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:


Even if you follow every food photography tip you’ll read in this blog, if you don’t have the proper tool (a good smartphone) to begin with, you will still end up with food photos that are not as enticing as you want them to be.

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.

IMPORTANT: Having the most suitable smartphone is the key to the best food shots!

Below are the OPPO F5 Specs and Features which comes handy for Food Photography:


One of the most overlooked basic thing you need to do when doing food photography is to check if your smartphone is clean and can take clear pictures.

If your smartphone’s camera has fingerprint marks or other marks and smudges on it, no matter how hard you try, you will never get a good and clear shot of any food.


IMPORTANT: Before proceeding with the food photography, I suggest that you check and clean your smartphone first especially the lens part for maximum clarity of food shots.
WARNING: Make sure that you use cleaning items that do not damage the smartphone’s lens.


Amazing food shots can only be obtained if details are clear and crisp and blurriness of the subject is kept to a minimum. Ensure the clarity of each food shot with a good shooting position.

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.

WARNING: Limit flat lay photography for “professional food photographers/bloggers” since some restaurants do not allow customers to stand on chairs, etc. as a safety precaution. For casual food photo posting on social media, standing is more than enough to capture mouth-watering food in photos.


Bokeh is defined as the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced. In layman’s terms, it is the blurred background you see when you decide to focus on an object in front of the background. This is common for photos produced using DSLR’s. 

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 except this time, I raised the ABALONE to get a good close-up shot. Now, there’s something to be intrigued about right? This was the first time I got to eat abalone and this picture actually got my friends curious so they asked me about it. The bokeh effect was also heightened since the abalone was very near to me. Bokeh is cool but you have to find a smartphone capable of doing it without fail.

IMPORTANT: An example of a good phone which has the Bokeh feature is the Oppo F5. This is great if you want a food selfie in a restaurant with many dining customers and you want the background blurred a little.

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.


WARNING: Remember which hand is touching the food and wipe your “selfie hand” before using your smartphone for selfies.


Lighting is especially important because dark shadows can be a hindrance to taking instagrammable food photos. Poor lighting makes puts emphasis on shadows making food look bland and the colors too dark.

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.

IMPORTANT:  NATURAL LIGHT IS BEST! If you have an option to choose where to sit, look for a location near windows with natural lighting or just dine al fresco if there’s a lot of sunshine in the area. 
WARNING: Good lighting is important if you’re going to take photos of food while you’re raising and eating it, because dark surroundings will give your photo a grainy effect so it’s important for phones to have a priority focus especially when it’s dark.That’s why I’m recommeding the OPPO F5, because it has this kind of feature especially if you want to take selfies with your food.


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 have shutter counts which depreciates and stop working after a specific limit.

Photos taken using phones don’t have a specified limit so don’t be afraid to take multiple shots at different angles. 

IMPORTANT: Even just a small adjustment in the angle changes the aesthetics of a photo. It would be great to have more than a couple of shots to choose from.  This also eliminates the possibility of not having another option but a blurred photo because of a slight movement of the hand while taking the photo.
WARNING: One concern about taking multiple shots is the phone’s memory. Make sure you have enough memory on your phone and you can instantly post food images on your social media account using the sim that has data allowance. Some people have more than 1 sim card and the problem with some phones is that they only have 2 slots for both sim and memory card, which makes it difficult for some since you have to switch sims or use a different phone which is a big hassle. So the three slot tray is a very useful feature for phones. Oppo F5 has this feature and you can also expand your multimedia memory to a whopping 256GB.


As much as possible, don’t place messy or used utensils on the plates, it looks unprofessional because the utensils seem like clutter. Also, make sure that plates are clean from smudges.
If you are to use utensils in the shot, use it as part of the background to avoid food photos that have too much bare or white background OR to highlight some aspects of the food, like lifting ingredients so people viewing the photo can appreciate the food more.

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.


IMPORTANT: Check whether the plating is messy, and use disposable table napkins or tissues to make it as clean as possible so the resulting photo would look better and more presentable. You can also “rearrange” some of the ingredients so that it looks better in the photo. 
WARNING: Imperfections makes the food photo look messy or lacking.


Feeling pressured to take fast photos has an effect on the quality of photos. We tend to have shaking hands and this impacts the blurriness of our food shots. This situation is aggravated when it takes a lot of time to open our smartphone and launching the camera app.

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

IMPORTANT: OPPO F5 has a really fast Face Recognition feature. Some who reviewed the Oppo F5 have reported that it’s the fastest they’ve encountered. It takes about 300 milliseconds to unlock in bright lighting conditions and just 800 milliseconds in darker lighting. Talk about fast!
WARNING: Taking photos for too long ruins the flavor of the food (crispiness diminishes, soup becomes cold and vegetables won’t able to retain their freshness, etc), so it’s important to be fast but have high-quality photos so your smartphone really makes a big difference. 


Get a close-up and see more details of the food. Some food are best photographed in close-up mode so you can see the ingredients and details. You need to have a good camera phone though to maximize the macro mode and have clear details.
Other types of food require you to actually take a bite of them so that you can take a photo of what’s inside the food, rather than taking the photo as is. A good example of these kinds of food is those with wrappings such as Pinoy favorite lumpia, lumpiang sariwa, etc.

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. 🙂 


IMPORTANT: You need a smartphone with a digital zoom function that does not pixelate the image, OPPO F5 has his feature. Other phones have the pinching gestures to zoom in or out not knowing exactly how much you’ve zoomed in, but for Oppo F5, you can select whether you want it zoomed 2x or using its original size (1x), and if you hold the 1x/2x button, angular option will appear to let you choose exactly how much you want to zoom in. This is good if you want to have the same zoom distance for multiple photos.   


Aside from the food itself, it’s important to look into the surroundings and background to ensure the food appears more enticing and there’s less distraction.
Rather than take a picture of the food solo or with random background, position the food in a way that it captures other food or “props” in the background. 

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.

IMPORTANT:  Be mindful of what’s in your background when taking food photos. You might take a clear shot of a photo but what if the background is not too nice? So make sure that before you take a shot, you have a clear view of the big picture or overall look including the background. 
WARNING: Don’t let the background or props overpower the food.


Color filters are nice but it’s still best to capture the rich and natural color of the food.
I only edit photos to enhance the original color (by giving it more brightness, contrast and vibrance) but as much as possible, I try to make it look as natural as possible so that readers and followers won’t have a sense of false advertisement when they actually order the food and compare it to my posts.

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!

IMPORTANT: Use a smartphone which automatically brings our the best colors of food such as the Oppo F5. 
WARNING: It’s best not to use filters on food photos unless you’re aiming for a creative or artistic (not so natural) shot.


Experiment with angles. Don’t take normal-looking photos that looks like you just took a photo hurriedly before you took a bite. Capture the essence of the food.

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.

For example, below is a serving of fruits (dessert) that we had when we visited Sanur Beach, Bali. This is from my own perspective while looking down at the fruits.

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. 


IMPORTANT: Don’t be ashamed to take food photos, if you need to elevate the food a little to give it more aesthetics and definition, do so. Don’t be afraid to add backgrounds. There are no laws against taking photos of the food you ordered and paid for. #CaptureTheRealYou  
WARNING: Be careful when choosing angles and try to shoot at different angles not just one so you have more choices later on. It would be a waste if you’ve photographed food using a bad angle because you can’t turn back time once you’ve started eating.


Rule of Thirds. In photography, this is perhaps the most emphasized rule because it does give a special umph to your photos, not only just for food photography but for photography in general.
Ensure that the background though is not too bare or overly decorated so that there won’t be a lot of distraction to the main feature of your photo.

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. 


WARNING: Don’t use the rule of thirds for ALL your food photos since it would look monotonous and boring if all the food is photographed using the same style.


Don’t be afraid to crop. Some food photos look better when they’re not shown as a whole. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to crop every food photo you’re going to take, aside from taking the photo of the whole plate, experiment with food cropping.
This “cropping” is great to use when you’re taking photos of food that are placed in very large plates or if the food doesn’t have varied textures that require attention such as some soups, rice, etc. Sometimes, food looks better when you don’t show the whole dish.

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. 

IMPORTANT:  Aside from cropping, make sure to take photos of the whole food too in case you might need it in the future. 
WARNING: When cropping, don’t crop the food in the middle especially if it has garnishing. Crop food photos but always remember it has to be done with a sense of style.

There you have it, 14 tips to make your Food Photography stand out.

I hope these Tips on taking the Best Food Shot would help my readers and followers to take awesome food shots/photos using only their smartphone.


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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 are intended. If you own the photo and you wish for it to be taken down, kindly send the blogger a message using the contact page found on this blog. Most of the images I posted here are mine and taken during our travels. Please do not steal them. Thanks.