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How to take epic food pictures on your phone

August 2022

How to take epic food pictures on your phone
Robyn Columbus

Robyn Columbus

5 minute read

Nine tips for great looking food images

Are you that foodie who insists on snapping pictures of a beautiful flat white and blueberry pancakes? Make the effort worth it and up your #myfirsttable game with these tips for better food snaps.

1. Whenever possible, shoot in natural light

Overcast days are perfect for taking great looking food pictures. You don’t want bright sunlight and you don’t want yellowy artificial light if you can help it. Pick a window seat with soft, natural light for the best results.

2. Take control of the shadows

We’re not talking about the supernatural here. Soft shadows are more flattering, too much contrast will create ugly pictures. Grab a white piece of paper (or the menu) and use it to reflect light onto your food for softer shadows.

3. Background beauty

Avoid fussy, colourful backgrounds. A neutral or muted background will bring out the details of your food better. Dark-coloured food looks best on a dark background and light-coloured food looks best on a light background. Fluffy white rice will look great on a light table cloth and that chocolate ice cream will look all the more chocolatey against a dark backdrop. A wooden background is your go-to, it compliments most foods.

4. Shoot from above

Shooting from above enables you capture all the beautiful shapes and details of your dish. Unless it’s a funky, multi-coloured smoothie in a glass – snap this from the side, on a neutral background to capture those layers! N.B. – there’s no need to stand on the chairs in a restaurant. Don’t be that person. Standing up to shoot from above will be just fine.

5. Think about the composition

You’re creating a masterpiece here! Think about empty and negative space in your picture. Arrange the dishes, cutlery and table pieces to create a composition that’s not too cluttered and is pleasing to the eye.

6. Get technical

Adjust the exposure, or brightness on your iPhone as you are taking the image by tapping the area you’d like to be sharp. This sets the focus. From here, you can slide you finger up and down the screen to make the image brighter or darker. You’ll get the best results if there’s not too much contrast in your image.

7. Post production

Enhance the colours in post-production – this can easily be done with a mobile app like Lightroom or Foodie.

8. Enjoy your food

Remember, a great dish is for sustenance and pleasure, not just your Instagram feed.

9. People

Here at First Table we're all about people sharing memorable food experiences together. Call us selfish, but we would love to see you and your friends, family and loved ones enjoying a delicious meal and trying new cuisines. 

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