smartphone food photography

Smartphone food photography, how to take better food photos with your smartphone.  

Smartphone food photography. Smartphone cameras have come a long way in a very short time. With the rise of Instagram and Pinterest more people than ever are ditching their digital cameras in favour of their smartphones.  

Let’s start with your phone  

The first key point that I need to make is that if the camera on your smartphone isn’t good, then nothing I can tell you will make your images any better. You need to start with a better phone camera. Pretty much any smartphone made in the last 5 years will have a good enough camera, but the newer the better. I personally favour the cameras on iPhones and Hauwai smartphones.  

Smartphone food photography

Smartphone Foor Photography – Let’s look the apps  


Snapseed is one of my go-to app for on the go photo editing. It’s amazing that it’s free considering all of the professional features it includes. It features a healing tool to let you instantly wipe away any splashes or unwanted crumbs. A selective feature lets you concentrate on specific areas of the photo at once. You can adjust the brightness of just a specific area, which is great for food so sometimes you want to brighten just a section of the image. Best of all, this app won’t cost you a dime! I’m not about paying for a photography editing app, I already pay a small fortune for Photoshop and Lightroom for the year and I’m not spending extra on an app. So, Snapseed is perfect for me.  

Lightroom Mobile  

Lightroom mobile is fantastic, it comes free with the paid plan that I already highly recommend for anyone who wants to edit photos. It’s like having a mini Lightroom in your pocket. It has tonnes of fantastic features to edit your photos exactly how you want them.  The app version obviously isn’t as advanced as the desktop but you can’t really expect all that much from an app, there’s just certain things you would find difficult to do without a mouse. Bu for what it is, an app, its brilliant. 

phone photography

Find good light 

Finding good light is THE single best thing you can do to improve your smartphone food photography. You can have the best camera in the world but if you light sucks so does your photo. Diffused natural light is the best for taking photos, the kind of light you get on an overcast, but still bright day. If you can’t naturally get this light, fake it. Pop a white sheet or a sheet of tracing paper across the window to diffuse the light. By diffusing the light, we want to soften the shadows and spread a softer, more even light on the scene.  

Use props  

Experiment with props, adding props to your scene will and an extra dimension of interest and character to your photo. When thinking about how to prop your scene, think about the story you want to tell, what would naturally be on the table. Are you cooking the dish, so cooking utensils and ingredients would surround the plate? Or, are you eating it, so you may want a glass of wine, a napkin and cutlery?  

Stand up!  

Camera lenses on smartphones are generally wide-angle lenses. Which, means that they will lend themselves to taking overhead photos seen as they can fit a lot into the frame. Which, may account for the rise in popularity of the overhead shot. When you’re in a restaurant, or just out for lunch, if you want to get that perfect shot, don’t be afraid to stand up and take your damn shot! Trust me, the waiters don’t care, and the other guests should concentrate on their own food. If you want to get a fantastic overhead shot, stand up and take it!  

Get down  

Sometimes you need to get down to the foods level, literally. Take advantage of your phones wide angle lens to capture great photos at 90 degrees. The lens should be wide enough for you to get close in and still fit all of the dish in the shot. This works particularly well with burgers or sandwiches, food where all the action goes on, on the side.  

food photography

Use the rule of threes  

Have you ever noticed that in photographs, food is grouped in threes? Even in restaurants, appetizers are also served in threes? After working in restaurants for over 9 years, I can confidently tell you that this is not done to simply infuriate diners. Sure, it’s definitely a consequence, but odd numbers are seen as being more appealing to the eye. 

You can replicate this in your food images by creating triangles and by grouping food in threes. By creating triangles, I don’t mean that you have to carve out that burger into a triangle. I mean place items in the frame in a triangular shape so that if the viewer connected the dots, it would form a triangle. This technique helps the viewer navigate the image, instead of focusing on one element, their eyes are drawn from one element to the next, ending back at where they began, and hopefully, repeating the process. This helps them to take in the full image.  

Adding groups of three to your images is simple. Instead of photographing 4 cupcakes, photograph three. This also works with garnishes, keep them in little groups of three around the scene. This will work for any types of garnishes from fruit to crumbs. 

the ultimate guide to food photography

Use movement  

Another way to add interest to your images is to add a sense of movement. Drizzling syrup over pancakes or having a fork full of food as if someone is taking a bite. This adds to the realism of the image.  

Have a look at your dish and think about what movement would naturally happen. You could have a hand sprinkling salt or a pepper grinder sprinkling pepper grinds. There are endless opportunities available with each dish, you just have to get creative. 

So, there you have it, my top tips for improving your smartphone photography, for more top food photography tips, subscribe to receive you free guide! 

For more tips check out my series on food photography or my Pinterest.  

Sarah xx