Hard core food nerds know that Instagram isn't actually about photography or being social. It's all about the food. We're snapping away every time we sit down to eat and can't stop salivating over each other's meals.
But as with all social media, it's time to pause and put down some ground rules. For the sake of all food photography loving Instagram-ers, check out (and make a reasonable effort to abide by) these ten guidelines for good food 'gramming.
10. Always shoot first Nine times out of ten, if you've taken your first bite of that sexy plate of food then the chance to post a photo said food on Instagram or any other social media is gone. Sure, you could reposition the plate and try to hide the evidence of your ravenous appetite, but if you were that hungry then forget it and just enjoy the meal.
9. No fast food -- ever
Why? Because no one gets excited about digging into a $5 carton of chicken nuggets. And if your food makes you sad then it's probably going to make us even sadder -- and spreading sadness through the social media world is only going to bring you bad karma.
8. No Starbucks
Don't get us wrong, we go to Starbucks sometimes - everyone does. Which is exactly the problem. Nothing about your Starbucks cup is any different from our Starbucks cup except for the name the barista scribbled on it. Sorry, but we don't really care if your friendly neighborhood barista added a smiley face on it this time.
7. Bad lighting, bad post
There's nothing quite as frustrating as having a gorgeous, oh-my-god-everyone-is-going-to-be-so-jealous meal that you can't get a good photo of because of crappy restaurant lighting. Unless you've got mad photo skills, using a flash isn't going to make the plate look any better and the distracting lights are only going to irritate everyone around you. Just skip it and revel in your own food awesomeness. Besides, that's why God invented Twitter.
6. Too many hashtags #make #everyone #hate #you Ok, so you posted a picture of your picks from the local farmers market...and then you hashtagged every single item in that eco-friendly reusable bag. Your laundry list of meaningless tags (i.e. #tomato, #zucchini, #farmer, #market, #farmersmarket, #Saturday, #bag, #vegetables...get the idea?) aren't serving a real purpose. Anyone searching for "#zucchini" probably wants an actual picture of zucchini. Why do you want random strangers to know what you bought at the market anyway?
5. DSLR is cheating
Posting photos taken with your fancy camera is like writing multiple drafts of a Facebook status, running it by an editor and then designing your own code to have it show up in a special font and color. In short: you're trying too hard. It's not cool. Do less.
4. No Internet photos If I wanted to see the first result from a Google image search for spaghetti (because today is International Spaghetti Day or because it's your favorite food or because whatever reason you though you needed a photo of spaghetti when no spaghetti is readily available to photograph), I would Google it.
3. Embrace the collage app
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You're sitting down for a six-course meal at a five star restaurant or your having a giant family style meal with more dishes than you can count on both hands. Great! But, please, rather than post a dozen separate photos that clog up everyone's feeds, use one of the many free apps that create collages. It's a classic win-win situation. Sacrifice none of your food porn and avoid looking like a total attention whore.
2. Mix it up! We love taking photos of food. We love looking at photos of food. But every once in a while even the biggest food nerds should consider looking up from our cookbooks and plates and ovens to admire the scenery and maybe even post a photo that's not at all related to food. If that's too crazy an idea to stand, how about sharing your latest kitchen gadget find or the view from your favorite seat at the local coffee shop? Providing it's a pretty view of course, or else, just...nevermind.
1. Thou shalt always caption thy photos Seriously, this is the golden rule. Because the easiest way to irritate your foodie followers is by posting a shot of some gorgeous chow with no indication of where such deliciousness can be obtained. It can and does drive us crazy as we stare at our phone screens, swallowed by a tidal wave of envy and hunger. The only thing worse in the world: Not responding when we comment asking, "Where?!"