography strenghts. What are you best at? Be super honest and clear on this one.
Identify which photos your audience appreciate the most. Do they prefer flat lay or vertical shots? Do they like to see lucious celebration cakes or skinny gluten free tacos ? Choose the top 3.
Rinse and repeat these types of photos.
They will never look or be the same anyway don’t worry. Just take a look at the two shots below. They’re exactly the same concept, same strategy! And it’s even always cake!
My audience never fails get crazy over these stylings and my cakes. Repetition in fact is key for consistent communication.
Besides, I love these shots myself! And repeating them, I’m becoming PRO at this specific styling.
STRATEGY N. 2
PLAN PLAN PLAN AHEAD YOUR FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
I constantly needing to juggle family/ work/ Instagram/ and my life.
Who can relate?
To prevent stress for me is crucial to plan my schedule ahead of time.
Sometime, to just spend 10 minutes on my diary organizing the next day is enough to create a work flow that is 3 times more efficient.
So here I ask you to do the same. Spend 10 minutes the night before to think ahead and plan the food photgraphy for your feed.
EXTRA TIP: Also plan what time you’ll start and what time you’ll need to be finished. Write it down in your diary!
What you need to do:
On PINTEREST look for a small number of shots that you’d like to re-create for your recipe. Choose photos that you truly love and are achievable.
Create a secret board and select 3-to max 5 photographs that will guide your shooting.
The day after, when you are ready to take your photos, look at the shots you have chosen first. These are references for light, composition and mood. You should’t attempt to copy them but they must work as inspiration and are a visual guide for structuring your shooting.
When the evening before I plan what I’ll shoot is easier to be creative when is time to take my photos.
Because I don’t have to wonder what the heck I’m gonna do, which shots, props backdrop or light I want. Is all there already in my secret board ( or in a desktop folder if you prefer).
In this way I can focus on making my food photography extra pretty!
So refreshing isn’t it?
STRATEGY N. 3
CREATE A FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY BANK
Sometimes we need to work just smart and leave the extra creativity for an other day.
For me having a buffer of shots is vital to be consistent on Instagram in the long run.
There is nothing as useful as creating your “bank” of food photos that you can “withdraw” when you don’t have time or you are stuck with your creativity.
I also advise to never get into the habit of shooting everyday for immediate share on your Instagram feed. In the long run it will only result into constantly chasing your own tail.
In fact when you start having a lot of work, shooting for the same day post can become a recipe for disaster, will rise stress and lower your achievements. If this is how you work at the moment, you need to stop ASAP.
How to create a food photography bank for Instagram:
Choose and create a styling that you like on a selected backdrop. This can be a subject you are already confident with.
Move the exact same styling on an other backdrop and shoot it again on this new surface. Maybe add a new prop and take away another that doesn’t match anymore. ALWAYS look for these kind of tiny details.
If you can, try to make this new shot closer or wider to keep your Instagram feed dynamic.
To make yet another shot, cut a slice out or a bite. Shoot the same recipe again, this time half eaten. Keep it pretty. Lets us dream about how delicious your food was!
STRATEGY N. 4
HOW TO TAKE 4 FOOD FLAT LAY OUT OF the EXACT SAME STYLING
Yes up to 4, no joke. Don’t even bother changing the backdrop.
Styling a photo is time consuming and if you are a beginner can be intense. At least it was for me!
As beginner, when I finally nailed a vision for the perfect Instagrammable shot, it was like a big alleluia!!
And all I wanted was to shoot that styling again and again to celebrate my acheivement. Soon enough I realised I could also create different photos out of it, and save time.
So after a lot of sweat and tears now is time to make the most of that beautiful food styling of yours too.
To do so follow these steps:
Arrange a styling for your recipe on a selected backdrop.
When you are happy with your work take one shot with your dish not completely finished.
Take a second shot with the final dish, this time fully decorated.
Finally, take one close up of the main subject. See the images below as reference.
Repeat the close up but move to a 45° degrees shot. This is technically not a flat lay and can be a PRO shot for some people. But it comes “for free” from the exact same styling and will give that boost to your feed with a this dynamic 45° view.
In this process you don’t even need to move a needle in your styling! You can have your camera on a stand and just keep shooting.
Amico you are done!! 4 Instagram posts DONE!
Now that you have at least 3 to 4 Instagram-worth food shots, post these photos far from each other on your feed. They will create a nice recurrent theme to craft YOUR dream cohesive Instagram feed !
To better understand my process look at this recipe . Can you see how many options I took of the same stylings?
(This is a little more advanced strategy. If you feel is too overwelming, leave it for now. It’s just good to know these tricks for the future).
STRATEGY N. 5
DELEGATE YOUR WORK! YAY!! ( TO A FREE APP)
There few app out there that can help to organise your feed ahead of time. They are super useful and once you get the hang of them is so much easier to post on Instagram.
Personally I use:
WhenToPost ( to know what are the best time to post during the day and the week)
Planoly. ( it allows to plan your grid and also to share automatically the posts to your feed, plus metrics).
I use the free version for both. WhenToPost in my opinion is not so brilliant but helped me to strategically create my Instagram daily calendar for posting without stressful guessing.
I love Planoly pretty layout and apparently it’s also starting a brand new app for the stories. I cannot wait!
Some other apps are: Later, Plann, Preview. Personally I believe they are all pretty much the same.
You only need to choose the one that suits you best! I don’t feel precious about my app choices and instead I urge you to test for yourself which one meets your personal needs.
To make the most of the posting apps, have a few photos ready.
My personal advise is to start with 9 photos.
Play with the app to mix and match your photos so your feed appears dynamic and cohesive.
Once you are happy add the relevant hashtags on each photo and save.
You can take some time later to craft the captions but now all the bricks and mortar are in place = you are now stress freed!
Done amico! You did it!! ( I know you friends say amigo but I‘m Italian and we say amico!)
Of course nobody is expecting you to follow these 5 Strategies all at once.
Start with the one that reasonate the most, and then build up.
And remember that the people that seems to manage all-things -Instagram effortlessly, often have years and years of experience and hard work behind them!
So don’t worry, you’ll get there! Promise!
Now, comment here below and let me know what of this article was useful for you! What strategy you already use that makes a positive impact on your relationship with Instagram?