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  • Writer's pictureDan Burman

How To Take better Food Photographs - on any phone!

Updated: May 22, 2023

Being a food and drink photographer I get asked all the time what the trick is to get better food photos, well here I am going to outline some key principles you can apply today for great food and drink photography using any phone or camera:

Use natural light: Natural light is the best light source for food photography. When taking photos, try to place the dish near a window or in an area with good natural light. If the light is too harsh, diffuse it by using a sheer curtain or a piece of white paper to soften the light. Avoid using flash as it can create harsh shadows and wash out the colours of your food.

Asian dumplings with sauce on a plate

How not to do it. A nice dish, but poor lighting, poor composition and no props.

gyoza dumpling food photography

Better Lighting, near a window.

Pay attention to composition: A good composition is crucial in food photography. Use the rule of thirds to align your food in the frame. Place the food in the center or on one of the intersecting points to create a balanced and visually appealing image. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to find the best shot.

Use props: Props can add depth and context to your food photos. Use plates, bowls, utensils, napkins, and other items to complement your food and create a visually appealing scene. Relevant ingredients can be included to add details and more colour, for example with the chilli and lime below. Try to use props that are complementary to the food and the background.

A deliscious bowl of healthy Asian food with drink, garnish and flowers

Experiment with angles: Experimenting with different angles can result in unique and interesting photos. Try taking photos from above, below, or at a slight angle to give your food a new perspective. This can help to add visual interest and create a more dynamic image. Try and find the optimum angle for each specific dish, you may need to rotate the plate or bowl.

Asian food photography
Coconut curry in big bowl

Create a sense of depth: Creating a sense of depth can make your food photos more visually appealing. Use objects in the foreground, such as spices, herbs, or a glass of wine, to add depth to your image. This will create a sense of space and make your food stand out.

Deliscious creamy curry in bowl with red drink

Shoot in portrait mode: Another great way to add depth and get that shallow depth of field effect, where the background is blurry and the focus is just on the food. Not all phones have this feature and results may be varied, but when it works well it’s a game changer and can make your photos look professional.

asian food photography tips
dumplings on plate blurry background

Zoom in: your default phone lens is quite wide, zooming in slightly, to 1.5x helps get rid of wide angle distortion.

Use a reflector: We have already learnt that using natural light is the simplest, most effective way to make food look bright and clear, but if you throw in a reflector to bounce some of that light back onto the shadowy side of the food then it looks even brighter and even better. You can buy cheap A4 cardboard reflectors online, or simply just use some white card, wrap some tin foil around it for even more bounce.

gyoza dumplings and dipping sauce photo tips
dumplings and dipping sauce photography

Focus on the details: Food photography is all about the details. Focus on the textures, colors, and patterns of the food to make it look appetizing. Take close-up shots of the food to highlight the intricate details and make it look irresistible.

Be patient: Taking great food photos requires patience. Take your time to set up your shot and make sure the lighting, composition, and props are just right. Don't be afraid to take multiple shots from different angles to find the best one.

Edit your photos: Editing is a crucial step in food photography. You can use various editing apps such as Lightroom, VSCO, or Snapseed to adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation of your photos. Use these tools to enhance the colours of your food and make it pop. However, be mindful not to over-edit your photos, as it can make them look unnatural.

A bowl of curry in an asian restaurant
A bowl of curry in an asian restaurant

In conclusion.Taking great food photos with your phone is not difficult if you follow these simple tips. With a little bit of patience and experimentation, you can take stunning food photos that will make your friends and followers drool. So next time you're at a restaurant or cooking at home, take your phone out and start capturing the beauty of your food.

Or if you want to take things a step further and save yourself the headache, you could hire us and get results like this:

Pouring sauce into a bowl of Asian food

Thank you to Noya from Noya's Kitchen, Vietnamese Restaurant in Bath, for letting me photograph her incredible dishes for this article.

If you would like to see more examples of our mouth watering food photography visit our food and drink gallery

And get in touch today if you would like to book in a shoot for your food and drinks business.

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