Gram-Worthy Grilling: 5 Tips for Better Food Photography

Whether it’s a juicy story or a tasty side dish, there’s something about grilling that just makes you want to share. At cookouts, this usually isn’t an issue. You fill up a plate and hand it to whoever’s nearby. You grab a chair and spark up a conversation. But what about the friends that couldn’t make it? Sharing photos of your food has become a prevalent part of culture, especially since the rise of highly accessible smartphone cameras and social media. So today, we’ve cooked up 5 food photography tips to help you share your grilling experiences with those who couldn’t make the cookout. When the time comes to share your pics on social, be sure to let the entire Nexgrill community in on the fun by using #HungryForDifferent.

Let’s dig in.

1. Use Natural Light

Have you ever seen a #foodpic that has a dull, yellowish-orange tinge to it? More times than not, that’s the result of artificial lighting. Instead, use natural daylight to make your plate pop. The light you get when you’re outside grilling will determine your best course of action.

well lit daylight outdoor food photo

Check out the Thai Marinated Grilled Pork Chop recipe here

Soft, diffused daylight is what you want. That means overcast days are perfect for capturing anything coming off your grill. On the other hand, bright, sunny days may mean dealing with harsh, distracting shadows. If that’s the case, it’s probably best to take things to the patio, or some other shady area.

indoor natural food photo lighting

If you have to shoot inside, consider moving your subject near a window for some indirect, natural light.

2. Shoot from An Effective Angle

Think about all of the different types of food you cook up on your Nexgrill. With so many different shapes, textures and colors, it makes sense that you wouldn’t shoot any two food items exactly the same.

Just like you and I, all food has a “good side” or angle that you want to capture in your photography. Let’s run through a few examples.

burger photo shot best from the side angle

Burgers and other grilled sandwiches are best shot from the side. That way, you can showcase not only the temperature of the meat, but also all of your toppings and condiments.

top photo shoot view of a grilled pizza

Shooting a fresh-off-the-grill pizza from the side, on the other hand, is considered criminal in some states. (Not really, but don’t do it.) Instead, show your pie’s good side by standing up and shooting from a top-down view to capture all its cheesy, bubbling glory.

delicious grilled vegetable diagonal shot

Last, we have the diagonal shot, which gives you the best of both worlds. Use this angle when you want to feature both the top and side of your subject. Take a tray of grilled vegetables, for example. A diagonal shot will help highlight textures while providing depth to your photo.

It’s ultimately up to you to distinguish good angles from bad. When in doubt, just start snapping pics and see which ones work.

3. Tell a Story

The purpose of photography is to tell a story. Your grill pics should be no different! While the ultimate goal is to make your friends drool over your food, it certainly doesn’t hurt to bring some humanity to the table.

snap a photo from an aerial view when proposing a toast

If your subject is a beverage, propose a toast.

show the behind the scenes of your grilling journey

Document some of the prep work behind your masterpiece.

capture the first moment you slice into a steak

Rather than just shooting a goliath hunk of meat, hand your friend a steak knife and capture that first cut.

enjoying the grilling fun with friends and family

Some pics don’t need any food to show how great your grilling is.

Remember, prompting food envy is easy. Capturing moments that transport people to the day of your cookout? That’s what will make your photos truly special.

4. Mind the Details

During the festivities of a cookout, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and snap away without paying attention to the minor details of your photo’s composition. For every shot, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is there dirty dishware/cutlery in the frame?

    Unless it’s intentional and artfully done, it might take away from the featured food.

  • Is the food arranged as neatly as possible?

    Try to achieve some visual balance. Doesn’t matter how tasty it looks—if that slider is off center, your photo may not be Gram-worthy.

  • Does my subject have enough breathing room?

    Empty negative space is your friend because it creates clean compositions. You can roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty after you get the shot.

5. Keep It Simple

We love food and love socializing. So it’s no wonder why grilling is such a popular pastime. If you had a great time and enjoyed tasty food at your cookout, let your food speak for itself! A minimalist approach doesn’t only look great, it means less work, too.

Feel free to do away with unnecessary garnishes. Forget the extravagant filters and just capture the moment. The simpler the better.

Many grilled dishes have an awesome natural color. When you place them on a solid, neutral background, it’s easy to capture their brilliance.

sometimes a simple minimal photo is the way to go

No decorations. Just delicious. Simple as that.

Let’s be friends!

If you don’t already, follow us on social media and fill us in on all your grilling adventures using #HungryForDifferent. We promise to keep you up to date with all our latest grill tips, stories, recipes, and more—everything you need to stay satisfied between cookouts.