Several times people think great photography requires an expensive camera, but nowadays you can take wonderful photos with your cell phone camera. If you know how to do it like a professional,  just paying attention to some details, you can take your photos to another level. 

The cell phone is always with you, so you’re able to capture and store life’s most important moments. For that reason, your photos must come out perfectly. 

Here are some tips to help you:

1- Choose a strong focal point: It could be anything (a tree, a product, a building, a person). When you’re planning out or setting up a shot, you should ask yourself,
What do I want viewers to focus on?

2-Follow the rule of thirds: It breaks the image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, so that you have nine frames, and then place the main subject at the intersection of these frames rather than right in the center. It helps to draw the viewer’s eye to the subject matter in a visually pleasing way. If you want to take your composition techniques a step further, you have to use a leading line to emphasize the subject. This is where the viewer’s attention is drawn to a line that leads to the main subject, usually starting at the bottom of the frame and guiding the eye inward and upward.

3- Use leading lines: You can use props or ingredients to create lines and layered effects in your images. They can be anything that creates a line in your photo, like roads, fences, buildings, long hallways, trees, or shadows. The trick is to take a viewer’s attention where you want it to go.

4- Put some thought into perspective: Perspective has a massive impact on the composition of any photo. By changing the angle or distance you shoot from, you can change the mood and meaning of your images.
Get on a chair or crouch down—anything to get above or below your subject to find an interesting perspective. If you practise this often, you’ll be more prepared to see the world and subjects in a new way and capture more interesting images.

5- Create depth. The best way to convey depth is to include some elements in the foreground, middle ground and background.

6- Frame your shot It involves finding something that can act as a natural frame for your composition, and then shooting, so your subject is inside it.

7- Focus on the eyes: We are always drawn towards the eyes in a photograph since eyes are a natural focal point that we connect with. When taking portrait photographs at any aperture, make sure you nail the focus on the eyes. As long as the eyes are in focus, both you and your subject are more likely to consider the picture to be properly shot.

8- Learn how to edit photos. Maybe you want to adjust the lighting, correct some mistakes, enhance the colors, remove a smudge on the plate that you missed when taking the shot, or maybe you want to create your style. In these instances, Snapseed is a good free photo editing app that has lots of tools and is very easy to use. The Foodie or Inshot apps are other (and free) tools that offer filters that can enhance your photo and make it look amazing.

9- Learn your camera’s settings: Familiarize yourself with your camera’s settings. It’s an important step in learning how to make pictures look professional. In an automatic setting, you won´t have the flexibility to get creative with your photos or handle unique situations.

10- Pick up a tripod. It allows you to try a variety of shooting techniques that you can’t do without one. For example, you can use it in long exposures, or create your 3D images. It also lets you set up your shot and then take care of other aspects of the scene while keeping your camera ready to go.

11- Look for symmetry. It has been proven that the human brain favors patterns and symmetry. 

12- Find patterns and use them. If you’re able to find patterns in your scene (such as sidewalk lines or wood patterns), try to include them in your photo.
A photograph with weak composition will leave viewers confused about what they should be focusing on. Making use of leading lines in photography can help control where a viewer’s eyes move, especially with strong, obvious lines.
Lines that converge create depth and draw the viewer in while curved lines can take you around the frame and eventually land on the main subject.

13- Make sure you have good lighting: You have to verify you have enough light that your subject is visible. If there’s not enough light, your camera may struggle to capture the details in the scene. On the other hand, if there’s too much hard light in your shots, it can ruin your photo with unwanted shadows.

14- Use light to create interesting effects: You can use light in a variety of interesting ways that can change the mood of your photos.
For example: Shooting during the golden hour. The golden hour is the time just after sunrise and just before sunset. Also, as the sun is low in the sky, things cast very long shadows that can create a dramatic effect. Create a silhouette. Try shooting a subject in front of bright light like the setting sun, and manually adjust your camera settings so all you’re left with is a dark silhouette against a background of light. Or Shoot in hard light. Shooting in areas or times when there’s lots of bright light and shadows can make for an interesting photo with lots of contrast.

Natural window daylight is always the best option. Always try to incorporate external sources of light before you turn to your camera’s flash.

15- Leave plenty of negative space. For example, featuring your main dish off-center, with neutral space to the right is both appealing to the eye and a great way to make sure you’re not overcrowding the image. Don’t feel like your subject has to take up the entire frame. Detail shots are great but don’t be afraid to let your food only take up a third of the frame. If there’s a simple backdrop you can place your food in front of, that will work well. Use dark or black backgrounds that can create a stark contrast with your image.

16- Less is more: keep your photo composition simple. Busy photos tend to overwhelm audiences and keeping your images simple will bring more focus to the subject.

17- Choose the best angle. Two angles are best for taking dynamic photos: shooting at eye-level or slightly underneath your subject, and shooting from a bird’s eye view. Taking a photo from above is easy to get an entire tablescape in one photo. However, a close-up shot can reveal details like moisture, texture and color.  There’s nothing wrong with the 45-degree angle shot. For example, if you are thinking  about taking a photo of a dish, the best angle is going to depend on the food. “If you shoot at a 45-degree angle you can get a lot of good texture. For something like a salad you’d want to shoot top-down, whereas a burger looks better straight on or maybe a little lower so that it looks larger than life.” If you’re unsure which viewpoint would be the best, shoot from multiple angles to capture  different perspectives and then decide later what works best.

18- Add props (sparingly) Depending on what kind of shot you’re looking for, you’ll needto use secondary elements—like cutlery, linens, glasses, ingredients, plants, or flowers— to add some additional visual interest and dimension. If the dish you’re photographing lacks color, consider adding an accessory that will brighten things up. On the other hand, if your dish is full of color, you’ll  need to use muted props that don’t take away from the start of the photograph. The best way to think like a food stylist is to bring other objects into the frame. Don’t be afraid to use napkins, condiments, and table decorations to make your composition more interesting. Even something as simple as angling your plates or playing with garnishes can bring a photo to life. “You don’t just want to take a picture of food, you want to bring the moment or atmosphere to life,” Make it feel warm and alive. Props can help tell a story.”

19Vary the background
A neutral background—like a wooden table, tea cloth, or tablecloth—can help to emphasize the food in a photo. Keep in mind that a dark background will emphasize the darkness, while a light background will make things look brighter. No matter what background you choose, be sure to mix it up, so that every photo doesn’t look the same.
When shooting from the front of the food try to keep a great foreground and background to play with. Use these empty spaces to tell more of a story. Surround your main dish with ingredients and props that relate to the food. Ingredients, sauces, oils and cooking utensils could indicate how the dish was made. Tins, jars, herbs, glasses, fabrics, and linens could speak about the origin of the dish or the season in which it is served. Placing a few of these in the foreground and background will elevate your story and give it depth.

20 – Never zoom manually If you want to take a detailed shot, you should physically step closer to your subject instead of using the digital zoom. This goes for any phone photos. Digital zoom will just make your image pixelated. You’re better off cropping the photo afterward.

Troubleshooting common food photography issues:

– Your photos are blurry. It happens because your camera shakes. In these cases:  1) hold your camera steadier, 2) use a tripod with a remote so your camera stays completely still while you’re shooting, 3) use a faster shutter speed, which will require opening up your aperture and/or moving to an area with more light, or 4) raise your ISO to decrease the amount of light needed (this will reduce image quality).

Your colors aren’t true to life. When you’re editing your photos if they look very blue, yellow, pink, or green, use your software’s white balance tools to fix them! Colors come alive when the white balance is set properly. If you shoot in RAW format, you’ll have an easier time adjusting color balance later.

Bonus tips for your “secret sauce”:

Get creative with the ingredients
Don’t overlook the ingredients and head straight for the shots of the main meal. With an ingredient shot, you can create an interesting story that begins the journey to the final plated dish. For fruits and vegetables, you can create visually interesting arrangements and shot from an overhead angle. This is the type of shot that any camera can do, even just one on your cell phone.

Think about the final use. Your food image will commonly be cropped to a different size for its final use. When shooting, you  have to know what this final use will be, so that you can ensure that all the essential parts of the dish make it into the shot.

Photograph what you love
Focusing on what you love will make photography more enjoyable for you. If you are passionate about food, nature, people, pets, or something else, start learning by taking pictures of it. This will keep you interested in photography and allow you to overcome learning obstacles without breaking a sweat.

Take lots of photos, move props around, get different angles, etc. It’s better off taking a lot of photos and getting one spectacular shot than quickly snapping one or two that come out poorly.

We are excited to see your new food photos. Share them with us on Instagram.

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