Instagram Food Photograph Tips

Jackie Gebel, the photographer and restaurant-goer behind @noleftovers shares her best photo tricks

If anyone's a pro when it comes to snapping pics of a great meal, it's mega influencer and food photographer Jackie Gebel, the woman behind Instagram's @noleftovers. From lighting and staging to the perfect photo edit, Gebel has learned a lot from her vast experience dining out and cooking at home—and sharing her meals with her nearly 300,000 followers. 

Although the Instagram community is dominated by iPhone photos, Fujifilm's new Instax SQUARE SQ10 is the hybrid instant film and digital camera that takes things to the next level, making sharing photography on social a lot easier and way more fun. With technology that allows you to edit on an LED screen, add creative filters and print out your square photos on the spot, the new instax is every Instagrammer's dream tool.

Ready to get started? Gebel shares her best tips for capturing great food shots on the new Instax SQUARE camera and beyond.


"Lighting is the most important aspect of photography," Gebel says. "Natural light is always best, so try to position your shot near a window or outside, but out of direct sunlight. Avoid using built–in flash, and if more light is needed, use another cell phone's flashlight to add brightness."


"Play around with different angles and positions," Gebel says. "Some dishes, like pizzas and grain bowls, may look better from above; some, like burgers and drinks, are most interesting from a 90-degree angle. If using an alternate perspective, make sure your proportions don't get distorted. Understand your subject and experiment with different points of view."

The Rule of Thirds

"Imagine that your frame is divided into an evenly spaced square grid; I like to visualize an overlay of nine perfect three-by-three-inch squares," Gebel says. "Shoot your subject so that it falls [within] those intersecting lines. This will help balance out your composition, making the photo more appealing to the eye." This tip is especially helpful when shooting with the Instax SQ10.

Backgrounds and Props

"Backgrounds and props can be just as important as the main subject," Gebel says. "Minimize clutter and make sure that utensils, napkins and other things in your shot are clean and clutter free. Hands and accessories can add a natural look and feel, but try and avoid over–staged positioning."

Focus, Stabilization, Zoom, Sense of Depth

"Make sure your camera lens is clean and your subject is properly in focus," Gebel says. "If you hold down your shutter button halfway—tap the screen on a phone, or check out the screen on the Instax SQ10—most cameras will automatically focus themselves. Make sure everything fits in your frame: Step back, crouch down or zoom out so that nothing gets cut off."

Personality and Fun

Give your photography some personality and get creative with your style. Filters are a great way to give your photography a consistent and uniform aesthetic; for food photography, Gebel believes that no filter is best. Play around with other tools, like contrast and saturation, to make adjustments to your photos.