How to Photograph Food with a Camera Phone

We all know the mantra of the best camera being the camera that you have available with you. Following the same analogy, I decided to dedicate this post to photographing food on camera phones. Let’s face it, our camera phones are with us every step of the way, and I will not be the last person to admit that I use it more than any other device in my household. So, I think it cuts the bill of being “the best camera” when you need one in a jiffy.

Cheese and Cucumber Sandwiches

Although I never seriously thought of shooting food with a camera phone, I got involved in this process by being in a challenge group in Facebook and Instagram. This was a perfect opportunity to see what I can come up with. These social platforms are built on the idea of being connected to your audience in an instant. Boy, it was instant alright! I had to report every single food I ate throughout the day. I had only minutes (if not seconds) to style, photograph and edit the photos I took. I shall add that there is a tiny leverage that will work to your advantage. For obvious reasons, social media is a little more forgiving than a professional photography blog. You can take a breather when your downsized and well-sharpened photos do not get judged harshly for being so out of focus and blurry.

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iPhone 5 Camera Review

About a month ago, Apple announced the iPhone 5. It was released on September 21 and I was fortunate enough to receive mine that day, just in time for a trip to Seattle. This was not just a new iPhone for me, it was my first iPhone. The excitement of having the newest iPhone in my hands and an entire week to explore and photograph Seattle was almost more than I could handle. With a fully charged battery and comfortable shoes on my feet, I set out to see what the iPhone 5′s camera had to offer us photographers.

iPhone 5 Camera

1) Initial Impressions

The first time I used the Camera app, I couldn’t believe how fast and responsive it was. Coming from an older Android phone (Galaxy S), the difference was extreme. It’s fast to open, focuses quickly and offers almost instant image capture. Then there’s the images. They look great! Part of it is the amazing new screen on the iPhone 5, but the camera does take very good images. I knew right away that I was going to like this new “camera”.

Here are a few unedited images straight from the camera…

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Impossible Instant Lab

Last week, The Impossible Project launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of a printer that prints images directly from your iPhone’s screen to Impossible Project film, resulting in true analog instant prints of your digital images. Instead of simply viewing images on your phone’s screen or even sending them to a lab to be printed, the Impossible Instant Lab will use the light from your phone’s screen to expose a piece of film, which then becomes a Polaroid-style photo.

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Apple iPhone 5 Announcement

Today, Apple announced the release of it’s latest phone, the iPhone 5. I am not only excited for this announcement because I plan to pre-order a new iPhone, but because it will mark my switch from an Android phone to an iPhone.

Apple iPhone 5

Although it has many new features that are sure to excite, one of the features I’m most excited about is the camera. Although the camera on my current phone takes good photos (for a phone, at least), I have always been jealous of the photos that come out of iPhones. Apple’s latest and greatest phone is sure to have it’s best camera yet, right? Let’s check out the specs and see how they compare to the iPhone 4S:

In the image above, you can see a side-by-side comparison of the iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S vs iPhone 4

iPhone 5
Screen – 4″, 640×1136, 326ppi Retina Display, 44% better color saturation than the iPhone 4S
Sensor – 8MP
Lens – f/2.4
Chip – A6 (40% faster image capture, saves images 1.7x faster, better noise reduction)
Dynamic Low Light Mode – Up to 2 stops better low-light performance
Sapphire crystal clear lens cover to protect the lens
Panorama mode – sweep the scene vertically to produce a smooth, clean panoramic image

iPhone 4s
Screen – 3.5”, 640×960, 326ppi
Sensor – 8MP
Lens – f/2.4
Chip – A5

Pricing for the iPhone 5:
Price – 16GB $199, 32GB $299, 64GB $399

Of course, we all know that specifications can only tell you so much about a camera. The final proof will be in the images that come out of the camera. If all goes according to plan, I should receive my brand new iPhone 5 the day before I leave on a trip to Seattle. During that time, I plan on becoming very well acquainted with the phone and taking many photos with it. Once I feel I’ve really been able to test it out, you can expect a full review here.

If you want to follow my journey with this new camera, I mean phone, please find me on Instagram. My username is “john_bosley”. Or, you can just view/follow my Instagram images on Pinstagram

The Future of Digital Cameras

Ever since I got a taste of some of the latest compact cameras from Fuji, Sony and Nikon, I have been thinking more and more about where we are headed in terms of cameras and lenses. What is the future of digital cameras and where will we be in 5 or even 10 years? This question came up in my conversation with a fellow photographer, so after discussing this topic for a little while, I decided to put some of my thoughts together and come up with what I think the future of digital cameras will be like.

Mirrorless vs DSLR

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iPhone Sunset

Decided to post these while on the subject of iPhone’s camera capabilities and while writing a new article on photo noise reduction. This first image is slightly modified in Lightroom 3 (+20 Fill Light and +10 Saturation, Noise Reduction: +50 Luminance, +80 Detail):

iPhone Sunset

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Giveaway answer and the winner

First of all, big thanks to everyone who participated in our first giveaway – we have gotten over 60 comments from our readers and over 120 people voted in our poll. Before I announce the winner of the giveaway, I would like to first provide the answer to the question “what camera the image was shot with” of the Maroon Bells. The majority of the readers guessed it right – I did shoot the image with the iPhone (specifically iPhone 4). The original image did not look very good and had a couple of problems, specifically:

  1. The image was not very straight due to poor framing
  2. There was too much noise in the image (although shot at ISO 80)
  3. The colors were way off and there was too much magenta in the image
  4. The corners were very soft

Here is the original image:

Maroon Bells iPhone Original

Maroon Bells iPhone Original

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iPhone Panorama

While driving through a local state park with my family, I saw this beautiful sunset and decided to take some pictures of it with my iPhone (I know, I left the real camera at home). I took a few shots and then realized that the scene did not quite fit the frame, so I put the phone in vertical position and took a few vertical shots using the same technique I describe in my “Panoramic Photography Howto” article. The only problem was, I could not lock the exposure or change white balance on the phone… So, here is the result:

iPhone Panorama

iPhone Panorama

I stitched the panorama in Adobe Photoshop CS5, then brightened up the grass a little and slightly increased contrast. I think the result is OK, although the colors are a little out of whack…still not bad for a crappy phone camera (the new iPhone 4G is supposed to have a much better 5 megapixel camera). As Chase Jarvis puts it, the best camera is the one that is with you :)

Mobile Photography

With many new generation cell phones having an integrated digital camera, photography is becoming more and more accessible. Phone cameras are far from advanced, but they can produce some impressive results, despite their size and limited capabilities.

The following images were captured with my Blackberry Curve 8900 during our last trip to Mt. Evans, followed by a trip to Boulder. I didn’t take my DSLR with me, so I had to use what I had, which was my crackberry :) The 8900 has an integrated 3.2 Mp autofocus camera and very limited functionality. I can zoom from 1x to 2x (digital zoom) and it even has an integrated flash, yay!

Mt. Evans #1

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