Social media has an insatiable appetite for food content, so bring out the good stuff.

illustration by Ron Lent, Creative Director

written by emily van tassel, Associate Creative Director

We’re human. We have to eat. It’s nothing new.

But food is more than a means to meet a basic biological need. We enjoy eating, we enjoy cooking, food brings us together — and our food choices become a part of our identity. “I’m vegan.” — “I’m strictly Paleo.” — “I consider myself a volumetric macrobiotic flexitarian.” Food doesn’t just give life, it’s a way of life.

Not only are we all becoming foodies, we’re becoming food photographers. When was the last time you had dinner with friends without someone sharing a snap of their meal? Everyone has a camera in their pocket and no one can help themselves.

Naturally, food brands can’t help themselves either. With fast-motion how-to videos, recipe pins, celebrity chef collaborations and mail order meal kits — the internet is exploding with food-related marketing.

But making appetizing food photography can be a tricky thing. Gone are the days of elaborate hors d’oeuvres and Jell-O molds and perfectly arranged platters of cocktail shrimp. Consumers want their food to look like, well, food. Fake ice cream may be easier to photograph, but it doesn’t have that little bit of melt that makes it irresistible. Store-bought cookies may all be perfectly round, but they lack the appetite appeal of a homemade batch fresh from the oven.

So food marketing has become more challenging. Luckily, we know what works. Marketers that find themselves behind the camera for daring to foray into the world of social foodies can benefit from considering a few key tips as they develop their marketing programs. Or even when they’re snapping their next meal at Olmstead.


Show foods in their best light, which is almost always the light of their natural environment. Shoot pancakes near a window in the morning and your photo will feel like breakfast time. Illuminate a cocktail with the twinkling lights behind the bar.


Shoot from the angle that makes the dish look its best. A bowl of soup from the side isn’t that interesting, but a slice of layer cake is. Position the camera to face the food the way you look at it when you are about to dig in.


Food should look like food; a little mess is best. Avoid extraneous garnish (looking at you, parsley!). Place a strawberry, not a mint leaf, next to a slice of strawberry pie.


A little human element, such as a hand, can lend a lot of warmth and context to a piece of content. A photo of a banana split becomes a story when you see two hands, one large and one small, squeezing chocolate syrup on top together.


Think about when your followers are going to see your creation. No one wants to see last night’s dinner in their feed at 7:15am, but your cappuccino? Like.

With a little simple, natural, human touch, your good stuff will look its best in the feeds.

Go on, do it for the ’gram.


Today’s consumers are craving food and beverage content like never before. In an age where everyone’s a content creator, brands can easily join and make the conversation more appetizing — as long as they follow the rules of good taste.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.