Food Photography Tips and Tricks Using Your Smartphone

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Every recipe will speak volumes of itself, if the image of the finished recipe looks simple to make & appetizing to eat. Food Photographs are very important for a recipe. A person will come to look at your product or recipe only if it displays a photograph that is plated well and looks clean. This article has a few simple tips that we use at Archana's Kitchen to take pictures. Ever Since the advent of smartphones with great cameras, we have begin using our phones to take pictures of the food we cook in our test kitchen or even when Archana cooks the food at her home.

At Archana's Kitchen, we strongly believe that every recipe should have a good looking photograph, but most importantly, the food in the photograph has to look real. We don't believe in over accessorizing our pictures to create a very sophisticated look at feel. The main focus is ensuring the cooked food that is plated and photographed will look the same way if you were to make it in your kitchen.

Follow these simple and yet easy to follow tips.

1- Choose The Right Bowl / Plate For The Food

Using a good plate or a bowl is absolutely necessary for a good food photograph. A good tip to plate/ serve the food is to think, how will you present it to your guest in a very clean way. So when you guests look at the food place in the plate/ bowl, they will feel like eating it.

The most prefered material is Ceramic, Wood or Clay bowl and plates for food photography. You can also use the stainless steel bowls and plates, based on what you are serving. Glass is the least prefered material, especially for indian foods, as it reflects a lot of light.

Say no to plastic or melamine, especially for food photography - for many reasons more than one! 

2- Plate Your Food In A Clean Bowl

Food Photography is similar to ensuring that your food looks clean and well plated when serve your guests. Everytime you take a photo for a recipe, give a small thought on how it can be made to look presentable. 

Place your cooked dish with absolute baby care into the bowl, so it does not splash around the sides or the corners and is not dripping on the sides. 

A clean bowl is an absolute must for a good food photograph.

3- Take Pictures in Broad Daylight 

Choose a room in your home, where there is a lot of light. Taking pictures in daylight brings out the right colors of the food and makes it look bright and nice.

You don't need fancy, lighting equipment to take good pictures. Use your smartphone, along with a room with good light and you will be on your way to taking good pictures of the food you make. 

Avoid taking pictures under tube light or even yellow incandescent or fluorescent light. These lights change the color balance and the food will look either over exposed with a lot of light on it or even make it look yellowish.

4- Take Pictures On A Wooden Table

 If you have a wooden table at home, a small one - like a side table or a telephone table or a laptop table - use that to place the bowl of food that you have made. 

Wooden tables, do not reflect light like glass or granite. Move the table to the room where there is enough light and take a picture using your smartphone. 

Do not take pictures on the granite slab or glass, it will reflect the light and change the colors of the food you have made and not make it look real. Also avoid a surface which is black in color.

5- Keep Your Garnish Simple

When you have finished plating your food and are looking to add a garnish - keep it very simple. It might just be a tadka, pudina leaf or coriander leaf. The garnish will change from recipe to recipe. The most important thing is to keep it simple, let the dish look real, like how you will serve it for your family everyday.

It does not have to look at a food decorated like a professional chef or a michelin star. It should look real and authentic, that when we share a recipe with users - it should look easy and doable to them.

Avoid decorating your food with fancy flowers and fancy cut vegetables. Avoid over decorating the the food. Keep it simple and neat

6- Accessorize the Table With Simple Things

When you place the bowl on the table, add a few elements to the table to help make the food stand out. Again keep it simple. It is like setting the table when you have guests. You keep it clean and simple.

Add a napkin/ cloth (a small one preferably ), sometimes a dupatta will also work as an accessory to add a touch. Add one or two other things related to the food you have plated. It could be a spice, green chillies/ red chillies or splash of coriander seeds if used or black pepper if used in the dish.

You can also use another side dish like cooked rice, roti, curry, gravy place in the background, that will act as a complement to the main photographed dish.

It will help create a good look to the food that you have photographed. Once again keep it simple and sweet.

When you take pictures of food for Archana's Kitchen, remember it's not about fancy looking professional pictures, but simple, sweet, clean and neat pictures. We encourage our users to click pictures using the above guidelines when submitting recipes on our website.

7- The Right Angle To Take Pictures

Food pictures can be taken with a side angle or a top angle. Most of the time, when you are taking pictures from the phone, the top shot looks much better or a slightly angle from the side. Ensure whatever you do, the food cooked should be in prime focus.

Examples of Food Pictures

1- Steel Bowl & Rice ( Top & Side Angle)

 Notice the elements at the back, a napkin which is torn from a jute sack. a few spices like cardamom which was used in the pulao. The rice is plated neatly in a bowl and also the bay leaves from the rice are used as a garnish element. The bowl is plated on a wooden table and taken in day light.

Steel Bowl 

2 - Ceramic Plate & Roti/ Paratha/ Thepla (Side Angle)

We have kept it simple, place the green chilli as a garnish to bring out the stack of theplas. Kept a few bowls at the back. We bent low, and took a close of shot of the thepla from a slightly side angle.

Ceramic Plate

3 - Curry, Gravy & Dals - Steel Bowl or Ceramic

Notice we have placed a pulao in the background and used a simple napkin. We have not garnished the Kofta Curry with anything on the top, but simply place a sprig of coriander by the side which is half seen. You can also optionally take a top shot for the curry without the rice at the back.

Curry and Dal Pictures

4 - Pieces of Food - Plate Works Best

Notice the elements are very simple of the idly. It is simply stack on the plate and the chutney, podi and oil are place by the side to add as elements to complement the idli picture. Keep it simple and sweet.

Breakfast Ceramic Plates

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