The Dish on your Favorite Windy City Foodstagramers

Coffee and photo

Meet the people behind the handle, learn tips & tricks for taking successful food photos all across Chicago, and find your purpose in the local food community! 


An influencer: Someone who uses their social media as an avenue to promote brands, businesses, and everything else in-between. In our case, these influencers share their food adventures (restaurants, dishes, local food, etc.) within their social media outlets. Therefore, they are educating their audience about things they are truly passionate about.

The Influencers:

@everythingerica (64k followers) - A social media branding consultant that loves to take pictures of both Chicago food finds and her family

@personallypaleo (3k followers) - A foodie, travel enthusiast, and fitness buff that credits her success to a Paleo diet

@chicityfoodies (23k followers) - A Chicago based foodie that loves to travel and capture the best food consumed in between

@chicagofoodgirl (56.4k followers) - A corporate marketing manager who combines her passion for food, travel, and fashion all in one place

@chicagofooddork (17.2k followers) - An esthetician by day, and self proclaimed food dork by night, capturing her tastings all across Chicago

@chicagofoodauthority (173k followers) - A food blogger with an intense passion for discovering everything yummy in the city of Chicago

@sherriesavorsthecity (37.6k followers) - A pastry chef by day and gourmand by night, this foodie shares her favorites eats and sweets with her followers across Chicago

@fabsoopark (29.1k followers) - A branding and marketing consultant in Chicago who loves showcasing her personal food finds across Chicago

@cleanplateclubchi (13.3K followers) - A Chicago foodie who likes to let her followers join her on a day’s journey across the city and how the food she eats impacts her impressions

@everythingbutolives (11.7k followers) -A foodie from Chicago who doesn’t discriminate on her favorite meals of the day

@chicagoismyboyfriend (13.8k followers) - A Chicago food explorer who’s traded in the traditional dating life for seeing all that Chicago food has to offer in a relationship

Explain your passion behind your food posts/how you got started.

@personallypaleo - “I got started in the food blogging world several months after I transitioned to a Paleo lifestyle. I hadn't been one for cooking but when I started spending more and more time in the kitchen making compliant food, my love for it grew. I really enjoy cooking up different dishes and mixing flavor profiles. I was constantly cooking for family and friends and they all encouraged me to start posting about it! Now, I can't really imagine life without it. It lets me be creative and it's fun.”
@everythingerica - "I have ALWAYS had a passion for food. When other kids were watching cartoons, I was watching the food network. When IG was created, I felt like it was a great place for me to share all the food photos I took (I think my FB friends were tired of it, lol.) So I decided to just start. My original name was Foodtographygirl. Not a lot of people know that. Then, about a year into it, I decided I wanted to share more than just the food I was eating when I was going out, so I changed my name to Everything Erica. Now I share food, my favorite recipes and photos of my cute little daughter, Elia.“
@sherriesavorsthecity - "I got started as a hobby. I simply wanted another creative outlet to showcase all my creations. Little do I know that it started becoming an obsession of mine.”
@chicagoismyboyfriend - "I started my Instagram as a personal account 5 years ago but would sometimes post pictures of what I was eating or cool things I was doing in the city. Maybe a year into it I changed my handle to Chicagoismyboyfriend and started focusing more on what I was doing in Chicago. I noticed people were taking more interest so I just kept going. I wanted to take my Instagram to the next level so I went to a workshop hosted by @LostGirlsVintage in Chicago. They had some great knowledge that really helped with my focus more. As I went on I developed a pretty loyal following. If it wasn’t for my followers and their interest in what I have to show them, I wouldn’t be doing this. It’s all about them. I want to be an ambassador to Chicago for them."
@everythingbutolives - "I started my account on a whim!  I've always been very into the food scene in Chicago and because of that, friends were constantly asking me for restaurant recommendations.  My account was my way of sharing the places I liked with my friends but since then, it has become a fun hobby."

How has social media helped you in your career and/or hobby as a foodie?

@personallypaleo - "Social media has helped me reach out to and connect with so many interesting people! I've found some I can bounce ideas off of, ask questions to or just grab some inspiration from. I've become much more experimental in cooking and learned a lot about simple things, like plating food.”
@everythingerica -"Social media is amazing because it essentially amplifies word of mouth. Now, I'm allow to share my thoughts and opinions with lots of foodies at one time. Because of that audience (and the influence I have), I've been able to charge brands a marketing fee for sharing their message.”
@sherriesavorsthecity -"After 2 years of really working hard and trying to develop my brand, I actually started to monetized from it. I livebrand partnerships and supporting local businesses.”
@chicagoismyboyfriend -"I have a regular 9-5 job but after 5 I am generally completely focused on what’s happening in the city. Instagram has really encouraged me to go even deeper into my exploration of this city and everything it has to offer. I’m not a homebody at all so I’m always looking for the cool thing to do that night and how I can create good content for my followers. I almost feel like an Instagram “concierge” as I want to motivate everyone to go off the beaten path and experience the city in ways they might not know about. I’ve done some partnerships with brands but I am extremely picky about what brands I would promote on my Instagram. I’m only interested in partnerships that I have a personal connection to so that the content I provide is authentic and something I actually believe in. I would never want to alienate my followers with product placement overkill!”
@everythingbutolives -"As I mentioned above, even before starting my account I was always into the food scene.  @everythingbutolives has allowed me to get to try new and different restaurants and be able to share the restaurants that I love with my friends and followers!  It's been a great hobby to balance my full time job."
Have you found a community of other foodies within social media? If so, how has that helped you grow?
@personallypaleo - "Absolutely! Its crazy how many like minded people there are out there that I didn't know about. It's so much fun keeping in touch with them. I've been able to be part of collaborations and do guest posts for others. That helps me branch out to a whole new audience. Personally, I've made some really great new friends!”
@everythingerica -"I've found this community organically by engaging with them! It's so important to always have a dialogue on IG and not a monologue. You need to go out, search hashtags that relate to what you do and engage with the posts and the people.”
@sherriesavorsthecityy - "We have small tight community in Chicago and everyone has something to offer. We all have our strengths and weaknesses so we try to help each other out as much as we can.”
@chicagoismyboyfriend - "The social media community in Chicago is insane! I have made SO many friends through this app it’s bewildering. It may sound odd to those who aren’t in it but Instagram has literally changed my life. It forces me to get out and explore and share with others and to meet new people every day. The IG foodie community in Chicago has a very tight bond, which I love. They bring a lot of excitement to my life. I see them every week, sometimes multiple times a week! We love to bounce ideas off of each other. I even created a winter brunch club with four other Igers where we’d go try new brunch places during the winter since it’s the only time of day you can get good light during that season!”
@everythingbutolives -"Absolutely. Some of my closest friends started off as my "internet friends".  The food community in Chicago is incredibly tight and I feel really lucky to have met some wonderful people through Instagram."
How have you found your own style on Instagram when posting content?
@personallypaelo - "I would say yes. I think it's really important to have a good flow on instagram or really any social media. I am so envious of people that can post dark and moody food pictures, but I've found that doesn't work for me. I have a bright, clean style when it comes to my content.”
@everythingerica -"I think over time your aesthetic finds you. You start to become attracted to a certain style and you also start to pick up on what your followers like. If you keep sharing content on a consistent basis, over time, you will find your vibe.”
@sherriesavorsthecity - "I just know that I like things to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye and I want the food to shine. I am not a fan of making the food look too fake. I like it to be naturally beautiful and make you want to eat it.”
@chicagoismyboyfriend - "I want people to think of me as their best friend who knows all the cool spots in the city. When I post and create a caption I try to keep it real for my followers by writing as if I’m speaking directly to them. I’m a real person who is genuinely interested in the people who follow me and I want to make sure that comes across to them. I respond to everyone’s comments on my posts and my Instastories because it strengthens that connection. The other thing that I find really important is to post about the whole city. There are a lot of bloggers/igers out there who only go to a select few neighborhoods, but I crave variety. One day I’ll be in Pilsen and the next I’ll be in Avondale or Edgewater. I want to show people the whole city, not just what’s going on in one or two neighborhoods. I even go to the suburbs because, believe it or not, there’s some great food and amazing things happening in the burbs! I want to motivate people to get outside of their comfort zone and discover new things.”
@everythingbutolives -"Definitely!  Everyone that has a blog or Instagram account has a different style.  It's been fun to figure out what my own perspective and style."
Do you have any suggestions or tips for our readers on how to get the best photos for their page?
@personallypaelo - "Lighting is so important! Even if you feel weird about it, take your food or whatever and move it to a spot with good natural light before you snap your picture. Try and take your photo with a clean background so you can really focus on what you're taking a picture of. Oh! and take TONS of them! You may like something when you first take it but realize later that it's the 23rd snap that you really like.”
@everythingerica -"Shoot in natural light! If you're not a photographer (I'm not) then that is going to help you tremendously. Also, make sure the light source is behind you (and shining on the food) when you shoot!"
@sherriesavorsthecity - "I use 3 useful apps (VISCO, FACE TUNE, and SNAPSEED) I suggest for people to play around and get familiarize with these useful editing applications. Also, study all angles to find the best light is the key. Practice makes perfect!”
@chicagoismyboyfriend - "Follow the natural light! I eat a lot of dinners at 5 or 6 so that I can catch that golden hour. When you look at a picture of food taken in the dark with a flash vs taken in natural light there’s a huge difference in how appetizing it looks.”
@everythingbutolives - "Always takes pictures in natural light if you can!  It also helps to find a pretty background for your food if it's available."


July 31, 2017 9:07 AM

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