Phone Food Photography

People constantly ask how I take my photos, the camera equipment situation, the apps I use to edit so I decided to share.

I only use my iPhone.
I never use the flash.
Basic photography knowledge is a must (composition, editing, lighting, angles, etc.)

Nowadays a fancy camera is unnecessary for food photos. I’ve collected random photos from FB and Insta and decided to dump them here to show you. Brace yourselves for food porn overload. NSFHP (Not Safe for Hungry People)

Petto di Pollo al Pangrattato  (Herb panko crusted free range chicken breast with gregola pasta and mushroom carbonara, white truffle oil)
Petto di Pollo al Pangrattato at Basta Pasta, NYC
(Herb panko crusted free range chicken breast with gregola pasta and mushroom carbonara, white truffle oil)

Can you believe that photo was taken by an iPhone? It’s edited with Snapseed (brightness, saturation, contrast, warmth and the blur effect called bokeh, is achieved with tilt shift). Get the app here.

Seared Kamakura beef, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, chive, and dollop of uni. Kuon, Tokyo
Chili crab and coconut prawns. Jumbo Seafood, Singapore
Yuzu (Japanese citrus) broth ramen with char-siu. Afuri, Tokyo

Playing with angles is fun — I see a lot of people taking shots from above like this (you have to stand up. I’ve even seen people stand on chairs which I never do. Frankly, I find standing on restaurants furniture rude):

A super healthy pile of vegetables for brunch at a funky venue. Mirror, Tokyo

I don’t take photos while standing much because it’s embarrassing, but the photos sure do come out pretty:

Typical latte, black coffee. Random hidden cafe in Omotesando, Tokyo

You can also get artsy with iPhones too. Like these pulled from my Insta (click to enlarge):

And even create a series like I did from my breakfasts / lunches when I was half working, half playing in the Hamptons:

When the lighting is bad, but I still have to share, I take photos super close to the dish. I want to believe the photos are somewhat presentable. Keyword here being somewhat.

Blue Ribbon, is super dark. And Jeffrey’s lighting situation is a bit unfortunate (I think they use a type of florescent bulbs. Yikes.)

Jeffrey’s Grocery in the West Village and Blue Ribbon on Sullivan in SoHo by the way are two of my favorite places to eat in NY. The food is of course delicious (the fried chicken and bone marrow at Blue Ribbon are musts) but more than the tasty food, I know the staff. They know me. And it’s comfortable, almost like home.

But the most important thing to remember, is that food photography should be fun! Many people get stressed out about taking the perfect shot, but in this age of instant gratification trained by social media, people don’t really analyze other people’s photos. I doubt people even take more than a minute to look at the photos.

Even if you’re a professional photographer and take crappy photos here and there, the Internet doesn’t get mean or nit-picky. (I know. I worked for National Geographic.)

So let loose, have fun, and most of all: enjoy your meal!
Cold food sucks.

Further reading:
Food Photography with an iPhone via ohmyveggies ← this one is mega helpful
Food Photography Tips and Tricks via Condé Nast Traveler
How to take great photos in restaurants via Bon Appetit
Taking good photos of food on your phone via Inside Scoop
10 Tips for Better iPhone Photo via Craftsy

…there are so many tutorials; just keep Googling.

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