Make your Instagram shots better with five tips from Daniel Krieger

The prolific Brooklyn photographer, who shot this week's Time Out Food & Drink Awards issue entirely on Instagram, shares his tips for taking gorgeous snaps

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Photographs: Daniel Krieger


Your Instagram feed is probably littered with blurry, dark food photos that make even the tastiest dish look questionable. It's time to up your food-porn game. Photographer Daniel Krieger shot our entire Food & Drink Awards 2014 feature on an iPhone with Instagram filters, so he knows a thing or two about making cell-phone snaps look good. (Seriously: All the portraits below were shot with Krieger's iPhone.) Read his five tenets of Insta photography to rack up the likes after your next meal out.

Look for good light.
"Professional photographers use elaborate and expensive lighting setups to create beautiful images, but that's not really an option for most people using their phones. The best thing to use is natural light. Window light is the first choice, but you can move yourself around to find what's right—sometimes it takes a few minutes and a few tries to really get it perfect. There's something magical about the way the iPhone picks up direct light on food, creating beautiful colors and shadows."

John Bignelli and Wylie Dufresne of Alder. Photograph: Daniel Krieger/@danielkrieger


Put some distance between you and your subject.
"I find a lot of the worst food photos happen because people are way too close to their food. Cameras in phones don't do macro well, so back the fuck up! For most of my food or cocktail photos, I like to be a few feet away from my subject. Experiment with a range of two to four feet away and see how it looks. Obviously, if you're photographing a small cupcake you'll want to be closer—or just get a bigger cupcake."

Daisuke Nakazawa of Sushi Nakazawa. Photograph: Daniel Krieger/@danielkrieger


Watch your peripherals.
"Try keeping the table clean except for a few essential details: the dish, maybe a napkin, silverware and a drink."

Dominique Ansel of Dominique Ansel Bakery. Photograph: Daniel Krieger/@danielkrieger


Try a bird's-eye-view shot.
"This is my go-to style of shooting. With my professional camera I have more flexibility with lenses to create different looks, but the camera in an iPhone looks great when shooting from above."

Veal parm at Carbone. Photograph: Daniel Krieger/@danielkrieger


Experiment, and take a bunch of shots.
"Try moving yourself around what you're shooting—the food is going to stay still, but you can move yourself. Find the right light by shooting from different angles and locations. Fire off a few frames; don't just take one photo. Try the edge of a table—I like incorporating angles and patterns in my images when possible. And finally, edit the image: Snapseed is a powerful and free editing tool, and I edit just about every photograph I post to Instagram.

"Tag me on Instagram @danielkrieger when taking a photo and I'll give you some feedback. Best of luck!"

Damon Wise and Andrew Carmellini of Lafayette. Photograph: Daniel Krieger/@danielkrieger


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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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