Food Photography is said to be both an Art & Science. We appreciate food photography like an art and in the past, doing food photography requires some technical know-how and there’s a lack of proper photography equipment for common folk.
Technology is amazing because now, we are equipped with awesome smartphones that work almost as great as DSLR’s. And with a few useful tips, anyone can be a good food photographer using only your smartphone.
You don’t have to be a food blogger to take mouth-watering photos of food to post on your social media sites. You just have to learn some of the tips I’m about to share with you. Note that the tips you’ll read here are more for MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY OF FOOD since not everyone owns a DSLR but if you’re using a DSLR or mirrorless camera, feel free to check out the tips as well.
I’m not an expert in mobile photography so these tips were based on tips and tricks I’ve heard and read online as well as some knowledge I’ve gained from personal experience. To make it even more effective, in some tips, I’ll also show you the mistakes I made so you can avoid them.TIPS ON TAKING THE BEST FOOD SHOT:
TIP#1: HAVE A SUITABLE SMARTPHONE
Free yourself from this problem and show your real potential as a food photographer or food porn enthusiast by getting a phone that’s highly suited for food photography and more.
There are a lot of smartphones you can use but I suggest that you look into Oppo F5’s features and specs because not only does it give you the best features for your food photography, it’s also the best selfie phone in the market today. A major factor of consideration is its price since it’s priced way lower than other brands but gives the quality and performance you deserve.
TIP#2: CHECK & CLEAN YOUR SMARTPHONE’S LENS
One of the most overlooked basic
TIP#3: BE MINDFUL OF YOUR POSITION WHEN TAKING FOOD SHOTS
When taking food photos, hold your smartphone with two hands to keep it steady, keep yourself as still as possible, take a deep breath and hold your breath before taking the shot, then exhale after you’ve taken the shot. Always check the output first before taking multiple shots so you can adjust your position. This works for me most of the time because breathing normally as you’re taking the shot has an effect on the focus and clarity of the photo.
Below is a good example of how you should hold your smartphone to prevent blurriness.
IMPORTANT: Make sure that you focus on your subject by clicking it on your phone’s screen so that you’re sure that it’s focused. You don’t want to have blurry food photos & wasted opportunities to take the best food shots.
TIP#4: USE BOKEH EFFECT FOR FOOD+SELFIE SHOTS
However, most phones don’t have this BOKEH EFFECT yet so some of us are still using DSLR’s or apps like Photoshop to achieve the bokeh effect. If your smartphone has this option (bokeh effect), you simply have to select which part the camera will focus on by tapping on it before taking a shot. The closer the food is to your smartphone versus the intended background, the more intense the bokeh would be.
For example, below is a seafood meal that we had at Jeju. Normally, we would take a shot of the whole thing, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it seems a little uninteresting since the ingredients are buried under the soup base. There’s a little bokeh here but is not too emphasized.
Below is a photo of the same meal
Food selfies are now common. This is when you raise your food in the act of eating it to depict how much you love it. With Oppo F5, you’re assured to get the best food selfie photo possible because of its 20MP front camera.
TIP#5: MAKE SURE THERE’S PROPER LIGHTING
Poor lighting also contributes to unwanted shadows. This is an example of a bad lighting problem. We went to Vizco’s at Baguio just this February. Notice on the picture below that there’s a shadow on the food. That’s because the light was at my back so no matter how hard I try to angle the shot, I can’t get rid of the shadow.
Since the light source was coming from my back, it produced a shadow on the food and made the food less enticing. To amend this, I asked my husband to switch places with me so that I could take better food photos. The glistening effect obtained from proper lighting made the food photos more enticing and the details were even more pronounced.
TIP#6: TAKE MULTIPLE SHOTS
Thankfully, we don’t live in a world where we rely on film to get awesome food photos taken. The advantage of smartphones over DSLR’s is that DSLR’s
TIP#7: GET RID OF THE MESS
If the utensil has specific patterns or is unique, then it’s okay to include them. As much as possible, keep the plates clean. Clean plates put the emphasis of the attention to the food itself.
Below is an example of a messy food photo.
Below is an example of the arranged one. Notice that the picture below looks cleaner and more professional. However, it takes a lot of effort to take pictures especially if you’re with someone who isn’t interested in taking pictures of food. So make sure to adjust and tell your companion to first arrange everything so you can take presentable pictures before you guys actually dig in and go all out with the food trip. lol 🙂
Food arrangement also works wonders when it comes to food photography.
This is an example of how we usually take photos of side dishes in a Korean restaurant.
However, if we arrange the side dishes, we can come up with this foodporn… Even if the side dishes are almost the same, the outcome of the pictures relies heavily on the way you take photos.
If you’re still waiting for the meat to arrive at your table or you’re still waiting for the meat to be cooked, take that opportunity to take photos of the side dishes for your blog or social media.
TIP#8: USE SPEEDY FACIAL UNLOCK
Taking the best food shot is good but if you have hungry companions with you, this can prove to be a difficult task especially if you keep forgetting your password or your fingers are a little greasy or dirty. Having a feature such as a Speedy facial unlock can help you a lot especially if people around you are raring to dig in and destroy the precious plating of the food you ordered.
Speedy facial unlock is one of the best features of OPPO F5.
Aside from this feature, you can also quickly access the CAMERA option on the Oppo F5 by drawing an O. You need to activate that feature first before you can use it though. It can be found on the Settings Menu under the Gestures and Motion Option.
Just a side note, though this isn’t exactly a tip to taking best food shots, I think this is a really cool function of Oppo F5 that you might want to use in case it’s needed. Aside from this O gesture to open the camera, in case you come across an event or incident where you can’t use your smartphone to take food photos or any photo in general, with Oppo F5, you can make a quick photo even without opening it!
How? You need to go to Settings, then go to Camera Settings. You will see the RAPID SHOOTING FUNCTION, activate it (there would be a green indicator to signify that it’s active) and then you can use your Oppo F5 to immediately take a photo by pressing and holding the middle volume key to take photos. This means that Oppo F5 will take photos discretely. #SPYmode
TIP#9: TAKE NICE CLOSE-UP SHOTS
Taking a close-up shot also makes dishes look more delicious. Below is a seafood pasta from Amare. It didn’t look that cool at first but I appreciated it when I took a photo because of the close-up shot. The taste is very commendable too. 🙂
TIP#10: MAXIMIZE BACKGROUND & USE PROPS
Too much clutter and color can take the attention away from the food. Neutral and wood backgrounds are best. Table designs may be used to add a little flavor but not overpower the food. Take note of the tables used. If it has patterns, made of wood, has cute placemats, or has unique characteristics, make sure to include it on the photo to enhance the style of your food shots. If you’re holding on to the food (ice cream etc), you can adjust the background by looking around you for backgrounds which will complement the food you’re holding.
Backgrounds can also be the scenery or to feature the atmosphere of the restaurant.
Below is a normal photo of a sandwich and fries. It looks delicious but try to look at the second photo.
This is a photo of a sandwich with fries placed on top of a wooden placemat, with side dishes and drinks overlooking the rice terraces in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. The photo also included the flower centerpiece as well as a small signage of the restaurant. Because of the surroundings and the other elements placed near it, the food photo looked refreshing and a whole lot better right? So make sure you include the surroundings and some props next time you take a shot of your favorite dishes.
If the restaurant has a good ambiance, try to capture it using food, beverages, or containers that are kind of unique to that specific restaurant. This captures the identity and gives your food photography a boost even if you’re just taking photos of beverages or small items.
Use food props such as ingredients or to emphasize on the flavor, such as placing chilis on the background to emphasize that the food is spicy. Books or laptops can be placed and used as a background especially if you are only taking a photo of your favorite coffee or tea.
TIP#11: ENHANCE BUT DON’T USE HEAVY FILTERS
Below is a heavily filtered photo. The colors are off and it looks unnatural. Sometimes I see food photos like this on Instagram and I find myself asking, why not show the true colors of the food?
Below is the actual picture. Note how the original color looks better and those who view the photo would be certain that this blueberry cake would have the same color and texture if they actually ordered it. So embrace the real beauty of things.
It’s the same thing for selfies, use smartphones that enhance your beauty but it should still look natural. The Oppo F5 has 20MP advanced A.I. technology that makes sure that you #CaptureTheRealYou!
TIP#12: EXPERIMENT WITH ANGLES
If it has garnishes on it, make sure to include it as a highlight because garnishes are meant to increase the visual impact of food.
You can also rearrange food neatly to emphasize color contrasts and depth composition. I usually do this especially for restaurants who are in a hurry and have less or no consideration for plating.
I changed the angle and took another shot, this time, I focused on the strawberry in the middle. This made the shot a little bit more interesting and the dish looked fuller. See how the quality of the photo changed just from a change in angle and perspective.
TIP#13: RULE OF THIRDS
Below is a photo of the very common “dirty” ice cream.
The picture below is the same picture as above except the rule of thirds was applied. Note how the ice cream looked more enticing and nice to look at if the rule of thirds was applied.
TIP#14: DON’T BE AFRAID TO “CROP”
Below is a seafood pesto pasta which we ordered from Pizza Volante (Baguio). Since the food lacked color, it looked bland and unappetizing.
But if I were to “crop” it and show just a portion of the dish (center of the dish plus a little of the garlic bread), it looked more presentable and enticing right? So don’t worry if you can’t take a photo of the whole dish.
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This blog post is an entry to a blog contest sponsored by Oppo PH and Nuffnang PH. Oppo phone images are owned by Oppo PH. Some images here are properties of their respective owners. No Copyright infringement