Instagram has basically become an extra appetizer before every meal (because sometimes food is too gorgeous not to share). Discerning foodies have come to expect a little more than just a blurry, Kelvin-ized shot of your daily Starbucks run. Let’s face it: not everything we eat deserves to be Instagrammed (right Martha?) in the same way that hesitation is your best friend when you’re about to post that Facebook status detailing your riveting mid-day nap plans. Lest you be featured on a BuzzFeed “worsts” list. #shamed.

Yes, the Internet is over-share meca, and sometimes that grainy shot of your half-eaten PB&J might be unwittingly hipster enough to be relevant. But if you’re looking for Instagram foodie fame, channel @loveandlemons and get choosy with those filters. And, of course, most food looks best with no filter. But since we’re not all professional food photographers…

Follow this Quick & Dirty guide or go your own way á la Fleetwood Mac. P.S. That song will now forever be stuck in your head. Don’t fight it.

X-pro II, Lo-fi, Hefe: 


Left: Photo by Zoe Zaiss, Right: Photo Instagram-ed with X-Pro II

These are the Ashley Wagner of instagram filters. They practically scream Draaaaaaaamaaaaaa! (Jazz hands and flippy ponytail not included). Translation: they’ll give your photos super high contrast, so tread carefully with any shot that’s already full of color and richness. They are usually the most popular filters to use on food (as high saturation draws attention to detail), but remember not all food looks better in Crayola-bright colors.



Left: Photo by Alex Weiner, Right: Photo Instagram-ed with Amaro

Amaro is perfect for inside shots of super atmospheric restaurants. Use when you’d actually like to see the food you’re eating at Mélange or to enhance the cozy glow in Sava’s.



Left: Photo by Adam Weiss, Right: Photo Instagram-ed with Brannan

Brannan is basically the closet you will ever get to having afternoon tea at Downton Abbey (I still miss you, Matthew). The metallic-y, muted tint will forgive shaky hands (hey, it’s hard to hold a scone, cucumber sandwich, teacup, your iPhone and a sparkling conversation with the Dowager Countess) and boost the contrast with an extra touch of vintage-y charm. Use on indoor shots of steaming beverages and delicate sandwiches that need a little je ne sais quoi.

Sierra, Walden, Valencia:


Left: Photo by Adam Weiss, Right: Photo Instagram-ed with Walden

Best for imbuing outdoor or indoor shots with a dreamy, romantic blur, these filters will make your next picnic or stop at Le Dog a little more magical. You’re this close to turning your life into a rom-com movie montage.



Left: Photo by Celeste Holben, Right: Photo Instagram-ed with Earlybird

The I-can-be-Wes-Anderson-too filter, Earlybird gives photos a charmingly vintage look with just the right touch of ironic detachment.  Use it to capture your next NeoPapalis takeout with an extra hint of warmth. #yum #butnotinanoverthetopway.



Left: Photo by Ben Rosenstock, Right: Photo Instagram-ed with Kelvin… just kidding, guys. It’s a pic of Al from his prolific role in 88 Minutes. Courtesy of

Tread carefully one and all. Since I’m usually trying to get this super-saturated yellow-y light out of my photos, I avoid Kelvin at all costs. Use it when you need an instant shot of fake-sun, but don’t overuse, else all your foodie photo attempts will resemble Al Pacino (“Let me see your hands!”) at his most mahogany. Not the best look for human people or your latest smoothie masterpiece.

Need a full break down of filter dos-and-don’ts? The Savory has your back. And despite all this Instagram love, try to actually enjoy eating your food too. Would it be too cheesy if I said your stomach will thank you? Already too late.