Using Lightroom Mobile for iPhone food photography is one of the best ways to improve your food images. Adobe Lightroom is a very popular editing software that a lot of professional photographers use for editing their photos. The cool thing is that the mobile version allows you to use the Lightroom camera app AND the editing features, which makes it incredibly robust for your iPhone photography. This post gives an overview of the Lightroom Mobile camera app and how to use it. So, let’s dive in!
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DSLR vs. iPhone
There’s a pretty big misconception when it comes to improving your food images. People often think they need a “fancy DSLR” to take better pictures. But, the truth is, photography isn’t about what camera you have, it’s about knowing how to use the camera you have. If you take food images with your iPhone, you need to tap into all the features it offers and really learn how to use it.
A DSLR camera has the ability to give you more control over your images, but only if you learn how to shoot in manual mode. This is when you decide your camera settings such as aperture, shutter speed & ISO. If you leave your DSLR on Auto, your camera makes all the decisions for you and while that can sound convenient, it usually results in images that fall flat.
The exact same concept of taking control of your camera settings also applies to your iPhone camera. You just have to learn how to do it. The Lightroom mobile app helps you access your iPhone camera settings so you can practice and learn how the different settings
What Is The Best Photo App For iPhone?
There are several iPhone photo apps out there, but Lightroom Mobile is one of the more robust apps. I love it because it pretty much turns your iPhone camera into a mini DSLR.
Let’s review the features of the LR mobile camera app so you can play with the variety of settings and start seeing an improvement in your food images.
Professional vs. Auto Mode
To access more of the camera settings on your iPhone camera, you need to put the Lightroom camera in “Professional” mode. It will default to Auto mode when you open the app and won’t display these additional settings, so you’ll need to change this manually. Switching to Professional mode gives you a lot more settings to adjust and experiment with.
HOW TO ACCESS PROFESSIONAL MODE IN LIGHTROOM MOBILE
- When you first open the LR camera app it will default to Auto.
- To change this setting, tap Auto in the lower left corner and select Professional from the menu that pops up.
- After you have switched to Professional mode, you’ll see extra tools show up at the bottom of the screen including: Exposure (Exp), Shutter Speed (Sec), ISO, WB (white balance), Auto & Manual Focus and Reset. All of these settings work interchangeably, so experimenting is important to see how it affects your images.
Your exposure is how bright or how dark you want your image to be. Experiment with this setting and watch how it affects your images depending on your lighting situation.
Shutter Speed (SEC)
The Sec is your shutter speed. The faster your shutter speed is, the less light you let into the camera, so the higher you go, the darker your image could become. You also have the ability to freeze motion (like a splash) with a faster shutter speed.
The slower your shutter speed is, the more light you let into your camera, so the lower you go, the brighter your image could become. This also allows you to blur motion as opposed to freeze it (like kitchen action and fast moving hands). Keep in mind that a slower shutter speed may require you to stabilize your iPhone on a tripod to avoid capturing a blurry image.
Your ISO is a tool that adjusts how sensitive your camera is to the light. The higher you go, the more sensitive your camera will be, helping your image appear brighter. Using a higher ISO may come in handy when you need to use a faster shutter speed.
The thing to be careful of is that a high ISO can cause noise or a grainy look to your images.
Your white balance adjusts the color temperature of your image. Images can sometimes appear too blue (cool) or too yellow (warm). The white balance helps you balance this.
WB can be set to Auto (AWB stands for auto white balance) or you can select from Tungsten, Fluorescent, Daylight and Cloudy. You choose these options by tapping on the WB icon at the bottom of the screen. Which WB setting to use really depends on your lighting, so I recommend experimenting to get the color temperature you like best.
The little brackets with a plus sign icon defaults to Auto focus. It’s pretty reliable, but if you tap the icon, you will see a slider appear at the bottom that you can adjust. As you move the slider in one direction, the areas that are actually in focus will highlight in green. Because iPhone screens aren’t very big, it can be hard to see if your image is truly focused. That’s why this is a helpful feature to be sure your image is focused in the areas you want.
Reset does exactly what you think it will do. If you adjust all of your settings for one image and want to start from scratch for the next, you can tap Reset and it will reset your settings so you can start fresh.
DNG vs. JPG
Lightroom mobile for iPhone food photography lets you choose between shooting in RAW vs. JPG. JPG means you are capturing a compressed image. RAW (labeled as DNG) means you are getting all of the information and data for your image – nothing is compressed. There are pros and cons to each of these settings when using your iPhone.
JPG images are smaller in file size won’t take up as much storage on your iPhone.
Your images are compressed, so you lose information about the image which limits your editing capabilities.
You are capturing the full information of your image, so you will have full editing capabilities during post production.
DNG images are larger in file size and will take up much more space on your iPhone.
HOW TO SET YOUR IMAGES TO DNG OR JPG
To choose DNG vs. JPG, go to the top center of the screen where it will say JPG or DNG. To switch, tap it and select the file format you prefer.
The Lightroom camera also lets you choose between different lenses depending on how many lenses your iPhone camera has. Typically you’ll have a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens to choose from in the LR mobile camera app.
To switch between the lenses, tap the lens icon to the right of the camera button at the bottom and select the one you want.
Extra Camera Tools in Lightroom Mobile
If you click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen, a few extra tools will drop down for you to play with. From left to right, they include: Aspect Ratio, Timer, Grid & Level, Highlight Clipping and Settings.
Your aspect ratio is where you choose the width and height of your image. This is important to consider when shooting images for specific media like different social media platforms and websites.
You can set a timer for when you want your iPhone to take the picture. I don’t recommend using the timer, though, because it can be tricky to get the timing juuuuust right. I suggest getting a remote shutter release instead. This little tool helps you take a picture when you want without needing to touch your iPhone or master the timer countdown.
Grid & Level
The grid is a really great tool to help you with your image composition. There are different grids to choose from depending on what works best for your workflow.
The level is also great, because it will let you know if your camera is positioned correctly. For example, with overhead shots, it’s easy to assume your camera is in the right position. But, even if it’s slightly off, it could affect how your image looks making it look sort of awkward. The level will align when it’s in the right spot and will look broken when it’s off. Take advantage of that tool so your images come out looking straight.
The highlight clipping in the LR camera indicates when your image may have certain areas that are too overexposed or underexposed. Usually when this highlight occurs, it means there isn’t any information within the image to work with, so you won’t be able to correct it during editing. You’ll want to avoid having areas of your image too bright or too dark.
The three dots either hide or reveal these extra settings. Simply tap it to hide or show the extra settings as you need them.
Lightroom Mobile for iPhone food photography is a really great tool. There are so many camera settings to experiment with depending on the lighting you are working with. Take some time to experiment with each of them to see how they can help your images improve. Reach out with questions anytime.
READ MORE ABOUT: IPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS & ACCESSORIES
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All images ©Regan Baroni 2022.