As social media has exploded in popularity in recent years, we have also seen a drastic increase in food photographers. These artists often use Instagram and Facebook as platforms to share their work, and some creatives have even gone so far as to dedicate their channels entirely to iPhone photography (also labeled “iPhonography” by some).
1. Simplify your compositions.
Since iPhone photography is generally created to be shared online via social media platforms, Hollingsworth prefers to create simple, eye-catching compositions, rather than waste time incorporating details that most viewers probably won’t catch.
“The most inspiring shots are the simple ones,” said Hollingsworth. “It’s pointless here to get too complicated with your shot as those fine details will generally go unnoticed.”
2. Try shooting from overhead.
Many iPhone food photographers use the three-quarter front view angle in their work, but many of Hollingsworth’s images are made with an overhead viewpoint. This perspective is also called the “top,” “top down,” or “bird’s eye” view.
“The Front view is when the camera is 45 degrees to the subject… the same view we see when we sit down at a table to eat,” said Hollingsworth. “I like the overhead view for its graphic appeal.”
3. Use natural light.
As with portrait photography, natural light is usually much more flattering than artificial light for food shots.
“Ask to be seated near a window. Use your white napkin to ‘bounce’ back light into the shadow side.”
4. Style your photos artfully.
Styling is incredibly important in food photography — especially when you’re aiming to create simple yet effective compositions as discussed in the first tip. Make sure that every aspect of a particular dish and your table setting complement each other.
“Styling is any intentional arrangement or placements of elements in the scene to make it more lyrical,” said Hollingsworth. “[It] can either make or break a food photography.”
5. Photograph food at room temperature.
Since most foods look most appetizing at room temperature, you’ll need to work fast to get a great shot before your meal cools down too much.
“You have a very small window. Shoot as soon as it is plated.”
6. Don’t depend on filters.
If you’re depending on filters to make your food photos look good, chances are, you aren’t making great images. Hollingsworth rarely uses filters when he edits his work because he wants his work to look as natural as possible.
“Remember, you are trying to make your food look as natural as possible,” said Hollingsworth. “Wonky filters make food look anything but natural.”
7. Utilize a tripod indoors.
Hollingsworth uses a tripod to create almost every indoor food shot to be certain that he is capturing the scene with uncompromising sharpness. His go-to image stabilization kit includes a MeFOTO RoadTrip Travel Tripod Kit with an added SideKick360 Plus Smartphone Adapter.
8. Control the white balance.
As you tweak your camera app’s settings to photograph your meal, be sure to adjust the white balance so that the dish looks as natural and neutral as possible. For maximum control, Hollingsworth recommends shooting with Camera+.
“The iPhone camera bundles exposure, focus, and white balance together. I use [the] Camera+ app for manual control over my white balance.”
9. Slightly overexpose your food photos.
Where food generally looks best in bright, natural light, Hollingsworth actually likes to take things a step further and photograph dishes with a bit “too much” light within the iPhone’s 8-stop dynamic range.
“I like to overexpose my food shots slightly so they look more modern and contemporary,” said Hollingsworth. “You do this on an iPhone [by] first locking your exposure on [the subject and] then using the exposure compensation slider to brighten to your taste.”
10. Focus viewers’ attention to a specific point.
Through your iPhone’s tap-to-focus feature, you can easily direct viewers’ attentions to any specific point in your image. Don’t just rely on auto focus!
“When I shoot food, I never use auto-focus. I always ‘tap-to-focus’ [on] the part that I want to direct the viewer[‘s] attention to.”
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