So we’ve established that everyone is doing it. In case you still don’t believe that, even Vanity Fair has a Food Porn column that highlights the mobile photographs from chefs and food personalities all around the world. Doubtful they just wanted to make use of the word ‘porn.’
How do you distinguish yourself if everyone else is doing it? If you’ve been following this series, we’ve talked about the all-important Golden Rule, moving beyond simply pointing-and-shooting and we’ve explored how Instagram can be used along with hashtags.
However, Instagram isn’t the only app out there and the built-in camera in a smart phone and in tablets should only be the beginning. Once you’ve mastered controlling the focus and exposure for the camera take a look at these tools:
Hipstamatic – It was one of the first apps in the mobile photography sphere and after a time away I returned to using it when they premiered their Foodie Snap Pack. It’s now my favorite way to snap meals, ingredients and culinary details.
Filterstorm – It’s one of the most useful apps made for a mobile device, featuring even more tools than Adobe’s PS Express. Think of this like Photoshop for an iPhone. Use it to simulate a narrow depth of field which can make a photo of a plated meal look more appealing, use it as your preferred color balance app, or even crop if you didn’t get the most pleasing composition to begin with. Another useful, full-featured app is Snapseed.
VSCO CAM – If you just can’t stay away from filters on your food photographs, this features very subtle coloration and offers manipulations that are simple to use on the go.
Incredibooth – Consider telling a story about your food experience by making a photostrip, with each image in the set highlighting a different portion of your meal or of the steps in the creation of a meal shared with friends.
Diptic – Similar to the way Incredibooth creates a photostrip, this allows you to make a collage of several images. Use the app to create a story and highlight more than one image in a single file. The bonus with this tool is you aren’t required to shoot within it, you can bring in photographs you created in other apps.
Postagram – Send photographs of your most memorable meals consumed while traveling back to jealous friends and family by making a postcard right from your mobile device that is then mailed for you at a very reasonable rate.
Over – Add text to your images with this simple and very intuitive app. Before you know it you’ll be creating viral memes based around your favorite dishes. Or, you’ll remember what you ate later on when time has dulled the memories.
Noir – Don’t use this app as much to edit photographs of food, instead, capture the whole scene of a very memorable dinner with friends or a great meal you had at a Michelin restaurant. Scenes such as these always look best when shot in (or edited to be made) black and white.
Instagram – If you’re going to use it to edit your food photographs, not just to share them, think about sticking with very minimal filters such as, ‘Sierra.’ And then by all means add the #FoodPorn hashtag!
Olloclip – This lens system for the iPhone 4 and 4S has macro, wide angle and fisheye glass. It’s not mandatory for food photography but the more you get into mobile photography of any sort, the more uses you will find for a tool like the Olloclip.
Battery powered LED video light – This is useful for those times you simply have to capture food without natural light. Look for one that has a dimmer so you don’t have to use it at full power.
Tripod – If you can’t carry around a portable tripod for your mobile device, consider resting your camera in a glass. Anything that will enable your device to be steady, above food, will come in handy more times than you’d imagine. The Joby Gorillapod is sold in multiple sizes, is very flexible and super durable. Get a Glif and you can use the iPhone easily with any standard tripod.
Diffuser – If you really want to get creative with light, though I don’t recommend this at a 50 Best Restaurant, carry around a collapsible cloth diffuser from a company like Westcott. So now that I’ve recommended enough apps and accessories to break the bank, it’s time to get out and start practicing what you’ve learned in this series. Stay tuned for a way to share what you’re creating with Fine Dining Lovers on twitter! Mobile and social are the new standard in this technologically advanced world so we look forward to connecting with you and being inspired by your favorite culinary adventures.
These are tough times for chefs and restaurant professionals around the world, but there has never been a better time to seek advice and help around a number of topics affecting hospitality workers. Here's a round-up of some of the most useful resources for chefs.