Photographing food with iPhone

In this third mini-guide to Photographing food with iPhone we will focus on an aspect of fundamental interest, that is the one related to the aesthetic decorations of your photo, and we will do it as usual following some guidelines that I would like to give you. As always, some of these guidelines arise from my own experience as a photographer, in the field, while others I have had the opportunity to “snatch” them from other professional colleagues around the world and now I bring them back to you.

1) The dish is not everything.

As the title of this paragraph clearly says, be careful to photograph a plate with your iPhone so as not to make a very common mistake, that is to end up framing only the plate itself. But how, you may ask, if the plate is the subject is no longer correct, from a photographic point of view to concentrate as much space as possible of the image precisely on the subject in question? The answer is no. But if you have made this mistake in the past do not worry, know that you are in abundant company.

If it is true, as it is true, that the plate is the subject of the photo, it is also true that we ourselves always make sure to give harmony to the photo. With this in mind, my advice is not to give the plate more than 50% of the visible space. In the same way, don’t be afraid to put it not in the solitary central position but perhaps on the side of your photo center. The photo could still gain some as a final harmony.


2) Decorate the photo, not just the plate

Pay attention to this when looking at pictures of dishes on the internet. Almost always these (if made by professionals) do not take up only plate and tablecloth, or plate and cutlery. Almost always the dish is surrounded by decorations that do not fall within the edible part of the dish itself but only serve to give greater beauty to the photo.

Three approaches can be followed in this direction. 1) You can decorate the photo with the same ingredients as the dish. For example, you could photograph a tiramisu with coffee beans or a mocha next to it, and cocoa. 2) The dish can be decorated according to a seasonal approach. For example, if you are photographing an autumn dish, you could decorate the photo with chestnut curls and dried plantain leaves. 3) It can be decorated according to an aesthetic approach, adding decorations (food and non-food) with bright colors or complementary to those of the dish itself.

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3) Enjoy your meal, clean plate.

I wanted to take up this motto with which, I remember, my lunches at school began, to bring the attention of you readers back to an aspect that is taken for granted but too often forgotten by those who do not take pictures as a profession: the cleaning of the plate.

Don’t take me for mad… It’s just photography. And a photograph that wants to reach professional standards requires having dishes and the rest of the background completely clean. Or better; there may be, of course, condiments, sauces, salads etc that can garnish the plate or our tablecloth. But always make sure that they represent, precisely, a decorative element and not an unwanted intruder.

In general, the photos will be all the more pleasing to the eye the more the cleanliness of your plate will be free of the slightest imperfection.

In this sense, you must behave like the match leaders of starred kitchens: in fact, do you know what is the last step in the process of making a dish in a luxury restaurant? It’s cleaning. Before leaving the kitchen and arriving at the customer’s table, the plate is checked so that there is not the slightest stain of food, fingerprints or whatever.