Since the onset of smartphones with cameras and playful photo-sharing apps like Instagram and Facebook, especially ones with high-definition resolution, more and more people choose to take photos of their food before eating rather than clasp their hands together and say words of prayers. I bet that most of us still thank the lord for the food we eat, but what’s more rampant now is this trend of food snapshots to proliferate in social media after it’s served.

I myself is guilty of this! πŸ˜€ I don’t care about the weird looks of the wait staff and other dining customers on me whenever I use my iPhone cam to shoot something nice inside the restaurant. I write food reviews as a hobby and intend to help my friends and readers choose where they can pig out next for best food selections.

In this post, I will talk about tips on how to take good pictures of food using your iPhone camera:

1. Don’t zoom in.

Apparently, zooming in will cause the picture to blur. So just get closer to the plate or the food to have a clearer version of the shot. You can take as many tries as you want and stop only when you achieved what you think is acceptable. You can be creative and take it from below or take it on the sides or other unusual angles!

As a kind etiquette, don’t forget to say sorry to your date or whoever is with you at the dining table, when you stop them first from taking a bite until you’ve photographed your plate for posterity. πŸ˜› You never know, he/she may be converted to a narcissistic food iPhone photographer as well! An exaggerated ending would be that both of you are still taking photos of the food without noticing that it’s already gotten cold.

2. Tap to focus.

Notice the square thing that appears when you tap the screen when your phone is on camera mode? When you take a shot, you will normally see this to achieve a macro focus that gives the illusion of depth of field. The background becomes blurry, while the quality of clarity of the object on focus becomes more defined.

3. Move into the light.

Obviously you won’t catch a great photo when you’re in a dark place. If you’re using iPhone 4, 4s or the iPhone 5, you can use the built-in flash. However, the quality is better when you’re under either artificial or natural lighting without the flash. Just find a light source and move your plate there to take the photo.

** Enhancement **

Personally, I use the following applications to enhance the photos I take. They are as follows, with links to iTunes (if you want to try downloading them as well). Notice that some of them are paid apps now, but I got them when they new in iTunes and they can be installed for free. So lucky me! πŸ˜€

1. InstaCollage Pro – Pic Frame & Pic Caption for Instagram FREE – Free
2. Photo Wonder – Free
3. Panorama 360Β° Camera – $1.99
4. Poly Frame – $0.99
5. Line Camera – Free
6. InstaFrame+ – $0.99
7. Vintique – $0.99
8. Slow Camera Shutter Plus PRO FREE – Free
9. Blux Camera Pro – $0.99
10. Camera 360 Ultimate – Free
11. Camera360 Concept – HelloCamera – $0.99
12. Mr. Chiizu ~ Photo Decoration With Artists – Free

Wrap Up

DSLR and SLR cameras are still the way to go when you want to capture really fine-looking photos you can keep and be proud about for life. But if you’re not keen in bringing heavy equipment around, you can use your iPhone camera (or any smartphone camera) and take good photographs anyway. With practice and application of the the many appropriate enhancement filters and editing options available in the smartphone apps, surely you can make your pictures be really presentable.

Do you have other suggestions to improve taking of food pictures? I’d love to hear your thoughts. πŸ˜†


Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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39 Responses

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      The tips are also applicable, I guess. For the apps, you need to check with the Google Play Store which are available and which are not. Some iOS / Apple apps have their equivalent apps which are compatible with Android phones.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, if only people know how to take real great photos through the iPhone, they sure can! Taking pictures using the iPhone is the new craze for creating stunning images with creative effects made instantly and easily!

  1. Mark Morfe

    Definitely, I’ll give this a try once I buy my own iPhone 5 as my DSLR is getting heavier for food photography (plus it attracts attention as well).

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I don’t know for others but I think iPhone 5 camera is acceptable in terms of clarity! πŸ˜€ You don’t need to carry your heavy DSLR all the time then.

  2. John

    Great stuff. I’ve been using my iphone 4s for almost a year now and in fact planning to upgrade to iphone 5. But i didn’t know much about its usage and in making the photograph look nicer than usual. I just bought it because it’s nice and making waves during its time but never ventured yet in exploring the many things it offers. Perhaps now’s the time.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Have you heard of the term “iphoneography”? It is the art of creating photos with an Apple iPhone, according to Wikipedia. Hope you can enjoy the wonders that your iPhone can bring with the Camera and other genius apps made especially for that smart phone. Yup, the time is now! πŸ˜€

  3. Francis Balgos

    Ambient light is always better..
    you’re correct with not using the zoom in, but get closer instead.
    The trick with zoom in, just like DSLR, you have to be steady for the shutter release.
    I dont really post photos of the food I take, but have tons of them.
    I like to practice from time to time.
    Food photograhy is more like taking macro shots or close ups.
    You like to show texture and feel of the food.
    There’s more to learn everyday, I just hope that people would stop using outrageous preset edits in instagram.
    Especially with food, you like to see how they look like.
    Not how they were modified in the process.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hi Francis,

      Thanks for your inputs especially that reminder to not use “outrageous Instagram filters” on food. For a self-confessed photo-editing slighted-addicted user, I have learned to control the usage of Instagram’s filter effects as well. Mostly I use the soft focus background to highlight the main focus of the dish and create the instant “dept of field.”

  4. Joshua

    I’ll keep these tips in mind whenever I take photographs. On a side note I also used to practice Wushu before cheers! πŸ˜€

  5. Mai Flores

    I actually do the same process when I take food photos from my iPhone. But as for the apps, I may have downloaded a couple of them. But at the end of it all (plus my laziness to choose which to use), I just end up using either Instaframe or Instacollage Pro. πŸ˜›

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha yeah sometimes I just use one as well. The good thing is that there are no rules to follow in terms on the number of apps one picture should be tested on to get that one piece you are satisfied with. I discard some apps which are I don’t frequently use and retain only those which are helpful.

  6. Myk Malag

    taking photos from your phone also follows the basics of photography which you illustrated here, like the “finding the light”. One advantage in your phone is that you could edit directly with those many applications you can download on the unit. I’m 360 panorama enthusiast but I find it hard using the applications, I still prefer using the DSLR.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You’re welcome! πŸ™‚ Always check for the latest releases in the AppStore and try to install ones which pique your attention and interest.

  7. papaleng

    Now I know why my pansit palapok looks like a nilamutak na bulate. Thanks for the tips, apply ko ito next time na mag dinner kami ni misis sa resto.

  8. jane

    great tips for me! ever since my husband bought his samsung i am too lazy bringing my canon anywhere and so i alwyas depends on his camera on his fone hihi xx

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Jane. πŸ˜€ I think most people nowadays just use their phone cameras because a smartphone is more than just novelty. It is a phone that’s such an essential part of our life so one with built-in camera must be used properly and with care.

  9. Alwin

    i used to have tons of photo apps installed too, before my iphone gave up on me. i agree, zooming in creates a pixelated photo, so it’s better not to.

  10. Kenneth Ravida

    I always want to take pictures/photos but I dont have a camera or an I phone, the tips are useful

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh you might want to save real soon to get one. There are cheaper finds nowadays with the advent of smartphones made in China. Try going to Greenhills or look for ads posted in online sites such as and for a bargain.

  11. marri

    Such great ideas but unfortunately, i have yet to apply these tips because I still wish to acquire an iPhone. Maybe I can try on our iPad 3 πŸ™‚

  12. ralph

    nice suggestions you have here… i guess i’ll just be using the free applications you recommended for now. Yahweh bless.


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