Lately I’ve had a few people ask me, “What camera do you use?”, and they are always shocked when I confess I use my iPhone 4S (I know, so outdated!). But when I reveal my secrets, they begin to understand how it is possible to make your phone photos look professional. So today I am going to spill my secrets for amazing iPhone food photos with you guys :)
My photography setup
So, majority of my iPhone food photos are taken in this light box. I don’t know if, technically, “light box” is the right word, because it’s not really like any of the other light boxes I’ve seen (check out this tutorial on Oh She Glows). But it works for me, and hopefully this will help someone else who wants to make something similar :)
Basically, my husband whacked together this box using some old board – it has 3 sides and a base. He also attached a light stand but I don’t tend to use that one much anymore as the light is too harsh – more about lighting shortly. He did make this box using white board but as you probably know by now, I like black backdrops, so later he cut up some black board to fit in the 3 sides (I currently only use 1 black board at the back, as pictured).
I painted a bit of board with black, grey and white to get a bit of a rustic look happening – I thought a black base would be too boring!
Sometimes I get some nice natural light happening in the house, even in my light box (or should I call it, black box?) so I work with that. If I’m doing an overhead shot, I sometimes just take out the base and set that on my dining table for maximum great lighting :D
However, I do tend to do a lot of photography at night. Currently I use just one light, facing away from my subject and reflecting off the white wall (see the photo above to see the position of my light). I’ve experimented with a lot of different lighting but I’ve found this gives the most natural look – it’s indirect, but still bright enough for a quality photo. However, I encourage you to experiment too :)
Regardless of whether you use a light box or not, lighting is a major factor in achieving beautiful iPhone food photos.
- Avoid direct light (either directly from the sun or artificial lighting).
- Opt for natural, indirect lighting where possible.
- Experiment with using a reflector if using artificial light (try using a white wall, white cardboard, etc.)
This sub-topic is huge, so I’m just going to touch VERY briefly on this:
- Take care with the composition of your photos. I like to follow the rule of thirds (but remember, rules are made to be broken!).
- Use ingredients, garnishes, fresh flowers, etc. to style your photos.
- Go op shopping for vintage cutlery and crockery, or invest in some plain white dishes. Patterned dishes can detract attention away from your food so stick with plain coloured dishes.
- Get creative with props – a well placed spoon can bring perfection to a boring bowl of soup, for example.
The best editing apps for iPhone food photos
I actually made a video that will guide you through how I edit my iPhone photos! Editing your photos can really bring the colours to life – it’s worth the extra 5-10 minutes to get that “wow” factor.
[On a side note – I’ve just made a Youtube channel (I think this is the link to the channel?), and I’d really appreciate your support by subscribing and giving me a *thumbs up*! Thanks guys!]
So, I use 3 photography apps for nearly every photo I post to Instagram. I’ve used A LOT of photography apps over the past few years, and these are the ones I have found give the best results for iPhone food photos.
Snapseed <<< affiliate link
This is my first stop for editing. Every photo that gets published on the blog or Instagram has been edited through Snapseed at the bare minimum. Here are the edits I do:
Often I begin with a crop and/or straighten. Nothing irks me more than seeing a photo with a wonky horizon! (Note – on the video I cropped the photo later on in the edit, it doesn’t really matter what order you do this in :) )
Next, I go to “Details” and set both “Sharpening” and “Structure” to +60.
Next, I go to “Drama” and set both “Filter” and “Saturation” to +50. Sometimes I don’t set the saturation so high, particularly on photos with a lot of red, so play around with it until it looks good to you.
As I use a dark background, I often like to use the “Vignette” filter and raise the vignette to about +70-80. You can change the focal point if your subject isn’t directly in the centre, and also adjust the size of the focal point.
Sometimes I also feel the need to make some adjusts in the “Tune Image” tab. I often lower the warmth (to about -25 usually), and sometimes I’ll adjust the brightness slightly. Again, just play around with these until your photo looks good to you!
Big Lens <<< affiliate link
I use Big Lens in most of my photos these days, I find it really makes a huge difference in taking an iPhone photo to the next level! I use an aperture of F1.8 and I use the circle Lens shape most often, but just play around with it until you’re happy with it.
Picframe <<< affiliate link
I generally only use Picframe if I’m putting this photo on Instagram. I use this app to add a watermark of my Instagram username – you can do this with any app that adds words to images, but I use Picframe because I paid for it a few years ago and I like to get my money’s worth ;)
Please share this post if you found it helpful :)
And leave your comments below if you have any questions!
- What apps do you use to edit your iPhone food photos?
- Do you have a special setup to take your food photos (any other homemade light boxes out there?)?
- How many of you exclusively use your iPhone to take photos for your blog/Instagram, like me?