Last year, I had the privilege of interviewing 28 of the top educators and creators in the food photography industry for the Master The Art of Food Photography Summit. Among them include some of the best tips for food photographers to stand out on Instagram and grow a huge fan base for your food photography.
6 Best Tips For Photographers To Stand Out On Instagram
Table of contents
- 6 Best Tips For Photographers To Stand Out On Instagram
- Tip 1: Using Color Theory In Photography For Your Instagram Feed
- Tip 2: Inject some personality with your captions and show your face on the Instagram grid
- Tip 3: Use a mix of Call-To-Action and personal stories on Instagram to engage with your followers on a personal level
- Tip 4: Carve out a niche for yourself on Instagram
- Tip 5: Use Instagram Live To Your Advantage
- Tip 6: Have a huge amount of quality content to stand out of the crowd
Tip 1: Using Color Theory In Photography For Your Instagram Feed
Although food photography is pretty saturated on Instagram, there are still plenty of ways you can stand out and be noticed.One of the key things to think about can also tie that to how we think about our food photography, which is color theory.
For example, in the process of a photo shoot, as you put everything together and especially with food styling and constructing a dish, you have to think about how all the different colors fit together with the color wheel. You can approach it in the same way with your Instagram feed.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
-How does everything fit together?
-Is there a way for me to color coordinate my Instagram feed through my food photography?
All this starts with understanding what sort of foods you shoot the colors in there. It's connected to the backdrops that you choose, as well as your editing in that you make sure you have a consistent tone such as a red thread that runs through your Instagram. Doing so makes a really strong statement that gives that kind of like that cohesion that is always great to help you stand out in a crowded market.
Tip 2: Inject some personality with your captions and show your face on the Instagram grid
There's something about injecting your heart into your feed such as a personality which is something unique to you that is not just in your images, also in your captions.
Just by describing your recipe as the caption on Instagram does not pull people in as much unless you're like a recipe machine and you're producing three or four recipes a day.
Do more of the things that are successful. For instance,if you notice that baking is really trending and getting you more likes and followers. Continue along those lines and do more of what gets you ahead of the competition. While you work hard to grow your Instagram following, remember that it's very normal for your food images such as a stack of brownies to not perform as good as you would expect.
Finally, being present in your feed by showing your face on your Instagram feed makes it come alive. Your Instagram feed is not just a set of great food images as anyone could get a food magazine if they just wanted to see food photos. That is why having a person there is another way that you can stand out as a food photographer on Instagram as doing so just gives your grid a little bit of personality.
If you’re anything like Kimberly or me, we are happy to stay behind the camera, but every time I’ve posted a photo of myself or my family on my feed, it’s always gotten great engagement, but more importantly, it helps to connect me to my followers and create that strong sense of community I crave.
|One of the biggest reasons why I created the Master the Art of Food Photography Summit was to create and unite food photographers from around the world and to create a tight-knit community that supports and encourages each other to pursue their passion for food photography. Find out more about the event below.|
Tip 3: Use a mix of Call-To-Action and personal stories on Instagram to engage with your followers on a personal level
Having a mix of personal stories as well as captions that have a call-to-action is a good way to get noticed on Instagram. It also really depends on the audience that you've cultivated.
Kimberly shares her love of communicating with her audience by sending lots of heart emojis, showing her personality. The bottom line is to be true to how you would love to communicate with your audience. Alternatively, some food bloggers would prefer to just share dark, moody or light and bright food images and get a lot of engagement. Both approaches tend to work well, as it is really all about what you want to do with your Instagram feed.
Similar to how it took you some practice when you first picked up your camera, it’s the same process when it comes to writing engaging Instagram captions. Just like photography, so many of us are really scared to get our food images “wrong” and thus have the same fear with our Instagram.
Ultimately, be persistent in your efforts of growing your Instagram following by letting go of the need to be perfect. Some food bloggers or photographers have an overly curated Instagram feed which thus lacks personality which will hurt their engagement with their audience.
Tip 4: Carve out a niche for yourself on Instagram
Another great way to stand out on Instagram as a food photographer is by carving out a niche for yourself. For instance, if you're going to do vegan baking or focus solely on baking bread, do that so that your audience knows what your zone of genius is.
Next, you can also think a step further about why you would like to get noticed on Instagram and gain followers. Of course, having a thriving Instagram account feels great, but ultimately your income is tied to your success on Instagram. In fact, spending some time thinking about having a really clear niche makes it so much easier for brands to work with you.
For example, an almond milk brand is more likely to work with food bloggers with Instagram grids that feature vegan recipes. Or Vitamix is more likely to work with bloggers that occupy the health and wellness niche. The more defined your niche is, the easier it is for brands to identify whether your audience overlaps with theirs. That’s why it makes a lot of business sense to carve out a niche and claim your territory on Instagram.
So, how exactly do you go about finding your niche?
Kimberly recommends that you, in the beginning, try everything to figure out what you like! From focusing on just posting baked goods recipes and content to having all savory posts, there are no rules.
There are two things that you can use as your barometer to gauge how well a niche serves you and your audience.
The first is your audience's response. If you see that when you do quick and easy weekly meals, that time and time again outperform your other content such as salads and smoothies for example, then you know that's the route that your audience is asking you to go down.
The other barometer that you can use is by observing what you enjoy doing the most. This is because if you enjoy doing something, your audience will too! It also works the other way round, as people will leave if they do not like your new direction which paves the way for your new audience to be attracted to the new content you’ve cultivated.
If you're creating regular content of minimum 6 to 10 posts on Instagram a week and you're a homesteader, you will want to share all about homesteading and other seasonal eating ideas. You can then post a picture of you and your outfit of the day amongst those 10 photos to give your grid a little bit of variety.
As long as 90% of what you're doing is within your chosen niche, having one or two things that kind of step outside of that is fine. Having a color theme such as a monochromatic theme for the month also works really well. A good idea is to have warmer orange and yellow tones for Fall and greens and pinks for Spring to give your Instagram feed some interest as well as keeping yourself interested.
Lastly, plan ahead of time when it comes to how your food photography will look like on your feed. You can use a tool such as Later to schedule your Instagram posts or save them as drafts so that you can see how your grid would look like beforehand.
Elements that you need to plan out for as a food photographer include the mood of your food images, having different compositions for your photography appear in an interesting fashion as well as the type of content you are posting. Think about how your audience will perceive your Instagram feed so that you can do your planning a few weeks ahead in advance.
Tip 5: Use Instagram Live To Your Advantage
Instagram Live is a great way to stand out because it's authentic and in the moment. And unless you're an incredible actress or actor, all you can be yourself as there's no other way out. In this case, your authenticity is always going to win the day as doing an Instagram Live allows for nothing else.
On top of that, Instagram Live also makes space for a really close connection with your audience. They can engage with you and vice versa, as they can ask questions while you respond. This sort of back and forth engagement is a really powerful way of connecting with your audience and serving them as well.
Most importantly, you should make the most out of your Instagram Lives to teach your audience something to add value and bring something to the table. Not only is it a great way of showing your expertise, it also allows you to serve your audience meaningfully.
Kimberly does her Instagram Live sessions for four consecutive weeks, three times a year which results in something like a mini show. She also suggests doing challenges and bringing on guest judges where they can have a discussion and debate. The audience can then jump in and ask the judges questions.
Alternatively, you can also have your audience jump onto Instagram Live with you. Most of them might be a little shy but it is a fun experience for them. It's also advisable to announce your Instagram Live at least 48 hours before you go on as you will need some time to prepare yourself.
You can also use your Instagram Stories to add a countdown timer to your Instagram Live events. If you already have an email list, feel free to also mention it in your weekly newsletter so that everybody knows that you are throwing on a special Instagram Live event.
In conclusion, using Instagram Live to add value for your audience will not only help you stand out and get noticed on Instagram, it is also a great tool to grow your business. If you want to teach photography, for example, and you do your Instagram Live and teach within that setting, then it's an opportunity for people to experience you as a teacher.
If you've got a cookbook you're pitching to a publisher, doing an Instagram Live is also a great way to gauge interest as well as boosting your confidence. Knowing that you did an Instagram Live with 500 people attending every week and super engaged gives you that great sense of purpose about your business. In short, doing Instagram Lives regularly serves your audience as well as serving you and your business.
You can plan your live sessions by tying them in with challenges or giveaways where you announce the winners. Another great idea is also to have a guest judges Q & A section where you tackle a particular topic such as the best photography gear and have them answer questions within a particular topic. You can then use this opportunity to make announcements and a call-to-action such as buy my ebook or grab my presets that are on sale etc.,
How long you decide to run your Instagram Live really depends on you, but as a beginner, you can aim for a 30 to 45 minutes session. Keep an eye on how many people come and go and make adjustments accordingly.
If you notice that the number of people staying on your Live is pretty steady, that is how you know that your audience is engaged, and that the topic is hitting the mark. Running an Instagram Live is rewarding, but it also requires a lot of energy. Getting yourself prepared, making sure the internet is all set up and ready to go, bringing on the judges and so on, there's a lot of run up to the moment.
Plenty of things are involved that goes beyond the kind of 30 to 45 minutes Instagram Live. However, Kimberly says a Live under 30 minutes is a little bit short and people might feel a little cheated.
Tip 6: Have a huge amount of quality content to stand out of the crowd
The perfect formula to grow on Instagram and to stand out is having a lot of great content. However, if you're just starting out and have less than 100 photos, I think it's okay to allow yourself to make mistakes and to just create a lot of content so that you get better at creating quality posts.
At this stage, it makes sense to do so until you find your style and unique voice. If you are already a little bit established, then it's important to maintain a high level of quality content. On top of that, it's important to take some risks.There's something really powerful about that creative process.
Ideally, be as consistent as possible with posting. If you can, aim to post on your Instagram profile every single day or better yet, 2 to 3 times every single day. Five to six times a week is the minimum amount of regular posting for any sort of momentum and growth on Instagram. Anything less than that, you will lose a little bit of momentum and have people unfollowing you rather than moving the needle forward.
If you would like faster growth and higher engagement, consider adding video content such as GIFs and short videos. From making quick animations of your still images to shooting maybe 3 to 4 videos a month,
It is entirely up to you when it comes to adding video content to your Instagram feed. Things like behind-the-scenes of setting your shoot for your food photography sessions are great ideas for video content.
The bottom line is, you don’t have to be a professional videographer or anything. If you love to teach your audience about photography, just a quick 2 minute video on a pro tip you think will benefit them will work well. People are generally very forgiving of the video quality not being amazing, as long as what you're teaching is engaging, helpful and inspiring.
If you are ready to level-up your food photography skills and knowledge and learn from the best in the industry, don’t miss the annual Master the Art of Food Photography Summit happening soon!
Click below to learn more – if the summit isn’t open for sign-ups now, be sure to add your name to the waitlist so you won’t miss a moment of the next summit.