People often ask me how they can take better food pictures with their phone. Luckily phones these days have fantastic cameras and since I am always looking to snap a great picture of food, my phone comes into play a lot more than my regular camera. Here are some tips and tricks to getting that perfect shot:
The most important and useful tip I can give you is to always natural light. Sure many food photographers use artificial light but for those just starting out, natural light is your best friend. Especially when it comes to the cameras on your phone. But all natural light is not created equal. Food photographs best with diffused light, meaning light that is coming in from a window instead of direct overhead light that can create harshness and shadows.
When I look at what I am photographing ( and even when I am developing recipes) I make sure there is texture in the dish to give it contrast and depth. For example, I could have the most delicious soup but if there are no garnishes on it, the image will fall flat. Instead I will throw a couple croutons on it or maybe a dollop of creme fraiche to give it some texture.
It is important to think about the color of your food when you are photographing it. Color can be your best friend, like in a gorgeous salad filled with all sort of colorful vegetables However if you are eating something like braised chicken thighs, although delicious, you need to add some garnish to boost up the food when you snap a pick. Also it should be noted that some foods just don’t photograph well and that it is ok because they still taste delicious.
Composition is another thing to think about when snapping food. Should the food be in the center of the image or off to the side? Is there negative space in the shot? Did you crop a little of the plate off to let your eye rest. It really depends on what I am taking a picture of, but often times I will compose my food off-centerin the image and follow the all important rule of thirds .
An easy way to get a gorgeous shot is to snap a picture of a food where there is a large quantity of that food. Fruit at the farmer’s market is a great example and a picture of 300 plums really packs a punch.
Lastly, I don’t recommend putting filters on picture of food, especially the Instagram filters. They tend to make the food look too fake (unless that it what you are going for then totally do it!) Instead I like to use the app VSCO to subtly edit my images and then I export them to Instagram or wherever I want to share them.
professional cook and food stylist