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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Tips on Photographing Food Outdoors

Food can be photographed anywhere and anytime, given that a photographer has the right tools for the project. Photographing in a controlled environment indoors like in a full professional studio or a mini self-made studio can take a lot of effort to set up and can be very costly. But what if you do not have the required tools for the job or cannot afford a good lighting setup initially? You resort to using natural daylight, which is free for all, thankfully. And while daylight is available for us every day to use, it can be challenging to work with. In this short article, I will provide some tips on photographing food outdoors and talk about using very inexpensive tools that will make a huge difference when dealing with harsh lighting.

natural light food Photography (1)

1) Timing

If you are planning to photograph outdoors for a paid gig or as a personal project, your first step is to time the photo shoot correctly. While there are some great tools available that will come to your rescue if need be, selecting a desirable time of the day to photograph the process will always give you more flexibility and quicker results. Generally, food photography calls for soft, less contrasted and very appetizing frames. To achieve such look in a natural environment, pick a time during early mornings or late afternoons, when the light is very soft and the sun is not too direct and harsh. If it is a cloudy day, that’s even better, since clouds do an excellent job of diffusing light (with clouds, you can shoot any time of the day, no matter where you are). Simple and basic, but it works!

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Best Nikon Lenses For Food Photography

Let’s pick up where we left after the first installment of food photography, shall we? This blog post will cover Nikon lenses that you can successfully use for the purpose of photographing food. Please keep in mind that the information I present below is a personal opinion based on my experience so far, which I do not think is subject to change anytime soon, as I like my set-up very much.

Nikon lenses for food photography (12)

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Food Photography Tips: Introduction

My personal food photography journey started slightly earlier than my love for wedding and portrait photography. Since I cook a lot, one day Nasim suggested that I document it and possibly turn my recipes into a blog. It started with one single shot of the final look of the dish before we devoured it, and ended up developing into step-by-step recipes that started gaining popularity. Although I took a break from food photography, I still kept on getting questions regarding the craft of food photography. So, I decided to start writing articles dedicated to food photography tips and techniques and how to work with food in various situations.

Food Photography

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Nikon 50mm f/1.4G Review

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This is an in-depth review of one of my favorite prime lenses – the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G, which was announced back in September of 2008. For many years the focal length of 50mm lenses was considered a “standard” or “normal” focal length, because it closely resembles the perspective of the human eye. These lenses were widely popular on film cameras and the focal length was ideal for portraiture and everyday photography. As digital SLRs and zoom lenses started taking over the market, popularity of 50mm primes also decreased. The smaller size of APS-C sensors made the field of view of 50mm lenses narrower, while the flexibility of zoom lenses and their low price drove the demand towards convenience. Now that full frame digital cameras are getting more and more affordable, the once forgotten 50mm lenses are regaining their popularity among many photographers. In this review, I will provide a thorough analysis of the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens, along with image samples and comparisons against other 50mm lenses from Nikon and Sigma.

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S

The Nikon 50mm f/1.4G is a professional-grade lens for enthusiasts and pros that need a high quality lens for portraiture, food and everyday photography. Its large aperture of f/1.4 is great for low-light photography and the shallow depth of field helps isolate subjects from the background, beautifully rendering background highlights, also known as bokeh.

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Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX Lens

I recently borrowed a Nikon D90 with a Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX lens from a good friend to perform some tests of this combo at home. The weather has been bad for photography lately and I really have not had a chance to take the camera and the lens out to do some real shooting. A couple of days ago, Lola decided to try it out for her food photography while she was preparing my favorite baked pear salad and cooking a new chicken soup with eggs.

While I was shamelessly playing the Prince of Persia game on Wii (I do not even want to mention how many hours I wasted playing it), as soon as she took the first picture, she said “wow!”. Then she took a couple of more pictures and said “I love this lens! It is great for food photography”. I stopped playing for a second to take a look at what she was raving about on the camera LCD.

As soon as I looked at the magnified picture on the LCD, I said “wow” myself. The picture was tack sharp, image quality and contrast were outstanding. Here is the shot of the baked pear recipe that Lola just posted in her recipe blog:

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX Sample

I highly recommend opening the above image in full size and looking at the details of the shot.

We fell in love with this combo right away…what a great lens, what a great camera!

How to Submit Photos to Foodgawker and Tastespotting

If you have stumbled upon this entry, you are most likely having trouble getting your photos accepted by either FoodGawker or TasteSpotting. Believe me when I say I’ve been there and done that to get my photos through :)

You submit a picture of your favorite dish and wait for an e-mail from the site admins. Here comes the long awaited e-mail, in which it states that your image was rejected, because it was either dull, unsharp, had lighting issues or whatever other reason the admins came up with! At times, it gets very frustrating to find out that your precious creations were chosen not to be displayed on famous food sites. I too got very frustrated the first couple of times, until I figured out how to do it right. For those who are in the same boat as me, the following tips should help you to get your pictures approved by both FoodGawker and TasteSpotting.


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