I’ve never Instagrammed my food before. I’m truly hopeless at cooking, so I wouldn’t know where to begin making a plate of food I made look Insta-worthy. I’m the type of person who needs about 50 photo options and three editing apps before qualifying a selfie as good enough to post.
But when HTC invited me to learn from a professional chef how to cook, plate and photograph a meal on the new HTC 10 smartphone, I decided to give it a shot.
While I was a bit tentative with the cooking part of things (How long are you supposed to grill asparagus? Should it be smoking that much?), I was pretty excited about getting it all on the plate.
Here’s what Toronto’s Chef Nikko taught me about creating that perfect Instagram shot:
Get Creative with Plating
When plating the food, don’t worry about having a steady hand – just go for it. You’re most likely not going to get it perfect on the first try, and cleaning up or adjusting is part of the process. Try creating volume and height for a really lavish looking dish.
Chef Nikko’s demo plate.
Find Good Light & Use Lots of Colour
Just like any good selfie, lighting is key. The major key. If you can find natural light, even better. You’ll also realize that it helps to play around with your angles to avoid a giant shadow hand over the plate. Along with good lighting, lots of colour is very important.
Pro tip: In order to make sure your veggies keep their vibrant colour, try blanching. By plunging them into boiling water for a minute or two, then quickly throwing them in some ice cold water, you can prevent them from turning brown.
My attempt at plating the strawberry and watermelon gazpacho.
Background & Composition
Don’t be afraid to get really close up. Play with the composition to get the food in focus or a blurred background. Your background can add a lot to a good shot and give a sense of the atmosphere and vibe of the meal.
My plate of stuffed chicken supreme.
One more thing: you don’t want to get yourself into an “Instagram vs. Real Life” situation. The last thing Chef Nikko wanted me to take away is that taste still comes first. He would never photograph a dish that he thought didn’t make the flavour cut.
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