Best Tips for Professional Smartphone Food Photography

How to take stunning food photos using smartphones

Smartphone Food Photography


If you’re snapping away at a high shutter speed, you’ll end up with blurred images. That’s because the light-sensitive part of the phone’s camera lens needs a bit of a break every now and then, otherwise it goes into standby mode, which stops working altogether. So, you need to take a few seconds to lower your camera’s shutter speed, which means switching your phone into ‘burst mode’. This helps the camera to keep taking images while it waits for the shutter speed to drop to a lower setting. This can be done by tapping the screen, which then brings up a menu of settings (see image below). The settings you choose here will affect the quality of the image you take. Most likely you’ll be looking to set the camera to ‘Shutter’ mode, which will shoot images every few seconds.

2. Choose the right smartphone camera app

Smartphone Food Photography

A smartphone is the perfect camera for capturing moments, because it’s small and light and can be taken anywhere. But the problem with smartphones is that they’re really limited when it comes to the type of shots they’re capable of taking. For instance, they can’t easily capture food shots. This is because many apps that are designed to make food look great on Instagram won’t be able to adjust your settings quickly enough, to keep your camera focused on the food while the shutter speed is raised. So, you’ll have to find an alternative app, one that’s specially made for this kind of photography. One app worth checking out is Foodpics, which has a great range of filters. These filters will add the same amount of drama to a photo that a real pro photographer would use. Another app worth downloading is Snapseed, which allows you to play with your photo’s appearance in a variety of ways. There are lots of other apps out there that can enhance food photos, including ProCam (for taking great panoramic images), LomoCamera and Fotocraft.

3. Use an external flash

If your smartphone doesn’t have a built-in flash, you can use an external flash to capture the exact moment your phone’s camera senses you’ve snapped. An external flash doesn’t actually do anything apart from adding a bit of extra light to a scene. So, while you’ll be able to get some pretty cool shots, you won’t get any of the amazing effects that you’d see from a professional photographer.

4. Use a tripod

Smartphones are only as good as their weakest link. Your phone’s camera shutter speed, for instance, might only be 1/250th of a second, which is much slower than the shutter speed of a professional DSLR camera. That’s why you’ll want to get a tripod for your smartphone. Tripods come in a variety of sizes and weights, so you’ll need to experiment with the one that’s right for you and the situation you’re in. You’ll also need to make sure that your phone’s camera is pointed upwards, away from the ground, which will help to prevent unwanted movement on the image you’re taking.

5. Use a filter

Filters add a special touch to your photo, giving it a different look from a natural shot. Some of these effects are subtle and others are more dramatic. In order to create a really special effect, you’ll need to use a filter that will give your food a certain amount of drama. A popular choice for food photographers is the Photo Filter Pro app, which will allow you to manipulate the color of your food and alter the mood of your photo.

6. Avoid direct sunlight

Light isn’t the only thing that affects your food shots. As well as using a tripod, you’ll want to avoid direct sunlight, as this will affect the colors of your images. You can also make your food appear darker, by raising the brightness levels. To achieve this, use the slider found at the top of your phone’s screen. You’ll also need to ensure that your phone’s flash is turned off, if you’re planning on shooting food in a bright location.

7. Experiment with different settings

There are plenty of settings to experiment with, so be sure to keep a notebook handy, as you might find a particular setting, or combination of settings, works best for you. You’ll be able to find loads of tutorials online that will guide you through this process, but in the meantime, here are a few to try.

8. Keep things simple

Your smartphone’s camera has only so many settings to work with and you’ll need to get to grips with what each setting does. You can start out by trying a couple of different settings, then work your way through and learn more about what they do.

9. Turn off the flash

A flash adds a little extra light to your photo, but it can cause unwanted shadows. This means that the colors of your food will change, which can result in some interesting looking images.

10. Be patient

You might feel that you’re wasting your time playing around with your smartphone’s camera, when you could be out exploring the world. Don’t be put off. The more you play around, the better you’ll become at food photography.