How to take bad-ass #foodpics using your phone

  Posted by - March 3, 2015 - CynEats Foodie Guide

If there’s one question I get all the time, it’s: “Cynthia, how do you take your food pics??”

So today’s the day I share all my tips and tricks.

And contrary to popular belief… you don’t need a fancy camera to take good photos. All you need is a smartphone, the right lighting, the right composition, and a great edit.

(video by: Daniel Fabio)

Side: 90% of my Instagram photos are taken through my iphone 6 and every photo below is also taken with my iphone.

Tip #1: Use your hands

Sometimes food looks better when it’s not sitting down on the table. I like to play with different angles, especially when it comes to desserts, burgers and bagels .

Tip #2: Find the right lighting & never ever use flash!

Whenever I go to a restaurant, I’ll ALWAYS look for a seat with the best natural lighting.

For example, both these photos are unedited. One was taken in bad lighting, the other was taken facing the light.

PS: I also turned this burger around to its most photogenic side lol.


Q&A: @siecy7 asked “How you always seem to catch the light is ah-mah-zing! Teach us! :)”

To be 100% honest… I’m a total pain in the butt when it comes to lighting. I’ll totally move the food over to another table if I HAVE to. And when making ressies, a convo will typically go like this “Hi, can I make a reservation for 6pm, preferably at a table with GREAT lighting!” <– lol, I know… I’m a pain.

Tip #3: Find the right background

My fav backgrounds are usually white spaces and marble tops (it just makes the picture look cleaner). White is right.

+ white sheets, white walls, marble tables

+ wooden tables

+ scenery pics (ie: holding out ice cream in front of the sunset or a cool backdrop of the city)

Tip #4: Arm swag

I’m a total fan of arm swag. I like to incorporate finger jewelry, watches, and bracelets to coffee & dessert pics. The top left photo and bottom right photo are pics I took of Katey Yurko of during our coffee dates!

PS: Add your sunglasses, clutch, hat, etc to show off your own style.

Tip #5: Composition

+ Make sure everything fits into a square. Sometimes less is more.

+ If you can’t fit everything into your picture, stand up!

+ Move things around (this can be kinda annoying to other people when you move their napkin or fork out of the way lol). So ask nicely.

+ Try different angles (my favorite is birds eye view, which is from directly above)

Now moving on to editing…

Q&A: @lovelylyfestyle asked “Maybe share apps you use for editing photos for blog/Instagram?”

I like to keep things simple. My two favorite apps for editing is through Instagram and Vsco.

First, I’ll show you how I would edit this photo only using IG: before & after



1. increase brightness (b/c I love bright/white photos)

2. increase contrast to make the colors pop

3. decrease warmth to get rid of the “yellowish” color

… and voila! That’s a typical Cyn Eats edit.


Now here’s another example where I held up this bagel against a white wall (except, the wall looked 50 shades of gray). Edit: Using only Instagram… increase the exposure & highlights & contrast. Looks much better, right?

Using VSCO

Now here, I’m using the Vsco app. I’m a huge fan of the “C1” filter.

Sometimes, I’ll just use that filter and call it a day. (It’s my lazy girl edit)


If you want to see more Vsco edits, my entire trip to Japan was taken on my iphone 6. Then edited through this “c1 filter” aka… I was too lazy to edit everything.

Breakfast + Sunrise view from our hotel (Grand Hyatt in Roppongi)

Breakfast + Sunrise view from our hotel (Grand Hyatt in Roppongi)

And yes, I am THAT asian girl taking a bunch of food pics. #noshame

And now you guys all know how I take and edit my photos! Follow, tag, comment @cyneats if you have any questions.

PS: I just made a brand new Facebook account where I’ll be posting more tips and pics:

I only have 8 followers right now, so show me some love! lol.

Hope this helped!





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  • Jane September 6, 2019 - 3:30 pm Reply

    I have Android, but found this helpful! I also love VSCO’s C1 filter! I have my own additional tweaks to it to help balance out some photos, though. I like how you don’t stress the “muse-use-DSLR” thing like a lot of people do, because?? Not everyone can afford it and then we spend too much time procrastinating. D:

  • Phone Eats First - marlo marketing March 15, 2019 - 4:00 am Reply

    […] Image Source: CynEats  […]

  • […] With their iPhones or tablets permanently fixated next to their coffee mug, this lot are ready to add a #filter on to each course and would rather their food go cold than miss out on a few extra likes (somthing we’re definitely guilty of.) And for those of you who want to learn how to take some bad-ass #foodpics check out this tutorial by […]

  • Adriana April 15, 2017 - 7:42 pm Reply

    Amazing !! Thank you .

  • Tamika February 12, 2017 - 11:30 pm Reply

    Thanks doll. You just made my blogging life 100% easier. Your amazing.

  • […] a shitty photographer (I was terrible- story HERE)…and you have time to learn- then research photography tips, watch YouTube videos, and practice practice […]

  • […] Read THIS article on “How To Take Bad Ass Food Pics With Your iPhone” <— good starter […]

  • […] Foodie photo tip: you always want to face the light! […]

    • July 20, 2016 - 7:33 am Reply

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  • Christina Lam March 18, 2015 - 2:47 pm Reply

    This is such a great post!!! You have such an awesome blog and I love that you’re teaching us your secrets!

    • CynEats March 18, 2015 - 4:04 pm Reply

      Thank you! :)

  • […] cares so much about her readers. She’s killin’ it. And she deserves it. Her recent post on taking good food pictures really blew me away. She half asses […]

  • Kara March 5, 2015 - 11:20 pm Reply

    Cooool! For some reason, I’ve never played with the instagram settings and only use the filters. Thanks for the inspo!

    • CynEats March 11, 2015 - 9:04 am Reply

      You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed this post :)

  • Angelo March 5, 2015 - 3:45 pm Reply

    Are all your blog photos also taken with your iphone?

    • CynEats March 11, 2015 - 9:03 am Reply

      90% of my blog photos are taken with my iphone. I recently got a new camera (fuji x100s), so you’ll be seeing a lot more professional looking photos :)

  • Diane R. March 5, 2015 - 1:22 pm Reply

    Your pics and videos are sooo cute!!! I also use vsco, but have overlooked the C1 filter. I didn’t realize it makes such a huge difference in your photos.

    • CynEats March 11, 2015 - 9:02 am Reply

      Thank you! Isn’t that the filter amaz? I feel like it makes anything look good!

  • Lauren March 5, 2015 - 12:46 pm Reply

    I love how you’re so open to sharing your tips! I know that theres a lot of other bloggers out there who don’t like to give away their secrets. Thanks for being awesome!

    • CynEats March 11, 2015 - 9:01 am Reply

      Of course! I hate it when other bloggers are shady!

  • Sam March 4, 2015 - 4:35 am Reply

    love this! :) I cannot agree better that — GOOD LIGHTING is everything!!!
    Oh and after this post, I’ll probably have to game up my arm swag, cos I rarely wear accessories :p

    • CynEats March 5, 2015 - 9:38 pm Reply

      Good lighting + arm swag= food pic heaven lol! Go to forever 21 and grab a set of midi rings for like 5 bucks!

  • Kelly - A Side of Sweet March 4, 2015 - 4:08 am Reply

    Awesome post! I need to step up my hand bling game, obviously! Also, we should photogenically brunch sometime – I’ve also been known to wait up to 45 minutes for a table to open up with better lighting! :)

    • CynEats March 5, 2015 - 9:35 pm Reply

      LOL yes i’m soooo down for that! Would love to get together, email me:

  • Stacey L March 3, 2015 - 12:08 pm Reply

    Been obsessed with your insta feed! Thanks for all the suggestions… this is so awesome.

    • CynEats March 5, 2015 - 9:34 pm Reply

      You’re welcome! Glad you like it:)

  • Julia March 3, 2015 - 11:16 am Reply

    I’m loving that tutorial you did! and your videos are so cute!!! Going to apply some of your hand tricks to my ice cream pic haha

    • CynEats March 3, 2015 - 11:35 am Reply

      yay! don’t forget to tag me so I can see! :)

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