The Best Tools To Use To Take Insta-Worthy Food & Travel Pics

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Let’s talk about Instagram for a sec. Would you believe me if I told you that I’ve been on Instagram since the beginning of Instagram time? Ya, true story! (User #110,431!)

This app was interesting when I first came across it in late 2010, but it was so boring because none of my friends were on it and there were very little users. I posted my first photo in 2011 at Coachella but then deleted it (and later reposted months later (view here). My second photo was posted a few months later, and now is my “first photo” on my feed. I’m happy it’s grown in popularity and now is the “go-to” social app for many of us.

I often get asked what kind of camera I used, what apps are my go-to’s, and if I plan my posts ahead. I’m going to share with you some of my recommendations and tips.


What kind of camera do I use?

I use a Canon 80D, and Olympus PEN E-PL7…and most recent, my Sony Alpha a6500 where I can change lenses – my current fav is the 12–50mm (for depth and blur) and the pancake lens (for ever day, pocket use). I use the Canon with various lenses and filters for food photography. It’s amazing and the 50mm is still my favorite for Canon as well. I use the Olympus as my everyday use camera because it’s similar to a point-n-shoot but has all the functions of a DSLR. The Fuji camera I use a lot for photos. I guess it’s really which one I’m in the mood to use!


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Canon 80D

  • Lens – best for close-ups & people Canon 50mm f1.2

  • Alternative to f1.2, and a great starter lens – 50mm f1.8 50mm f1.8

Olympus Pen E-PL7

Sony Alpha a6500 with the Sony 50mm lens

Favorite Tripods

Do I use my phone to take photos?

I’d say that 99% of my Instagram photos are taken through my cameras and 1% on my iPhone7. Both the FujiE-X1 and Olympus Pen E-PL7 are mirrorless cameras., which make them less bulky, less heavy, and they can produce images like a DSLR. Size and weight is everything to me; the smaller and lighter, the better. I also use lens filters to help make images a bit more crisp or block out UV light.

Do you need a fancy camera?

In short, no! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a fancy-shamncy camera to snap great photos. All you need is a camera that you’re comfortable with, the right lighting, the right composition, and a great edit. (Seriously, it’s all about post production!) All of my photos are edited using Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and/or VSCO app.

Tools To Use To Take Badass Instagram #FoodPics

What are my favorite apps?

Ok, so, none of this is groundbreaking stuff, although, here are the apps I use on a regular basis to keep my Insta snaps looking cohesive. On my iMac i do use Lightroom and Photoshop. When it comes to photo editing on my iPhone I use these apps:


This one is an obvi! I know, you all use VSCO, it’s the best, right? It’s the only app I use to edit my pictures at the moment. It just does everything I need it to do and has the best filters. I use the A5 or HB1 filters, brighten up the exposure, clarify, sharpen, and decrease the warmth to get rid of the “yellowish” color.


Snapseed is a great all-round for sorting out the basics. The sliders for brightness, contrast, etc. give you far more control than VSCO. Snapseed is perfect for people that want to do a little editing but maintain that no-filter look.


You’re going to love this app. BeFunky is FREE and has all the amazing capabilities that you need to edit photos on the go.


Ok, so Facetune is great if you want to smooth out your skin or patch up a photo. I don’t use this one often, but when I do it’s very handy for that purpose.


Afterlight is also pretty darn amazing. It has a ton of filters, with lots of fun extras, like putting your picture in a circle or adding a patterned background. It also has some great light leaks and vintage camera grain. Everything you need in one app!


I kind of let out of a sigh of relief when I downloaded Planoly. And, if you’re like me and take Instagram far too seriously and meticulously plan how our feeds look, you’re going to love this one. It’s as easy as adding images, adding captions and hashtags, and hitting post. It’s drag-n-drop feature is intuitive, and it also has functions for scheduling and hashtagging your posts. This was all I need, a simple way of checking how my images fit together on my computer or phone, and a way to schedule them. They do offer a free version, but if you are posting a lot or manage multiple accounts, Planoly has different paid options. Another one I recommend is Mosaico. Although, they don’t have a website, the mobile app is great!

Where do I save all of my photos?

I save all of my photos on DropBox, Google Photos, and an external hard drive. That’s three places! DropBox and Google Photos are great because you can automatically sync your photos to their apps. The external hard drive is a great 3rd source because you never know what can happen to these companies!

So there you have it! You now know my little Instagram secrets! What type of apps and tools do you use? (Post your answers here!) Follow along on Instagram – @valeriefidan!

Updated 3/2019

Hi, I’m Valerie!

I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), offering guidance to high achievers in aligning their lifestyle with well-being through daily wellness and self-care routines, promoting balance and harmony. Join me at Wellness Bum for tips on living well, and consider subscribing to my newsletter or booking a coaching session.