Posted by - May 2, 2016 - CynEats Foodie Guide

True Story: I used to be a TERRIBLE food photographer– You know those people who post food pics that are SO dark that the food literally looks like poop? (But is probably really bomb)? Yeah… that was me. 

Today, I’m going to show you just how bad I really was. Yes yes… there are pics below to show it.. just promise you’ll be nice, K? *Cue the self-shame*

I really didn’t even get “good” at food photography until a year AFTER I started the CynEats Instagram. Prior to it all, I didn’t take a real photography lesson or class (still haven’t)… Yet for some reason I still thought my shit was legit though!

So lets backtrack and explain how it all started….

It was circa 2013. My good friend, Jed, whom most of you already know as @dailyfoodfeed, started his own Marketing/PR company in SoCal.

I was his right hand woman.

My title? “Princess of Marketing”- I shit you not. Exact title on my business card and everything lol.

One of the services we offered was social media management. This was when restaurants didn’t know what Instagram was… or the importance of it yet. You could say we were ahead of the game.

Anyways, we had a handful of clients between LA and San Diego. Jed would sometimes send me and my iphone 4 off on my own to take these photos for clients.

Many of the photos I took were unusable. TERRIBLE actually. It took months and months of training to get it right. (Jed- if you’re reading this… I applaud you for dealing with me!)

…Now here’s a peek into my skills BEFORE I started CynEats

Uhm. What was I thinking?? You can’t even see inside the deep dish pizza. #fail

Most important part of food photography? The lighting. CLEARLY I DID NOT KNOW.

Back when I used to think the actual Instagram filters were the shit…. *smh.*

And here’s a throwback to one of the first photos I ever posted on IG. Not even sure what the middle picture is. And while chocolate covered strawberries almost always look divine, I apparently found a way to make them look near disgusting, hah.

Now fast forward to today… I’m the girl who takes pictures of my food before I eat it.

I’m also the crazy person running outside with a burger in my hand- stuff just dripping everywhere (Snap: CynEats). Sometimes it’s for work. Sometimes it’s because I have a particular shot in mind that I just HAVE to get.

So if you were to ask me two years ago what I would be doing today, I definitely would not have said “I TAKE FOOD PHOTOS for a living” … or any photos for that matter. But I worked my ass off to learn.

Now I go on photo shoots at least 3-5 times a week and started my own social media branding agency.

My OVERALL point: There is no over-night success. Just because you aren’t good at something now… doesn’t mean you won’t be BETTER in the future. If you keep at it, you will always improve no matter how big or small. If you truly have a passion for something, don’t give that shit up.

Ok, now let’s get started with tips for YOU.

+ If you want to start a foodie account, blog, or whatever… NOW is the time to do it. Especially if you are living in San Francisco/ Bay Area. The reason I say this is because the market is currently not saturated like in LA or NY. (Let me know if you guys want me to elaborate on this in another post).

+ The first thing to remember is lighting. See all the pictures above? Those are all examples of TERRBIILLEEEE lighting. Anytime you need to reference “what NOT to do”… just book mark this page. Look at those photos. hah!

+ Speaking of lighting… if a place has bad lighting, then don’t bother. I refuse to take a photo under bad lighting circumstances only because I know it won’t make it on my feed. Know when to cut your losses and not annoy the hell out of people lol.

+ Follow other people/blogs/instagrams for inspiration, but don’t copy.

+ People WILL stare at you, pay them no mind. Legit don’t even look them in the eye, just do your thing.

+ Read THIS article on “How To Take Bad Ass Food Pics With Your iPhone” <— good starter tips!

Hope y’all got a good laugh out of this and possibly some useful tips too! This journey with you guys has been a fun one. Read my full story HERE.

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  • Karen May 8, 2018 - 6:43 am Reply

    Love this!! I used to think My photography and Instagram game were on point until I started following your IG. Always so much to learn and never giving up is everything! Thank you for the inspirational realness. You’ve inspired me to not care what I look like as I hold food twenty different angles with my Boyfriend asking “Can I eat now?” He knows the drill now. Lol 😂#anythingforashot

  • […] a few months of blogging from my iPhone, I knew I needed to step up my photography game (confession: I was a terrible food photographer). I reached out to other creatives on Instagram. I bugged people to grab coffee with me so that I […]

  • Halal Food Gastro February 7, 2018 - 5:43 pm Reply

    wow, it’s so amazing to see that you have come so far in your photography skills! I applaud you! your honesty and advise reflects your work and I very much admire it!

  • Danny T. May 3, 2017 - 11:30 am Reply

    You are such an inspiration! I started my food account because of you. The photos aren’t as good as yours but I bought my first camera and cant wait to use your tips.

  • Adriana April 15, 2017 - 7:37 pm Reply

    Love your images and your complete honesty and transparency !! I sick at taking images and I’m inspired to get better after reading your AWESOME post! I just need to learn for fun and for photography of our awesome, unique ice cream …stop by Revival Ice Cream when you are in Monterey. I’d love to treat you to an awesome, real food, absolutely delicious, intense ice cream.
    Now, I’m gonna click on the article on how to take pictures with iPhone :)

    • CynEats April 20, 2017 - 4:28 pm Reply

      Hi Adriana, I’d love to stop by your ice cream spot if i’m ever in Monterey! And I’m so glad this article inspired you :)

      – Cyn

  • […] you’re currently a shitty photographer (I was terrible- story HERE)…and you have time to learn- then research photography tips, watch YouTube videos, and […]

  • Nancy July 19, 2016 - 5:02 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I follow you on snap and I love following your adventures!

    • CynEats July 21, 2017 - 7:37 pm Reply

      You’re welcome! Thanks for following my blogging adventures <3 -Cyn

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