We have some new and exciting projects coming to Baked this year, including a new feature we’re working on for tutorials! We’re a buzz with different baking tips and tricks to share with you, along with a few DIY’s for how you can shoot your baked creations and share them with the world. In this first tutorial I’ll break down a few of my favourite pointers that I like to share with anyone who wants to step up their food photography game. These 7 Tips for how to take better smartphone food photos are simple and practical, and they’ll help you take the most mouthwatering photos.
1) Clean Your Camera Lens
Obvious, right? While this may seem like a funny step, I always like to wipe off my camera with my shirt or scarf before I even attempt to take a photo. Tossing your phone in your bag or pocket will lead to it getting dirty, covered in strange pocket lint, or greasy from fingerprints. It’s best to leave this gunk behind.
2) Use The Camera Grid
Another useful and simple step to take before snapping a mouthwatering photo of your latest creation, is turning on your phones grid. I find this helpful for both composition and ensuring that items are straight. To do this on an iPhone, open up “settings” then scroll down to “camera” and turn on “grid”. On an android, open up the camera app then the settings and you’ll see a “grid on” button.
3) Find Your Light Source
Weather you’re at home or out and about, look for natural light as best you can. The warmth or cold light produced from artificial light sources can be hard to combat in editing, and besides, natural light gives food that extra sparkle. If you’re out to eat, ask the waiter if you can be seated near a window, or like I did in the photo above, sit outside if they light isn’t too harsh. When at home, find a window sill, or area of your home that has nice natural light – even the fire escape will do.
4) Get Level
No matter if you’re taking a top down shot or a profile, you’ll want to get it as good as you can before editing the final product. One of the key things to “get right” is making sure your photos are as level as possible. This means getting a top down shot as parallel to the ground as possible and making sure that any lines in the photo (like a wall or counter top) appear as straight as possible. These can be fixed in editing (using the x + y-skew in Apps like VSCO), but be weary because that can end up cropping a large area of your finished photo.
5) Know Your Angles
Depending on what you’re shooting, try to play around with three simple angles: top down, profile, or 3/4. Most foods won’t look good in all of these, so get used to what angles certain foods look best at. We know from example that cakes, burgers, ice cream cones, and bread looks great shot on profile. 3/4 angle is my favourite for things like bowl food, cocktails, or a stack of pancakes. Top down is the best friend to your cute latte, glorious pizza, or tray of warm cookies.
As we can see below, profile (far left) doesn’t work for the coffee here (too much distracting background, and it kind of does a disservice to the food. The 3/4 angle (middle) is better, but the cup looks weirdly tall and the plate looks like its about to side off the table. Finally, top down (far right) looks like a winner.
6) The Right Exposure
Exposure is again something that can be doctored after the photo is taken, but it’s best to get as-close-to-right on the initial snap. Most phone cameras will allow you to set the exposure of a photo by simply tapping on the screen when the camera app is open (you’ll usually see a little sun icon). If you move this icon around to different areas of the frame you’ll see the exposure change. The photo on the far left shows the exposure moved to the brightest area of the frame, which washes out the photo. The one in the middle has the exposure placed in the darkest area of the frame, leaving an okay photo but a little dark. If you had to choose between a photo that was over exposed or one that was under, choose the under as it contains more information and more to work with. The final photo (on the far right) has an exposure somewhere in the middle which is just perfect. Total case of Goldilocks syndrome.
You don’t always just have to use the camera app to shoot photos. Other apps like VSCO allow you to choose both where the exposure of the photo will be as well as the focus. This is an extra step I like to take if there is a busy photo with lots going on.
I hope theses tips were helpful! We’ll be sure to share more tips and tricks to come, including more on how to edit and style our photos, as well as our favourite apps.
If you use any of these tips, let us know on Insta by tagging @baked_theblog + #bakedtheblog!