Food Photography: Ever Noticed This Amazing Subject?

11:31 PM
The emergence of mobile photography allows people to bring home and immortalize almost every moment. Birthday celebration, getting drunk on new years eve, baby born, first date to first kiss, marriage, to daily events like a boring Math class and what my lunch was can be the subjects of mobile photography. It opens up broader possibility to capture every moments in your life through the lens of your mobile phone then and smartphone now.

butter cookies, windows phone, lumia 1020

For me, my love for mobile photography started when I bought Nokia N8 due to its unique design (love the camera hump). I remember my first shot was a box of donut. At that time, I thought, 12 MP would make my shots instantly looks like professional photographers. Yes, I was wrong. The box of donut looked terrible and then I started to learn how to make it better. Started from that box of donut, I begin to take a lot of food pictures, documented my lunch and dinner, my love for dessert, and joining the stream of people who sees beauty of creation on what is served in front of them.

When we are taking food photography there are two important things to be considered. The first one is the LIGHTING. Consider the position of the light source, make sure your picture snapped won’t look dark because you pointed your lens towards the light source. Make sure the light source is behind you to well illuminate the object –in this case your chocolate pudding perhaps-. While you are ahead the light source, beware that your body, your hands, or your smartphone could create shadows on your food object.

food photography, lumia

After getting proper light source, now you might want to adjust your white balance. Some restaurants may use yellow tinted lightbulb to create romantic mood but it could make your food appeared “sick.” My heuristic approach is, when the light source is too yellow, I would fiddle with preset White Balance setting (Tungsten or Lightbulb). When the light source is too white, I would change it into “Sunny” (usually appears with “Sun” icon) to make the food appears warmer.

lumia, photography

Second important thing is ANGLE. I usually capture several times of the same food to make sure I got the right angle. Some photographers love to take the angle from straight above while I prefer more on the side-level. The vertical angle or from higher up could create the food as it appears to our eyes. It could also create an effect of two dimensional thus make the food all in focus. The side angle would make the food appear larger and you might want to consider what to focus on the foreground (or in the background). To accentuate the bokeh, it is good to consider to arrange your food in staggered position so there will be blurred effect.

lumia 1020. food photos

Other than LIGHTING and trying out various ANGLE, there are other several things to note down such as learning your camera focal length, how close can you get to your object/food,  is there a preset Macro Mode that will help you focus better, is it appropriate to take picture (I avoid to take picture on a formal dining atmosphere), is there a hot steam pour out of your food, and most importantly you have to love FOOD to deliver the message you want to convey on your picture.

lumia 1020. windows phone. photography

I guess that’s all I want to share my “heuristic” so far on taking food photography using smartphone. I am open to any of your suggestion to learn and grow better.

Article originally written by Lukas Oh. All photos are captured by Lukas Oh using his Lumia 1020. You can follow him on Twitter here. We appreciate his work for the whole Windows Phone photographers community!

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