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.

Photo of Liz Della Croce

Hi, I’m Liz!

Hey there, I’m Liz Della Croce and I’m thrilled to have you here! My aim is to motivate and ignite your passion for cooking amazing meals for your loved ones. I believe in the power of real, wholesome ingredients that are bursting with flavor and won’t break the bank. Whether it’s a traditional Lebanese recipe from my family or a culinary creation from across the globe, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that nutritious food can be exciting, affordable, and easy to prepare.

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27 responses to “6 Tips for Taking Food Photos with Your iPhone”

  1. NapaCasual Avatar
    NapaCasual

    Do you have an auxiliary light that you use?

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Nope

  2. Tatiana Avatar
    Tatiana

    Do you attach a lenses to your iphone camera? I have been looking into those, if so what kind?

    Thanks!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I’ve never done that before but I have heard of people doing that!

  3. Kelly Avatar
    Kelly

    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. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh awesome!!! Enjoy!

  4. Kate Avatar
    Kate

    Cool! Great tips. I need to check out those apps!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I hope you like them!!!

  5. Andrea Escobar Avatar
    Andrea Escobar

    Wow. Had no idea you used an Iphone. This was a great post. Thanks for the tips. Helps a lot!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I’m so glad it was helpful Andrea!!

  6. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It Avatar
    Marina @ A Dancer’s Live-It

    As a poor college student who can’t afford a pro camera, I LOVE these tips! Everything is shot on my iPhone! I’ll definitely have to download Snap Seed and Big Lens too. Right now I use the Foodie editing app and I love it!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      oh I’m so glad to hear you found this helpful!!! Enjoy the tips!!

  7. Angie | Big Bear's Wife Avatar
    Angie | Big Bear’s Wife

    I love, love, love SnapSeed! It’s literally my favorite phone app for edits!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      It’s so great!!! Just be careful not to over do it – it can be easy to do sometimes. :)

  8. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious Avatar
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious

    Liz,
    That’s interesting about outsourcing your photography. How did you find a local person? (I assume it is a local.) And do you make, say, 5 things in one day and have the person over to photo them all at once, or what?

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      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!

      1. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious Avatar
        Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious

        Thank you Liz, that makes sense!

  9. Patti Avatar
    Patti

    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 :)

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I know SO many people who own DSLR’s but use their iPhones much of the time!! You’re not alone!!

  10. Emma {Emma's Little Kitchen} Avatar
    Emma {Emma’s Little Kitchen}

    Whaaaaat?! Thats insane. Fab tips, I need to up my instagram game for sure. No excuses now!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      haha Shhh don’t tell!! :)

  11. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious Avatar
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    These are incredible tips lady! I often think for overhead shots iPhone does much better than a DSLR. Shooting in natural light is definitely key. I need to check out those apps!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      You know that’s a great point about overhead – I sometimes agree!!

  12. Kelly | Eat Yourself Skinny Avatar
    Kelly | Eat Yourself Skinny

    Such great tips! I never realized all your photos were taken with an iPhone – they’re beautiful!!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Thank you so much Kelly!! Every photo prior to January 2016 is from an iPhone! I started outsourcing my photography this year. :)

  13. Vijay from NoshOn.It Avatar
    Vijay from NoshOn.It

    Wow! I totally had no idea that you didn’t shoot with an SLR. This is your best kept secret!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Don’t tell anyone!! Just kidding. ;) I should note that I hired a photographer this year but every photo prior to January is from an iPhone. :)

Liz Della Croce eating black bean dip

Hi I’m Liz!

Hey there, I’m Liz Della Croce and I’m thrilled to have you here! My aim is to motivate and ignite your passion for cooking amazing meals for your loved ones.