6 Tips for Taking Food Photos with Your iPhone

Six tips for capturing beautiful food photographs with a mobile device and improving your iPhone food photography skills.

6 Tips for iPhone Food Photography - tips for capturing beautiful images of your food with an iPhone

Let’s be real, you know it’s not just bloggers taking photos of their food these days. Am I right? Whether you’re grabbing lunch with friends, cooking dinner at home or out on a date night, everyone wants to capture that killer food photo to post on Instagram or SnapChat. (Oh hey – do you follow me on SnapChat? @TheLemonBowl)

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Magic-Shell-The-Lemon-Bowl

Well guess what? I’m right there with you. In fact, it’s time I let you all in on a little secret: up until just a few months ago, every photo featured on this website was taken with an iPad or iPhone! The truth? I don’t even own a DSLR camera. As a result, I am always asked the same question: “How do you take such beautiful photos of your food with an iPhone??” Let’s get right into it.

Pumpkin Pecan Whole Wheat Pancakes - The Lemon Bowl

Shoot in Natural Light: 

In my early years of blogging, I would cook dinner and shoot my food once the sun had set using the super yellow artificial lighting in my kitchen. The result? No bueno. The minute I changed around my schedule and started photographing food in daylight hours my food photos instantly improved. If you’re out to eat and want to capture a beautiful photo of your food for Instagram simply look for a table near a window and try to get there before sunset. Whatever you do, do not use the flash.

Sausage Kale and Feta Frittata - The Lemon Bowl

Style Your Food:

A little food styling goes a long way when it comes to photographing food with an iPhone. Sprinkle on fresh herbs, drizzle a little Sriracha or use a colorful platter to add a pop of color. You don’t have to go over the top, you just want to put a little thought into making the food look as beautiful as it tastes. After all, people eat with their eyes first.

7-Layer Middle Eastern Hummus Dip - The Lemon Bowl

Choose the Best Angle:

In general there are three types of angles for photographing food: overhead (sometimes called birds eye), 3/4 angle or straight-on. Each shot is ideal for different types of photos. For example, if you’re photographing a juicy burger with lots of tasty toppings, straight-on photos will allow you to see all of the ingredients. On the other hand, if you’re photographing a beautifully garnished platter, overhead shots will give people the perfect visual to see what’s in the dish. Play around with all three to see what works best.

Keep the Shot Up Close and Tight:

iPhones are best for up close, tight photos without huge, pulled back settings. The good news is that you don’t need to worry about elaborate food styling over overly stylized scenes because really it’s all about the food, right?

Banana Yogurt Muesli Parfaits - The Lemon Bowl

Never Use Zoom:

No matter what, never use the zoom when photographing food with your iPhone. Whenever you use the digital zoom, you reduce the quality of the image. Instead, just move yourself closer to the food.

Greek Marinated Lamb Chops with Tzatziki - The Lemon Bowl

Edit Like the Pros:

The secret to a professional-looking iPhone food photo is all in the editing. Two of my favorite apps to use are SnapSeed and Big Lens. SnapSeed is completely free and allows you to brighten the photo, reduce shadows, boost saturation, and much more. Big Lens is $0.99 and is especially great because it provides aperture control allowing you to change the size of the focal point and blur out the background like you would with a DSLR camera.

Ok now it’s your turn fellow iPhone food photographers! What are your best tips for beautiful food photography? I’m all ears!

Your fork is waiting.

27 thoughts on “6 Tips for Taking Food Photos with Your iPhone”

  1. I was thinking about buying a camera but really didn’t want to spend the mondey right now. I just bought the Big Lens App, thanks for the advice

    1. Hi Dorothy – We shoot twice a month and typically photograph 6-8 recipes per shoot. He is a local photographer that I’ve worked with for personal and professional photos for 4 years so it just worked out for him to start photographing my food as well. I hope that helps!

    2. Great post! I own a DSLR and I still use my iPhone 95% of the time :)
      I love the app Camera+. I’ll be sure to check out the apps you suggested.

      Happy shooting :)

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