Posted by on Mar 8, 2013 in Handy Dandy looloo Tips | 5 Comments

Because looloo has tons of restaurant reviews, admittedly, most of us (guilty!) end up taking pictures of our food more than anything else. Unfortunately, the trying-hard n00b food photographer in me cries a little inside whenever my shots end up looking, well… let’s just say they’re not very appetizing. -__-

Starbucks - looloo Restaurant Review

Erick works his magic even on food as simple as a Starbucks’ Snack Pack

Luckily, a member of The looloo Crew just happens to be an expert at amateur food photography. Armed with nothing more than his trusty iPhone, Erick B.’s taken some of the best food photos I’ve ever seen! I thought I’d get some tips on how mere mortals like myself can take food photos that don’t suck.

Tip 1: “NEVER use flash.”

Let’s start with a quick basic rule. First of all, nobody likes the annoying guy who interrupts everyone else’s meal by blinding them with his camera’s flash. Not only that, but turning on your flash for photos makes them look overexposed, unnaturally lit, and just downright sad.

Never use flash - taking food photos with iPhone

With flash: like someone took your dish outside and shone a flashlight on it

Tip 2: “Take food photos from fork’s eye view.”

While it might be tempting to take a photo of the entire meal’s spread in front of you, being able to focus on just one dish (preferable yours, of course!) is often a better alternative. Erick’s tip is to take your snapshots from “fork’s eye view.” Find a really good angle for your dish, as if your camera were mounted on your fork, and start from there — you’d be surprised what kind of cool close-ups you can take!

Pepper Lunch - looloo Restaurant Review

Be one with with the fork. Be one with the fork. Be the fork.

Tip 3: “You’re using an iPhone — make use of the apps!”

While not a fancy DSLR, Erick says the iPhone’s got its own secret weapon: apps. Aside from being a lot cheaper ($0.99!), Erick says that with the right apps and skillz to use them, there are apps out there that can make your photos look like they were taken by pros! Here are a few of his favorites apps:

1) Camera+ ($0.99)

Erick: “Aside from being able to manually choose exposure and focus points when taking a single photo, I really like how my foodie pics look after applying the Food and Miniaturize photo effects. Sometimes, that’s all I have to do, actually!”

I tried it for myself and I’d like to think it turned out pretty well for a first attempt!

Camera+ for your looloo Restaurant Reviews

Close enough.

2) Big Lens ($0.99)

Erick: “I use Big Lens for its bokeh effect — I like that I can sort of color in the parts of the photo I’d like to focus on. Also, being able to play around with things like simulated apertures is cool.”

Erick provided me with a play-by-play for his latest photo of Louisiana Pork Chops from Relish. It literally took him like, 5 minutes to finish the entire thing. Mad skillz, yo.

Big Lens for your looloo Restaurant ReviewsHehehehe… Bokeh is a funny word.

3) Snapseed (FREE)

Erick: “Snapseed is good because first of all… it’s FREE! Woohoo! For most basic editing jobs, Snapseed’s probably all you need. You get full control over post processing, so you can adjust brightness, saturation, etc. It’s also got a lot of cool features like tilt-shift and center-focus for that bokeh effect. Filters aren’t as nice as other apps but everything else is really good.”

I definitely agree with Erick on this one. Snapseed is my go-to app for photo editing on my phone (okay fine, I’m a cheapskate and a sucker for free apps). Still, if this Photoshop competitor is good enough for the almighty Google, it’s good enough for me!

Snapseed - take awesome food photos with your iPhoneGeez these photos are making me hungry.

Armed with this arsenal of tips, it’s time to head out and try ‘em out for yourselves. Let loose the creative spirit in you!

We updated this post and you check it out on the looloo insights article, “3 Tips for Taking Drool-Worthy Food Photos with your Smartphone!”


  1. Tracy
    March 8, 2013

    Super love this! I often use Camera+ & Hipstamatic for my food shots on looloo. :D

    • EJ dela Vega
      March 11, 2013

      We love looking at your review photos! You are the pro, after all. :D

      • Tracy
        March 12, 2013

        Aww shucks, thank you! :”>

  2. iPhood Photograph | Flat Art Studios
    July 19, 2013

    […] the image. There are great iPhone apps out there, like Camera+, Big Lens and Snapseed (visit for more […]

  3. Carsti
    August 5, 2014

    Instead of all those fancy apps you could as well give the build in HDR a try.
    And yes, suggestions for improvement welcomed: