Food photography with your smartphone may have a stigma attached to it, but we have some food photography tips to make your photos so enjoyable that you won’t care.
Also, the stigma exists because people do food photography so incorrectly.
Typically, the pictures aren’t aesthetically pleasing and – to be honest – the photographer has the pallet of a picky seven-year-old. We get it, you like chicken tenders and curly fries. Everyone does Brad…
With a few nifty food photography tips with your smartphone though you can turn those annoying, ‘I’m just going to keep-scrolling’ posts into ones that have your friends drooling.
Yea, you can even get people’s mouths watering with the tenders and fries.
After all, that’s the point right?
Frequent Fauxpas in Food Photography
Outside of just being a child or an inept photographer, there are some pretty big no-no’s when photographing food with your smartphone that are annoyingly common.
We’re going to let you know what they are so you can avoid doing them like the plague.
Then, we’ll give you some excellent food photography tips to make sure that photographing food with your phone doesn’t take so long that your meal gets cold!
Oh, and the photos will look unbelievable too. Right, that’s what we’re focusing on (sorry this photographing food stuff is getting me hungry).
What not to do
First off, get something colorful to eat. It’s difficult to make fried food or a salad drenched in dressing look photogenic. A beautiful plate of sushi or a visually refreshing salad, however, easy peasy lemon squeezy (oh – and hint, if it comes with citrus it’s probably a winner)!
Also, don’t use flash. It creates glare in the photo itself, and – as someone who’s worked in a restaurant, I can attest to this personally – having a flash go off during your meal is just not enjoyable.
Chill with the filters too. This shot isn’t an awe-inspiring landscape or anything. It’s food, treat it as such. On another note, we recommend snapping your photos before things get cold and then going home to do some minor editing.
If you take our food photography tips to heart, then you won’t even really need those filters anyway (#nofilter?).
How to Do Your Best Food Photography
So, while there are definite rules regarding what-not-to-do, the rules of what-to-do are less strict and more theoretical.
These food photography tips will help you when photographing food on your phone, but it’s still up to your artistic creativity. Doing some planning before getting to the restaurant can help you to capture your photo because, well, you’ve already caught it in your mind!
Utilize that Grid
So maybe you’ve heard of the rule of thirds, and perhaps you haven’t. If you haven’t, that was our subtle way of telling you to check this out.
Photographing food with your smartphone well is all about positioning the food in the photo. To explain, it’s more appealing to the eye if your food is in a quadrant as opposed to randomly interspersed throughout the picture (FYI, the examples of food throughout this post got chosen for a reason).
Your phone has grid capabilities – all you have to do is turn them on.
Adjust your Exposure
So, we’ve explained what exposure is before. But, we may as well do it again. We do this because food photography lighting is of the utmost importance.
Exposure is how much light gets to your camera’s sensor. If you were using a professional camera, you’d be able to adjust this via shutter speed and aperture. Because you’re not, we’ll say ain’t nobody got time for that and move on.
With the time we’ve saved, we’ll again harp on the importance of food photography lighting!
If you don’t know how to play with your phone’s exposure manually, then don’t stress. It’s simple and – of course – we got you.
Experiment with Angles
Do a little photoshoot with palatable parfait or your steak and veggies (whichever you prefer – we don’t judge)!
Taking a shot from directly over the plate is too overdone for you. Anyways, you’ve never been one for fitting in with the norm.
By doing a little experimenting with angles when photographing your food, you may even find a perspective never before used. It’s all about capturing something eye-catching after all.
Natural Light: Always
Don’t just use natural light because using the flash in a bustling, crowded place is rude. Always try to include natural light because it just looks so much better.
And because food photography lighting is so important, you may as well get the best and most natural light you can!
Be wary though of too much natural light – both in photography and beer terms – as it can create a washed out look in your photos.
If all else fails, keep this brief tip in mind as it succinctly sums it all up –
“Natural light it ideal [for food photography lighting]…aim for having shadows because they create contrast and texture to the subject that you’re photographing.”
Procure some Props
There’s nothing worse than a boring dish with absolutely nothing going on around it. That’s why in our opinion, of all the food photography tips this one is the most important.
So, if you can’t bring yourself to order out of your shell, then at least add in some exciting props to capture your viewer’s attention.
Include your drink. Maybe if you order the burger and fries, you should include your slightly more adventurous cocktail or an assortment of sauces in the background.
If you’re not into cocktails, then have your dinner partner included in your shot. They’ll undoubtedly appreciate playing sidepiece to your sauces!
Perhaps you dine alone (while it’s sad it does happen to the best of us). Use your cutlery to draw the eye through the photo.
Never Ever Zoom
You’re in a restaurant, and your food is sitting right in front of you. Just move your phone closer to the plate.
By zooming, the integrity of the photo is compromised. Because of this, you shouldn’t ever do it when photographing food. You really shouldn’t do it ever, and we’ve told you why.
If it helps, pretend that to zoom when photographing food is to curse your mom (or something comparable)!
More the Merrier
There’s nothing wrong with taking twenty photos to choose one. In fact, professional photographers recommend it!
When it comes to photographing food, the rules are no different.
As we mentioned earlier, experiment with the angles. When doing so, take lots of photos. One or more is bound to turn out. And hell, if they don’t end up being winners at least, you enjoyed a lovely meal without photographing your guest to death.
Keep in mind that eating is a process. So, capture it!