An Instagram Masterclass sounded like something I would definitely be interested in attending, I never thought I would be the person giving the masterclass! The Oracle in Reading are currently in the midst of their food festival and I was asked if I would give an Instagram Masterclass as part of the festival. I’ve been using Instagram for years and have changed the way I use it; with updates, style of photos, filters and editing and when I started thinking about what to say I realised I had a few handy hints and tips to pass on to my fellow diners, and now to you.
In all the photos in this post the original photo (or photos) taken is on the left and the Instagram edited image is on the right.
The venue for the masterclass was The Real Greek in Reading; an interesting menu and lots of little plates means there were lots of different things for everyone to take photos of. While we nibbled on olives and waited for our starters to arrive we discussed the anatomy of a good Instagram post. For this I asked people what makes them stop scrolling and take a better look at a photo and what they prefer looking at. Maybe it’s really simple photos, photos where there’s something to read, really indulgent food shots or something colourful and healthy. So if you know what makes you stop and take a better look, try and take photos in a similar style.
After dipping and dunking warm pitta bread in all sorts of dips (my favourite being the fava bean dip) we started talking about using your surroundings. If you look at the two photos below, the plate of food is exactly the same but one is on a wooden table, the other on a marble table. Below is the falafel which had a lovely green colour inside and were lovely and crisp on the outside without being at all greasy; the fresh tomatoes really lifted them. The different background really changes the finished look of the plate because the colour and texture of the background is different. Some people like to put in a lot of the background and some not so much depending on the style of photo they are taking and this lead us on nicely to talk about…
If you’re taking a photo where the background isn’t good, is there a way you can move it or focus on something different? Could you try zooming in on the best part of the photo? Take a few different shots from different angles and see which you prefer, move the subject around and anything else in the shot and see what you come up with. Everyone took loads of different photos when the main dishes arrived; trying out different backgrounds, different light sources and different angles.
I originally took the below photo of the griddled aubergines from above but you couldn’t see all the layers easily so I moved it round next to the window and took the below shot instead. You can see the difference taking a photo from a different angle can make to give the dish some height.
Filters was next on the list. Some photos suit filters better than others, I’d say half of the time I don’t use a filter, I do a quick bit of editing (increasing brightness, saturation, decreasing shadows etc. as needed) instead. Sometimes though a filter works really well but it’s so subjective that it depends on what you think looks best. Don’t forget that you can adjust the intensity of the filter so you don’t have to have it at 100% if you think it’s too intense. Applying the right filter can turn a photo from dreary to dreamy in no time, see below.
These were the lamb meatballs and the subtle spicy flavour was really nice. Underneath is actually not hummus but Greek yoghurt and that made such a change to what I have had before; the pink onions on top added a lovely bit of freshness.
The last topic of discussion was hashtags. Everyone had a different opinion on this and the question of ‘how many is best’ came up. I’m not sure that there is an optimum number as such; the more hashtags you use the more hashtags that photo has available for people to search for it and see your snap. Whether or not Instagram frowns on using too many or not, I don’t know. Too many can be a bit of an eyesore though. I don’t aim for more or less than a certain number on any of my photos, I just use those that are appropriate for that particular picture. I do think using hashtags at the end of the post is better than scattering them within the text as it makes it harder to read in my opinion. Take a look at these sentences:
These #lamb #kofta are #delicious! Really full of #spices and the #pinkonions on the top have a great #flavour. #yum #food #Greek
These lamb kofta are delicious! I love the spices and pink onions on the top, so full of flavour. #lamb #kofta #delicious #spices #pinkonions #yum #food #Greek
The same information is in both sentences but I know which I’d rather read! The salt cod (below) was wonderfully crisp and surprisingly good dunked in the spicy feta dip! The photo I took I thought wasn’t that good but a bit of cropping and a lot of editing and it turned out lovely and bright, I could just dip another one now!
Sadly I had to leave before I got to try any of the puddings (the photo of these is at the top) but they all looked delicious and I saw on Instagram later that the other people who came along posted plenty of photos of their puds after I’d gone! It was a really fun evening and I hope that everyone who came along learnt something new and I hope this post is helpful for you too!
This is a sponsored post and I was reimbursed for my time doing the masterclass. The food was paid for by The Real Greek, thank you to them. All opinions expressed and words are my own.