Whether you are a food blogger, a food critic, or simply a stay at home chef, smartphone food photography can be a total game changer for your content.  Sharing snapshots of delicious looking meals can bring more traffic to your website or personal blog. Who knows? Viewers may even want to replicate recipes based on one photo of the finished product. And you know what that means? More likes, shares, and views.

Are you a fanatic foodie with an interest in photography? Do you want to share mouth-watering images of culinary creations on all of your social media platforms? Often times, high-quality photos require expensive, and bulky, photography equipment.

So, what is the real story? Actually, there is no need to purchase an expensive camera nor a professional lens. Smartphone users can take pictures of delightful dishes with the simple tap of a touchscreen.

Today, we are going to explore all the ins and outs of smartphone food photography. In this article, let’s break down behind the scenes secrets to food photo composition. Also, you will learn about the tips and tricks to snapping a photo that looks good enough to eat.

The Smartphone Camera

Before we dive in, let’s take a closer look at the camera of the smartphone. With advanced technology, the cameras installed into smartphones are exceptional and produce stunning images. Frankly, some smartphone cameras work just as well as professional grade cameras.

Want a pro tip that will enhance the clarity of a photo in a matter of seconds? Since the smartphone lens is prone to smudges and scratches, pictures can look fuzzy and unclear with a dirty lens. Make sure you wipe the glass clean with a soft fabric to ensure for a nice, clear snapshot. 

Regarding the Apple smartphones specifically, iPhones generally includes a 12-megapixel camera and lens that feature a 28mm focal length. Digital zoom abilities vary from 5x to 10x magnification. Also, most smartphones come with an exposure lock. How can you actually use this to your advantage? An exposure lock will help you control the amount of light and exposure you desire for a particular shot.

We’ll talk more about the importance of exposure later on. For now, understand the full capabilities of your smartphone’s camera and utilize them for your food photography endeavors.

Backdrops and Props For Smartphone Photography

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The composition is crucial in food photography. The background should be uncluttered yet inviting to the spectator. However, the backdrop must not be too distracting. Bottom line? The food is the star of the show and should be the main focus of the image. Here are some ideas for props you can place around your plate for added flair.

  • A piece of cutlery such as a spoon, a fork or a knife.
  • Crumbs or ingredients used to prepare the dish.
  • A fabric item, like a tablecloth or a simple napkin.
  • Wood grain of the kitchen counter or dining table.

By including props and expanding on background elements, the meal will not appear staged, like an unappetizing image off a menu. Keep in mind, too many backdrop pieces can distract, or even overshadow, the focus of the photo; The dish itself. With a more authentic presentation, the viewer feels like they are sitting at the table next to you.

Location, Location, Location

Searching for a great location, with tasty treats, is half the fun of smartphone food photography. With your smartphone in your pocket, almost anywhere can become a set for a food-related photoshoot. Plus, an interest in food photography can lead you to some good eats.

Try new restaurants features cuisine from different cultures. From the most upscale restaurants to your local food truck, every culinary establishment has its own style of presentation.

Natural lighting is best. Artificial lights tend to obscure the plate and distort colors. Photo filters are unnecessary as they can actually hinder the quality of a food image. Here’s the deal, take photos next to a sun-filled window or outside on a nice day.

Keep reading this article to learn about the photography accessories available for purchase that will allow you to control the amount of light flooding a scene.

Style Your Meal

Do you know when the best time to snap a picture is? As soon as the food hits the plate when the meal is as fresh as possible. Don’t let a good meal sit around for too long. Food tends to lose its appeal the longer it sits out.

Have you ever tried to take a photo of a melting ice cream cone? What about soggy french fries? Not as appetizing as a freshly scooped dessert or fries straight out the fryer. When planning a photoshoot for a particular dish, be quick so the food looks it’s best. 

Arrange the platter in a way that complements the ingredients. If you have a burger stuffed with a variety of toppings, then move the top bun to the side and display the contents of that juicy burger for all your viewers to see.

Another pro tip for you is to paint vegetable oil onto proteins to add a shiny effect. Also, including the steam from a hot meal into the photograph is a great way to obtain that fresh-out-the-oven look.  

Take the time, but not too much time, to make the meal look as presentable as possible. The key to smartphone food photography is letting the ingredients that make up a dish shine on their own.

Angles Are Everything

Finding the most flattering angle is half the battle when it comes to smartphone food photography. Many novice photographers struggle to find the right viewpoint when shooting food. While some opt to take a photo directly above the dish, this kind of perspective may not be best for every dish. An overhead angle works best on pizza pies or generous bowls of pasta.

Another strategy for catching the perfect shot is getting up close and personal with the meal. If there is a specific element of the dish you wish to highlight, zoom in very close to it. Glistening sauces or a running egg yolk should be captured in all their delicious glory. Feature the different shapes and textures of the food.

Get down low, almost plate level and snap a picture straight on. Taking a photo at this angle will accentuate the height of a food item. For example, a stack of brownies or pancakes look utterly appetizing in photos taken straight on.

All in all, the goal is to highlight the best qualities of the meal. Bear in mind, there is no harm in experimenting with new angles to capture the perfect shot.

Tools For Smartphone Photography

If beautiful images of food are vital to your website or brand, then consider investing in professional photography equipment. Accessories can take your photography skills to the next level.

One piece of equipment that is incredibly helpful is a diffusion disc or panel. In areas with harsh lighting, they are an excellent tool to filter some of the sun’s rays.

By definition, exposure refers to the total amount of light that enters a given photo. Adjusting the right amount of light can make or break a good snapshot. Those interested in smartphone food photography may want to think about buying a reflector kit. Reflectors have the ability to bounce more light onto a plate.

Because controlling light exposure is so important when snapping a picture, think about investing in the proper tools that will regulate the amount of light entering a space.

Some Fun Apps For Smartphone Photography

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Finally, as any professional photographer will tell you, it’s wise to have a firm grasp on the fundamentals. Note the negative and positive space within an image. While negative space simply means empty space, positive space refers to the subject itself.

Also, when composing a shot, refer to the rule of thirds. It’s the basic idea that an image is divided into nine sections and that the subject should fall on certain parts of the grid.

Since we are talking about utilizing your smartphone, I should mention the recommended apps for photography purposes. Smartphone applications such as Pixlr, Snapseed, and A+ Signature are popular download choices. Even Instagram, a social media platform that revolves around photo sharing, has excellent editing software to maximize the quality of an image.

In smartphone food photography, colors should be vibrant and eye-catching in order to gain attention. Be smart about the apps you wish to download, editing apps can apply final touches to an image prior to posting on social media.

Bottom Line

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Smartphone food photography opens the gateway for foodies who want to share bite-worthy images across all their social media platforms. Now aspiring food bloggers and photographers alike can take great photos without spending a ton of money on pricey cameras and equipment.

However, investing in photography accessories can upgrade your work to professional quality. Make sure you consider all the elements of the picture. Also, to gain some depth, consider reading essential food photography tips and ideas article here to build upon the skills discussed here.

From the backdrops to the angles to the food itself, build a narrative from a single photo. Tell a story and let the food speak for itself. By doing so, viewers will connect to your content and feel as though they too are enjoying a delicious meal.