Smartphone Food Photography - Slay the FLAT LAY!

Food Photography Composition can be overwhelming! This video will teach you how to Slay next Photo Flat Lay & Improve your Instagram Food Pictures. These Photography Composition Techniques & Food Photography Tricks will dramatically boost the quality of your cell phone photography… No more searching “How to take good food pictures,” after today’s Food Photography Tutorial!

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Food styling for photography can feel really, really tough sometimes, especially when you're shooting smartphone food photography. Today, I'm going to teach you seven really important flat lay food photography tips and how you can start applying them yourself. The three main concepts we're going to cover are your food photography surface, composition and building layers.

Tip No. 1

Since we're talking about flat lay food photography, the surface is going to be really important in the overall look and feel of your image. There are companies that make food photography surfaces. You can purchase them. Two of my favorite ones are Replica Surfaces and Stile and Co. They're very reasonably priced. And again, they'll help you with your overall look and feel. And when you're doing lay flat photography, your surface is going to be just as prominent as your main primary dish and its supporting elements. So you want to make sure that you're intentional about choosing your surface and that surface itself isn't competing with everything else you have going on in your frame.

Tip No. 2

Next, let's talk about a tripod. If you're shooting cell phone photography, then using a tripod is going to be really, really valuable. It allows you to get sharper photos, it allows you to control your light better, and last but not least, it allows you to compose your photo looking through your camera screen itself.

Tip No. 3

Diving into composing with our phone's camera grid. Let's talk about the rule of thirds. What is it and how do we use it in our food photography composition? The rule of thirds uses two vertical lines and two horizontal lines, dividing your frame into three equal sections or nine equal sections. And it's important to know that where these lines meet in the frame are called intersections. These are the most powerful points of interest in your frame. So placing your subject on one or more of these intersections will create a more interesting photo. It also allows you to stop guessing, to take the guesswork out of the shots that you're taking.

Tip No. 4

Next. Let's talk about using negative space in your food photography for more visual impact. The use of negative space allows you to reinforce what's really important in your scene. Negative space means there's not much going on, not a lot of detail, no texture, minimal colors. Positive space is the part of the photo where there is something, where your main subject's at. As our eye moves through the image, it wants to make sense of it. And it will quickly disregard the negative space to move to the space that has the most visual interest, i.e., our hero or our main subject, in turn creating a better sense of purpose, intrigue and more importance.

Tip No. 5

All right. So moving on to adding texture. Texture can be added in so many different ways. One of my very favorite things to think about and to incorporate is the ingredients that I'm using in my dish already. And how can I use them differently in the photo to create more texture and more visual interests?

Tip No. 6

All right, last but not least, let's talk about building your layers in your photograph and how you can actually create depth in your lay flat photography. Starting with our surface, then you have your dishes. From there, you incorporate additional ingredients or props. Last but not least, I love to try to incorporate a human element. So in this photo, I incorporated a hand, which is also great for having your tripod onset so you can know where to place the hand in the shot. All right, you guys. So let's take a look at the egg photo from earlier. So I referenced this in using the rule of thirds. And as you can see on the screen here, I'm building the shot right in front of you. I've got my surface picked out, and I've decided that the way I want to incorporate texture is to cut open this hard-boiled egg, show the egg yolk, which is a very different texture from the tabletop, also a different texture from the egg white. And then it's also really cool story to tell to actually show in the egg shell and have them kind of falling onto the outside of the frame so that when the viewer looks at this image it does look like it's part of a larger story. Whenever you incorporate this method of having pieces or elements fall outside the frame, it does that for your viewer. It tells a bigger and broader story. And all in all, when you look at this photo, it's a pretty cool photo. I'm really happy with this photo. But how do I draw my viewer's attention even more into this egg with the beautiful, broken cracks in it?

Tip No. 7

Well, if you missed last week's video, that's what the entire thing was about. The way that you can have on a lay flat any of your main subjects stand out anymore is by literally lifting them up. So as you can see in this video, I went and grabbed a little perfume bottle and a lipstick tube. I stacked them on top of one another because they were thin enough to be hidden by that egg. And then I use the Portrait mode or Live Focus mode to shoot it. In my case, I use the Portrait mode and created this beautiful depth effect, an intentional depth effect, to draw my viewer's eyes in exactly where I want them to go. That little trick, whenever you position it closer to your lens, then that's going to be intentional use of those shooting modes. And it's going to help make your photos look more professional and more professional.

Now you've got seven food photography composition tips to slay your next flat lay. But what about those of you that really want to take your cell phone photography game to the next level? I've created a private community for other smartphone food photographers just like yourself to start practicing what you learned here, to get feedback from your peers and myself, and it's entirely free. Follow the link below to check it out. I would absolutely love to have you in there. If you like today's video, be sure to let me know by giving it a like, and leave a comment below to let me know what your biggest takeaway was, or let me know any topics you'd like to see covered here. As always, thank you so much for watching. I can't wait to see you practice these tips, and I hope to see you in our community very soon. Thank you again for watching, and I'll see you next week.

Videos Mentioned:

Recourses Mentioned:

Replica Surfaces -

Style & Co. Surfaces -

Tall Tripod:

Short Tripod:


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