There isn’t much the internet can agree on, but cat videos and food photos are two of them. People love sharing pictures of beautiful food online. With the advent of social media, much of our experience is now conveyed visually, from photos and memes to emojis, the modern hieroglyphic. Once upon a time, you might tell your friends about an amazing meal you created or enjoyed, now you can just post a photo. A picture is worth a thousand words as the adage goes.
Social media is unavoidable in today’s culture. Getting your kids involved in posting fun and healthy social media content will show them the positive aspects of the internet and lay the foundation for making good choices later when they have more control over their own accounts. Be sure to set your own rules as to how much time can be spent on social media posts, when photos are edited and how often you post. It should be a fun family activity, not a distraction or source of conflict!
How can you make your family table worthy of likes from friends and strangers alike? We’ve provided some family table setting ideas for taking Instagram-worthy food photos plus tips on how to get the kids involved in this fun food project!
1. Use props. If you’re not taking close-up photos of food, you want to make sure the background is enticing but not distracting. Spice up simple foods and plating with a few props to bring your photos to life. A few fall gourds or a spray of spring wildflowers can provide a boost of color and sense of season or occasion to your table and your photos. Brainstorm with your kids on what appropriate table décor might be for the meal you’re serving and let them pick out something special to place for the photos.
2. Play with plating. A clean white dish is a traditional (and boring) backdrop for food. Play with texture and color on your tabletop from mixing textile patterns to combining dish materials. Mix-and-match wood dishes with colorful plates and bowls. Use vibrant, patterned serving dishes with wood-handled utensils. You can even put cutting boards or paper bags and other craft supplies to work. Let the kids get creative, their unique family table setting ideas might surprise you!
3. Compose the photo. Experiment with colors and textures on your table to see what complements your food best. This is a great time to teach young children about colors, textures, and shapes. Older children will enjoy choosing color combinations and backgrounds to try. Review the photos together and choose your favorites to post.
4. Practice good photography habits. Shoot in natural light whenever possible and avoid using a flash. Instead, have someone use the light from another phone or flashlight to provide extra lighting. If you have a space near a window, dedicate it as your food picture corner. The kids can decorate it in advance and it saves time setting up lighting. It will also create a cohesive look throughout your photos. Hold the camera steady and instead of zooming in, which lowers the quality of your photos, just move closer. These are good skills to pass on to your kids who will be taking their own social media photos someday. The internet has enough photos of blurred, fuzzy food!
5. Make it active and engaging. Which looks more appealing, pasta piled on a plate or an artfully twirled forkful of saucy pasta? A stack of pancakes may photograph okay but add dripping golden syrup or a melting butter pat and you’ve got a click-worthy photo. This is where it’s useful to have extra pairs of hands. Involve your kids is helping you create the perfect food action shots!