Food Photo Fun

Now that phones have better and better cameras, I tend to use them more and more. What I’m primarily looking for—and I’m by no means an expert at this—is to have a situation where no flash is required.

Flash just does very awful things to food photos and so I never use it. I do have a very nice micro 4/3 camera (Lumix GF1) with a “pancake” lens that’s especially good for depth of field and low interior lighting without a flash. Many of my past food pics going back a couple of years were taken with that; but more and more, I find myself going with the iPhone, and particularly so with PhotoStream, where I don’t have to do any importing. …Although, I’ve used an Eye-Fi SD card for years that actually has Wi-Fi and so my photos get downloaded to the computer, at the ready. But PhotoStream saves  time and steps.

Another reason I’ve been going more and more with the iPhone is because of the Instagram app. Basically, you take a pic and can go with native, or choose from a number of canned effects. Once you choose one, it’s in your library, gets shuttled to PhotoStream, and you can also share it on the fly to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and a few other things including email lists you can set up. A very convenient app.

Here’s some examples. I just had an exchange with someone on the FTA Facebook page about using “hipster” effects, like making it look retro and shit. I never try to do that. I simply try each one and remember my favorite one as I go along, looking for the best enhancement, like an A-B test, where each best becomes A, and so on.

IMG 1144
Bacon & Eggs w Fat Bread Pan Toasted in Butter
IMG 1146
Instagram Effects
IMG 1145
Instagram: A Brisket & Fat Bread Sandwich

Sorry, can’t seem to locate the original for that one. But here’s a comparison with an omelet from the other day from leftovers. This was originally a chili I made with grassfed ground beef, my brother’s wild kill ground elk, and the same elk mixed with pork into a sausage. 

IMG 1156
IMG 1161

What are we going to do with all these options? We’re going to keep charging forward, laughing at the pips and squeaks, showing up with increasing regularity in comments here.

It’ll pass, because I always point out how they do nothing because they don’t, and they eventually get a conscience of some sort, or go away, neither of which I give a shit about either way.

As always, onward.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Tom on September 25, 2012 at 11:40

    Nothing wrong w/using Instagram.

    Some other tips:

    – Use mid tone or darker plates & backgrounds; white can blow out easily.

    – the light in your kitchen’s vent hood is probably gorgeous & soft, but you never noticed because it was overwhelmed by the kitchen lights. See what a plate of food looks like if you turn out all the kitchen lights except for the light hood on the stove, and raise the food up on some sort of small platform (maybe one of those wire things they serve pizzas on?) a couple of feet (easiest: just have someone hold it right under the hood) so it’s bathed in the soft light from the hood. (And consider shielding the food from the direct bulb light. Just put a 2″ piece of cardboard directly over the bulb so that *all* of the light falling on the food is “bounce light”, completely soft.) And try to keep the background darker, even black (with a piece of cloth or black mat board from an office supply store.) I bet the result will be gorgeous.

    But there have got to be a million tutorials for how to photograph food gorgeously on the web. (What you’re searching for is “tabletop photography tutorials”.)

  2. Doug McGuff, MD on September 25, 2012 at 15:44

    Your eggs look like…..”Oh No Mr. Bill!”.

Leave a Comment

Follow by Email8k