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5 Tips for Drool-Worthy Food Photos

Posted November 3, 2014 in Consumer, Lifestyle & Fun, Smartphones, Tips by 0

Food photography is no longer restricted to professionals with a studio, SLR cameras and tweezers to adjust sesame seeds on a salad. As cameras on smartphones get better sensors and more megapixels, more and more individuals are snapping pictures of their meals. Most of us take a quick food photo for memory sake or to share with friends before we’re about to dig in. But some have made it their career as bloggers and social media mavens that specialize in the art of “food phoneography” by taking food photos with their smartphones.


Being the go-to source for all things photography, Henry’s has noticed this trend and regularly offers food phoneography classes at their School of Imaging. Recently, they hosted “The Art of Food Phoneography 101” event at Thoroughbred Food & Drink. The night was filled with top notch photography tips and delectable eats, making it the ideal event to refine one’s food phoneography skills. The contemporary eatery was buzzing with energy and excitement as food bloggers, editors and reporters filled the tables while photography expert and manager of Henry’s School of Imagining, Ren Bostelaar, led the presentation. Ren, who is no stranger to the Bell team, has led phoneography classes on our campus and previously shared his top tips for taking great photos with smartphones on this blog.


Whether you are just taking food photos for fun or want to get serious about food phoneography, here are the top five tips that Ren shared during the event to ensure outstanding, drool inducing food photos:

1)      Play with Perspectives

Most people take their food photos when they are sitting down, about to devour their meal and as a result  a majority of the food photos end up being taken from the diner’s eye level. Stand out by adjusting the angle of the shot and offer different perspectives.

Try getting up close and personal to your food and hunch closer to the plate.


Alternatively, try to stand up tall and grab a bird’s eye view of the table. You might want to save this trick for a cooking session at home, unless you are in a similar setting as this event where people were saving ample amount time for pictures before consuming their meals. Otherwise, you wouldn’t want to keep your dining companions salivating and starving for too long.


2)      Find the Right Light

Often times enjoying a gastronomic feast at a well-established eatery doesn’t come with the best lighting. Restaurants are soft lit and diners are eager to turn on their flash. This in theory should offer brighter and clearer photos but in actuality, it washes out the picture. Ren challenges the attendees to turn off flash, stabilize their cameras on tables and focus on areas of the frame for a crisper photo. If you’re up for a challenge and you’re in the presence of equally enthusiastic food photography lovers, you can try leveraging candles and flashes from other people’s cameras or phones instead of turning on your own when taking pictures.


3)      Adjust the Setting

Before taking food photos, adjust the plate, cutlery and cups and make sure everything in the frame is meant to be there. Think about what each element can bring to the photo. Also think about the setting surrounding your table. If dining out at a restaurant with large windows and natural light, try requesting a seat there for brighter and clearer photos. To get even more creative, think about parts of the restaurant that can make a good backdrop for the photo.

4)      Add a Personal Touch

Traditional food photography has often times shied away from having the eating process captured. But as mobile photography boomed and Instagramers experimented with food photography, more and more photos have incorporated the eater’s hands and utensils as well as half eaten food. By showing the diner’s hands and utensils, it will add a more natural and personal touch to your food photos. Not to mention this allows your friends to enjoy their meals while you gain a more rustic flare on your photos as you subtly hone your food phoneography skills.


5)      Editing is Key

What sets great food photos apart is the extra time spent in post processing. Traditional photo editing can take hours and require expensive software, but within the phoneography space, editing is only a matter of minutes. Ren suggests using VSCOcam over Instagram for a more analogue and less cartoonish touch to filter and edit photos. Users can download the app for free and play with many aspects of their photo like heaviness of filters, brightness of exposure, degree of contrast, and so much more.


The bottom line

The reason for the boom in food phoneography is due to the fact that smartphones have made the photo taking process easy and convenient, and that is the true essence of phoneography. At the end of it all, meals are meant to be enjoyed and the food photo taking process should be at the convenience and enjoyment of all diners. So get out there, capture your food memories, take your taste buds on adventures and bon appetit!

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