Are you trying food photography with your phone and the photo of food on a plate is not attractive to anyone? Food photography with phones is all about techniques and tricks that you will now learn in this post. If you want to collect likes, shoot like professional food photographers follow these tips and tricks about phone food photography.
1. Pay Special Attention to The Lighting
The main mistake of a beginner is underestimating the role of lighting. For food photographs, natural daylight is the best option. Therefore, it is better to photograph dishes by the window in the morning or midday hours, since there may be insufficient lighting in the evening.
If it’s cloudy outside, move the dish to the window and take a photo. It is the perfect light.
Cover your blinds or curtains to soften the lighting if it is sunny and too bright outside the window.
If you’re shooting outdoors, do it in the shade.
You can use a variety of techniques to make your food photography more expressive. For example, try shooting drinks against the sun. The so-called backlight will create a deep shadow in front of the subject but will highlight the color of the cocktail.
But light sources behind your back should be avoided: you will cover the dish with your shadow, the background will turn out to be dark, and the foreground will overexpose. The image will look flat; the dish will look unappetizing. By changing the position, you will remove this composition much more profitable.
You may also like to read: Lighting in Filmmaking and Photography: A Complete Guide
2. Choose the Right Angle
Remember for food photography with phone first, we define the angle, then we work with the composition. Positioning your subjects well depends on shooting from above, from an angle, or the side. Consider the best way to present the main dish, considering its shape, size, and other features. After that, arrange the rest of the elements. Here are three basic views:
Sideways. This angle is appropriate when you need to show the height of a dish or filling: burgers, desserts, pancake towers, puff cocktails, cakes, etc.
Above. Ideal for dishes such as pizza, scrambled eggs, salad, smoothie bowls.
At An Angle. An option for the case when it is necessary to reflect the volume or if you want to capture the height of the dish, but also show it from above – for example, this is how tall baked goods with berry decor are removed.
Immediately consider where you will display the photo. If you plan to upload it to your Instagram feed and stories, take the frames in two versions (vertical and square), or keep in mind that you will need to crop or reduce the photo. This subtle nuance can affect the optimal angle.
3. Rule of Composition in Food Photography with Phone
Before taking a photo, conditionally divide the frame into nine equal parts with two vertical and horizontal lines. If it’s hard to do this mentally, turn on the display of the corresponding grid in the camera settings. The object must be positioned in the frame to be located along the lines or at the intersection; these are the so-called visual points.
There is also the rule of diagonals, according to which the main objects in the photo should be placed diagonally. A simple trick helps to streamline everything by adding dynamics. You can do it differently: arrange the cutlery at an angle or arrange the plates in a row diagonally.
Symmetry is another elementary but powerful technique for setting a shot. It is advisable to create a symmetrical composition when photographing the same products, dishes, or drinks.
You may also like to read: Composition in Photography
4. Background is Also Important in Food Photography
The right background will make your food photo more cohesive. If you are shooting a complex dish, use the most laconic background, for example, a solid color. When photographing some simple food, you can play up everything with an attractive tablecloth or napkin.
When shooting food at home, it is quite possible to do without unique backgrounds. There are simple and public but no less beautiful analogs: trays, countertops, tablecloths. A wooden board is generally a win-win and versatile option.
No one bothers you even to place food on the floor if it is covered with suitable porcelain stoneware or laminate. Experiment and find the key to success.
5. Learn to Use Color and Contrast
Are you sure that the contrast in the photo is the key to success, as all photographers say about it? Let me prove the opposite. Try photographing a salad made with green ingredients. Avocado, cucumber, white cabbage, green peppers and basil, cilantro, broccoli – they all differ in shades, but together they will merge into one green frame. In a colorful social media feed, that will stand out.
But the contrast is also good. Red and green, yellow and purple, black and white – there are a lot of options. For example, a red tomato salad with green basil leaves will look great when captured in the right composition and with the proper lighting.
Cook it yourself – decorate the dish with something bright so that it turns out to be expressive. You can transform even non-photogenic oatmeal with a few berries on top or a drizzle of blueberry jam.
6. Additional Ingredients will Dilute the Frame
Fresh berries and fruits, honey and nuts, herbs and spices, flax or pumpkin seeds, all kinds of sauces, and even just sliced bread – all this decorates and complements the simplest dishes.
It may be more beneficial to take a close-up to see the texture or color in some cases. In others, the distant one is better suited – with many details that distract the eye and create a pleasant impression from what you see.
Also, don’t be afraid to spill or spill something. Cleanliness is good, but there are exceptions. Sometimes sprinkled flour, spices, or even crumbs will look great. The main thing is not to overdo it so that the picture does not turn out to be sloppy. The rule applies here: less is better than more.
7. Use a Tripod Whenever Possible
Of course, you are unlikely to take pictures with a tripod ordered in a cafe. If you are shooting at home or you are faced with the task of making the highest quality shot on order, then this is another story.
The phone will be stable using a tripod. Thanks to this, you will be able to get sharp footage even in low light. By preventing camera shake, the tripod allows for slower shutter speeds.
Also, a tripod is indispensable when you need to take a series of photographs of different dishes or drinks from a certain angle. Adjust the height and angle, and change the subject itself.
8. Focus Creates Interesting Effects
To make your food photos look not only beautiful but also artistically expressive, try experimenting with focus. For example, highlight your subject in the foreground or accentuate the background. This technique is appropriate when the frame contains the main dish and objects that complement the exposure and create the right mood.
For best results, switch your smartphone camera to manual focus mode. You can create accents by touching the desired areas of the image with your finger on the touch screen. In automatic mode, the camera will choose which zone in the frame should be the sharpest, which may not correspond to your idea.
9. Props, Which You Can’t Do Without
Expressive food photography with the phone is hard to imagine without props. It can be all kinds of dishes, cutlery, napkins, cutting boards, glasses, sauce bowls, trays, and so on.
The main thing is that the props match the shooting style. When photographing freshly baked bread, using clear glassware is not a good idea. But some kind of canvas towel or linen fabric is perfect for this.
Remember, props shouldn’t draw attention away from the main object – your dish.
Freshly baked bread wouldn’t look so delicious without a board and a knife as a prop.
10. Processing will Make the Photo Even More Appetizing
No matter how good your smartphone is, no matter how hard you try when shooting, post-processing will make the frame even more aesthetic, and the dish on it will be as appetizing as possible.
To begin with, it does not hurt to crop unnecessary margins, lighten or darken the photo a little, remove excess crumbs or stains. There are popular mobile apps for all of this: Lightroom Mobile, Photoshop Express, and Snapseed. There are plenty of functions of this software for high-quality correction.
Bonus Tips Everyone Can Use
Universal Tip: make it a rule to wipe the lens before shooting, as even invisible fingerprints can ruin the photo, and you will not fix it in any way.
Practice Burst Shooting. This function helps to catch good moments for a photo, when, for example, Turkish coffee is poured into a cup or spices are sprinkled on a salad.
Also, try to shoot the same dish from multiple angles, adding and removing different details. Play with lighting and choose the best shots. Often, random photos look much better than staged ones.
In other words, don’t be afraid to experiment – it’s always helpful! And do not be scared to borrow other people’s ideas: see top food photos on the same Instagram or Pinterest, analyze, highlight your favorite moments and repeat various techniques when shooting.
Alternatively, you can buy complete guidebook food photos and style with your camera or smartphone on Amazon that will teach you the basics of this type of photography and get creative solutions.