Focus Up! Taking Your Best Photos on GiftAMeal

Every picture you take on GiftAMeal is one you can be proud of.

Great news: no matter how skilled of a photographer you are, whenever you take a picture on GiftAMeal, it'll be a picture you can be proud of. Each picture — no matter what! — will help feed someone in need. Even if it's out of focus, your eyes are closed, or you accidentally snap a mid-sentence selfie with the front-facing camera when you're aiming at a plate of spaghetti. Even your worst hair day has the power to change a life.

BUT, since most GiftAMeal users opt to share their photos on social media, we've rounded up our six favorite tips for taking your best pictures with GiftAMeal.

1. Choose your subject wisely

Did you know that the photo you take on the GiftAMeal app doesn't even have to be a picture of your food? While your meal may often seem like the most obvious thing to photograph, anything at a GiftAMeal restaurant can be your muse. So don't limit yourself — snap a picture of your drink, the décor, your friends, your date, or take a selfie! 

Any moment you want to remember or share with the world can help feed someone in need.

Taken by Bobwertsons ay Casa Mia Mexican Chicken

2. Put your picture in the right frame

In photography there is a concept called "negative space" which essentially refers to everything in a picture that isn’t the main subject of the picture. It is up to you as the artist to decide just how much negative space to include in your masterpiece. 

Some of us like to get up close and personal with our food, capturing every parmesan fleck on our spaghetti and every bubble in our beer. But sometimes the photo calls for some negative space! For example, some restaurants have beautiful décor that will compliment your picture, such as brick walls or centerpieces on tables. 

In those cases, pulling back to include more negative space can add more dimension to your photo and complement your subject. Similarly — and not just for the sake of manners — it's usually a good idea to not take a picture six inches from your date’s face! Allow some negative space or else you will have nothing but space in the seat across from you next time you dine out.

Taken by tuckor23 at Colleen's

3. Lighting is key

Dim mood lighting often makes for a wonderful ambiance… and very blurry photos. For pictures that really pop, you want as much light as possible. If you're planning to get the best pics possible, try to get a table next to a window or sit out on the patio if it’s a nice day. You might have to shade your eyes, but at least your pictures will come out sharp and the colors will look great! 

Dining by candlelight? You can always use the camera flash… but be careful! There are often reflective surfaces on a dinner table (e.g., plates, utensils, vases, etc.) waiting to blind you and drown out your beautiful picture. So consider the flash as a last resort.

Taken by MikeFemmer at Gingham's Homestyle Restaurant

4. Choose the best angle

While lighting may not be under your control, the angle at which you take your picture is! Take a moment to find your subject’s good side. Unless the subject of your picture is a human... always photograph humans from the front. But if your subject is food, there are three basic angles that tend to work best: diagonally down, directly overhead, and from the side. 


Diagonally down is probably the most commonly used angle for taking pictures of food because it allows you to capture the most details. A 45 degree angle from above allows you to capture both the top and side of your food, making it especially effective for foods with depth, like a slice of deep dish pizza. This is also an especially effective angle for capturing other table-top details, like vases, candles, or other centerpieces. Photos from this angle have a special immersive quality as they put your audience right in your perspective. Just be careful with how you frame the picture… it’s easy to get your lap in the picture if you don’t line it up with the end of the table! 


Pictures from directly overhead are GREAT for dishes that have a lot of surface detail, but are maybe a little less interesting from the sides. For example, this is a great angle for soups, pastas, and thin-crust pizzas. Top-down pictures also tend to look best with minimalistic or symmetrical backgrounds. Try arranging your utensils symmetrically on either side of your dish, and center your picture perfectly using the GiftAMeal camera’s built-in grid feature. Friends will be talking about how artsy you are for weeks!


Pictures of food taken directly from the side are rare, but can lead to really cool shots for certain dishes. Consider the side angle for food with visible layers, like burgers and certain cakes. The side angle really emphasizes each layer. There’s also no better way to make your food look HUGE than by taking a close-up side angle picture. Let the world marvel at your monolithic slice of cake and your pyramid of cookies!

Taken by keren at Sugarfire Wentzville

5. Capture the right moment

The best time to take a picture of a meal is typically right after it has been served, as it comes out looking just as the chef meant it to look… let their artistry do the hard work for you! 

Of course, if you forget, or your animal instinct kicks in and you devour your food the moment it is set in front of you… that's okay too. Remember: anything can be the subject of your GiftAMeal picture! Snap a picture of your empty plate or your sauce-covered face and preserve a fond memory of your meal.

Taken at Tally's Tap and Eatery

6. Just have fun with it!

This may be the most important tip of all! 

Sure, you may get more likes on Insta if you bring in your own lighting equipment and stand on your chair for a better angle… but at the end of the day, GiftAMeal is just a fun way to share the experience of giving back with friends. 

Every picture you take on GiftAMeal is one you can be proud of, so no need to stress if your picture isn't perfect. Just get out there, try a new restaurant or a new dish, and do some good!

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Book a no-obligation demo today and see how GiftAMeal can make your customers feel like heroes -- just for choosing your restaurant.

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