Our Obsession with Food Porn

Ah, food porn. It may be less risqué than it sounds, but it's often no less indulgent than its more "popular" cousin. We are all guilty of trolling our social media accounts searching for pictures of the delicacies that get our stomachs growling, and we all know that's a bit strange... But food is powerful. It nourishes us - both body and soul - connects us to friends and family, and apparently we really like to look at it.

We've all seen a customer who insists on rearranging the table and their plate to take photos of the food as it arrives to the table, as it's half eaten, an empty plate when it's gone, then meticulously editing before posting and all the while hastagging #nomnom to every photo. People have become so obsessed with taking a shot of their food (and wasting tons of the staff's time) that some restaurants have had to instill bans on phones or even add fees to the bills of clients who break the policy. #ILikeIt

But the fact remains, your customers love food photos-some of the largest Instagram accounts are food accounts after all. Perhaps the only thing they love more than taking or drooling over food photos, is eating, or maybe that's just me. So if you can't beat 'em, why not join them? Whether you're a restaurant or supplier, you can start your own account to get new customers interested or keep old ones coming back. Dress up your Twitter or Instagram accounts with beautiful pics of your food. After all, that's what people want to buy from you in the first place. Show them what you're working with!

Yes, everyone can make Food Porn. In most cases, it's even legal. Here are some tips to make it work for you.

Look for natural light! Indoor overhead lights and your phone's flash are harsh and can make your photos appear flat or add unappetizing color layers to your food making the beautiful dish you spent an hour carefully crafting into something that looks like it came from a pet food can. Look for natural light from windows that will enhance your photo and adjust with filters if necessary.

Filters Don't Fix Everything - Composition Matters First, make sure your photo is in focus. There is nothing worse than a blurry photo, and the easiest way to prevent one is just to wait for the right moment. On a digital camera, you'll be able to clearly see when the picture comes into focus. Wait for that moment. Don't rush it--you'll save seconds, but lose everything else. The composition of your photo matters too. There are some simple guidelines for what makes an image naturally appealing to the eye. Check out the rule of thirds, for instance, which leads the viewer's eye to the subject with lines and the use of symmetry. This article gives some great tips on Instagram photo composition. Sometimes you will want to style your food photo, complete with props and sometimes a simple shot is best.

Make it Personal - Tell a Story Social media is about telling a story of you or your business, so your imagery should reflect that. Your food photos are no different. Tell a story with them by including a variety of photos from celebrations to the every day to the imperfect. Often candid, imperfect photos are the most popular because they are relatable. See check out our lovely New York sales reps Ashley and Emma eating sea urchin out of their hands at Food+Tech Connect's Holiday Bash in New York City with Brooklyn Brewery's chef, Andrew Gerson.

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Never Underestimate the Power of the Dark Side Play around with the lighting and composition of your photos and use shadows to add a new element or vibe to your photos. While food is full of color, black and white images are powerful and can add drama or highlight the composition or subject of the food in a way color cannot.

When All Else Fails, Use an App Some people consider using an app to edit a photo cheating to make up for a lack of knowledge and skill, but hey, fake it till you make it right? Some of our favorites include Snapseed or Pixlr for editing and filters, SqaureFX and Layout to resize or group photos to fit the square format of Instagram or create collages.

Play around and have fun with your photos, and most importantly enjoy the people you are with and the food you are about to eat (or sell)! #nomnom

Check us out on Instagram (@bluecarthq) to see what we are up to in the office and what we are eating around the country!

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