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How to become a pro at food photography, using just your smartphone

In the 21st century, praying before meals is no longer a norm. It’s the food photography that has become a must-do.

With social media that allows us to share our lives online 24/7, showing what we eat in a day is now a custom made before devouring and diving deep into the feast set before us. Now, showing off food pictures is far more than just an act of posting – though for some that serves as the main purpose. It’s a conversational means to exhibit tastes, lifestyle, beliefs, and even to inspire and excite, as can be seen in the vegan food movement for example.

Especially if you’re a foodie through and through, taking pictures of the food you eat, much like an artist, is like creating an artful masterpiece but just with edible elements.

[Featured and hero image credit: Unsplash/Monika Grabkowska]

Yet there’s more to the art of photography than what you see on TV or the internet whenever food advertisements pop up. Sadly the commercial industry has taken a wrong turn to showcase food not as it is and should be, evidenced in the video above. However, we’re here to show you how to keep it real and superb with these tips and tricks on how to nail food photography. Even better, with your smartphone. These tutorial videos down below will give you delicious insight to up your food photography up a notch.


Composition is important. Set yourself up for success by creating a unique composition for your photography. Placing your food objects at the right place and angle will give strength and add an element of fun to your picture, making it more appealing to the eyes. 

Food Props

Other than the food, which is the highlight, other items like dishes, utensils, spatulas, cutting boards, a coffee grinder or even a vase of flowers will also add another engaging dimension to your shots. They are instrumental in creating a scene to tell the story of each dish. The key also really lies in the composition method to guide you where and how to fit and arrange each item beautifully within the frame.

Food Photography with iPhone

Now that you’ve learned about the composition and essential food props, let’s get right into the action. Peter McKinnon is here to show you can work magic with the camera on the smartphone you’re holding. With help from simple lighting equipment and props, you can get quality shots without breaking a sweat – or worse, breaking the bank getting all the fancy, professional camera equipment.

DIY Backgrounds

Not happy with your picture background? Or don’t have a kitchen countertop crafted from white marble or mahogany wood? No fret. This video will help you recreate the backdrops you often see in cool food shots on Pinterest. It takes some work, but the result? Totally worth it.

Minimalist Food Photography

For simple, minimalist food photography, this tutorial is your move. It really does not require much except for a well-plated meal, natural lighting, and a good phone camera.

Trick from Giada

The American queen of Italian cooking herself, Giada De Laurentiis, also shares her little trick into getting the Instagram-worthy food shots for social media. Those who are her fans on the Food Network (like us), you’re now let in on a secret as to why her IG is always sprinkled with a drool-inducing feed.

Kankanit Wichiantanon
Writer, Bangkok
Kankanit is a writer by day and a baker by night. If there’s one thing you should know about her, it’s that she can wax poetic about food 24/7. Her daily routine is writing, cooking, eating, repeat. They are the things that inspire her from morning 'til night.