About two years ago, I scrolled through my camera roll and found it was really only filled with one thing: pictures of food. Being the foodie that I am, it's not suprising. There were pictures of food I'd made, food I'd eaten, food I'd seen on Instagram — you name it, it was there.

Even though I documented my eating adventures purely for my own enjoyment, I realized that starting my own Instagram just for food, aka a foodstagram, would give me a creative outlet to share my passion and also allow me to meet others who are just as obsessed as I am.

After two years of running my page, @_avocontrol_, I have learned a thing or two about blogging on a budget. I still may not have millions of followers, but the experiences I've gained greatly overshadow the number of likes I receive on each picture. Document your adventures for yourself and admirers will follow suit, but don't break the bank while doing so.

Emma Brant

1. Opt for a Foodstagram Over a Blog

Emma Brant

When I first started Avocontrol, I created a Weebly account to share my pictures and posts. However, I soon became aware that to create what I wanted, I would need to buy a premium package, costing me money that I did not have. Plus, I worried that unless someone explicitly searched for my site, no one would see it.

That's when I decided that Instagram was the best outlet for a millennial like me. It's free, it's easy, and most importantly, it's a social media platform made for pictures. No one wants to only read about food, they want to see it! Eat with their eyes as they say.

2. Balance Food You Make Yourself with Food from Restaurants

I'll be the first to admit that the majority of the pictures I take come from the comfort of my own home. If you're lacking in the cash department, it can be difficult to constantly hit the hottest spots in town. That being said, be sure to snap a bunch of pics when you do get the chance to have a five-star meal.

But when you're cooking at home, find or create recipes that have little ingredients, and preferably one's that are versatile. You can then use those same ingredients to create multiple types of dishes. Anything that's not widely used (like liquid smoke or truffle oil) will just sit on your shelf, wasting away.

Also, be sure to take a look at what's on sale at your local grocery store and create something from there. Cheap meals can be pretty meals, too.  

3. Quality Pictures are Key

Being a social media website designed around images, having quality food pics is one of the major keys to success. DSLR cameras are quite pricey for the average broke college student, but luckily, iPhones and other camera phones have come a long way. You can find guides online on how to bring your pictures to the next level.

#SpoonTip: Use as much natural light as possible. If you're at home, go outside. At a restaurant? Sit by the window.

4. Tag, Hashtag, and Check-In

If you're looking for followers and getting the word out, you need to connect with as many other accounts and restaurants as possible. Be sure to check-in at restaurants you eat at, tag the brands of food you ate, and hashtag away.

A lot of hashtags can get annoying, so be sure to put a majority of them in the first comment after your picture, and use those that are commonly used so people searching the hashtag will find your photo. 

Make sure to make you photo unique, too. If you're lucky, restaurants will repost your photos and you could even earn some free food! What college student doesn't love that?

5. Connect with Other Instagrammers

cake, pizza, beer
Emma Brant

When you're like a new, lost puppy in the Instagram world, don't be afraid to reach out to others. One blogger who I really admired helped me get started and we've stayed connected ever since. I even got to meet her at Spoon University's annual Brainfood Conference in NYC!

If you don't know how to approach someone, try commenting on their picture or send them a DM. This is a social media platform, so don't be afraid to actually be social. Most people will take your admiration as a huge compliment and would be happy to help. 

6. Create Your Own Identity

When creating your Instagram, try to branch out and make a new name for yourself! Use a food pun or something besides your name as your username. Develop your own voice and style and soon you'll be able to give others advice on how to build their Instagram empire.

At the end of the day, a foostagram should be a reflection of you and the food you like to eat or make. Don't feel like you have to have the most expensive meals, the most extravagant ingredients or like you have to pay for promotion. Just be yourself and post what you like, then let the hashtags do the rest.