Recently I was invited to attend a smartphone food photography workshop, led by David Griffen and hosted by Lima, a concept restaurant in central London presenting Peruvian food in a contemporary style.
My nearest and dearest are sufficiently well-trained to know not to touch their food in a restaurant until I am finished photographing the dishes and their environment. But over the last few years, this routine has shifted away from snapping with my bulky DSLR. Now I shoot 99% of all my restaurant (and indeed home-made) food photography using my iPhone 4S. My apps of choice for editing are Snapseed and VSCOcam. Though I am an avid Instagrammer, I hardly ever use their restrictive filters – though I could be swayed if the app develops a ‘filter strength’ slider.
Here are some of my snaps from the evening, all taken with my iPhone:
It was great to meet an industry pro and a gathering of similar-minded food bloggers and photographers. When the first course came out, no-one touched their food for at least 5 minutes!
Here are my top tips (combined with some picked up from David Griffen):
- It’s all about the light. As natural, ambient and plentiful as is feasible.
- Don’t forget to try different angles. Move the dishes on the table around… and move around yourself!
- If you don’t mind a few looks from strangers, consider carrying a mini collapsible reflector to make the most out of the light you have.
- Think about cutlery, backgrounds and other features as much as the food itself.
- If the light is very dim, try balancing your smartphone in a wineglass and use the self-timer to eliminate any shake.