Initially when people think about university, their first thought is to get as far away from home as possible. For me, it was the opposite way around. See, I’m Leeds  born and bred and everyone knows it’s the best city ever, right?

Leeds is the North’s London, with a flourishing cultural scene, booming night life and ever-beautiful sights of the Yorkshire countryside just half an hour away, is it any wonder we were ranked an impressive fifth on the Lonely Planet’s Best In Europe 2017 list?!

 I studied Photographic Journalism at Leeds Beckett University. As the name suggests, it was an eclectic mix of digital and film photography, dark room sessions stinking of developer, studio sessions and of course, writing! See that’s the part that attracted me in the first place. Photography has always been a hobby, but then if you can combine that with writing content, chasing stories and the latest news, then that’s perfect. With that in mind, I guess you could say my degree set me up perfectly for a career in social media.

And so, a month in and I’m writing my first blog post for Brilliant, focusing on photography in social media and dishing out some top tips on taking that perfect Insta pic.

 There is nothing more popular on Instagram than food. Open the app and without fail you’ll see a stream of stacked pancakes loaded with fresh fruits, juicy burgers oozing with cheese and latte art even Picasso couldn’t dream up. So what are the secrets behind a successful social media photograph?

1) Natural light. In food photography, natural light is your best friend. It ensures for a clean and crisp image. Taking photographs on an iPhone camera rather than the Instagram camera makes a huge difference too, that or shooting on a digital camera, editing and then uploading to social media.

2) Use negative space. Doing this helps to highlight an individual food or drinks item, as it ensures that the product is the primary focus of the photograph.

3) Engage your audience. More than anything, followers want to be engaged with the brand’s story! Food is a great one for this, as through Instagram you are able to create a hash tag that your consumers can use and feel a part of the brand.

4) Regram fan content. Sharing photographs taken by loyal customers not only makes them feel acknowledged, it allows them to feel even more connected to the brand. Although the photographs may not always be to your standard, on a plus side, they are authentic and honest.

5) Set the scene. Make the food you’re capturing look as amazing as it tastes! Wipe away the sloppy sauce splats from your spag bol and construct an elegant and intricate bowl of pasta! However, sometimes messy food does work. For instance, what’s more satisfying that melted cheese dripping down a burger patty? Or ice cream dripping down a cone? It’s all about getting a feel for the food you are photographing and really thinking about how a person may feel when they see it. Props are great for this, like casually leaving a fork or spoon in a dish, as it makes the photograph much more relatable for the audience.

6) Get up close and try new angles. Although flat-lays and bird’s eye views are impressive, capturing products from the left, right, top and bottom are other angles you shouldn’t be afraid of. Unless of course, you’re in a restaurant. Don’t be that guy that won’t let your friends eat until you have snapped the dish from every inch of the table, because well…nobody likes that guy.