Using Lightroom mobile for iPhone food photography is one of the best ways to improve your food images. The standard iPhone camera app works ok, but isn’t nearly as robust. Adobe Lightroom is a very popular editing software that a lot of professional photographers use for editing their photos. The mobile version allows you to use the Lightroom camera app as well as the editing features which helps you take much more control over your iPhone images. This post covers the Lightroom Mobile camera app features. So, let’s dive in!
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DSLR vs. iPhone
First, there’s a pretty big misconception when it comes to improving your food images. People often think that if they get a fancy DSLR, their images will magically improve. But, that’s not what happens.
The truth is, if you want to improve your food images, you need to learn how to use the camera you have. Whether that’s a DSLR or your iPhone, there are tips and tricks you can learn to use your camera to its fullest potential. There’s so much more involved than “point and shoot.”
A DSLR will give you more control over your images, but only if you learn how to shoot in manual mode. This is when you decide your exposure settings (aperture, shutter speed & ISO). If you leave the DSLR on Auto, your camera will make the decisions for you. But, because your camera is just a tool, it won’t always make the right decisions for your images.
The same concept applies to your iPhone camera. You can take more control over your images, but you have to learn how to adjust your iPhone camera settings. The Lightroom mobile app helps you do this. You do not need a fancy DSLR to take more control over your images.
What Is The Best Photo App For iPhone?
LIGHTROOM MOBILE FOR IPHONE FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
While there are several iPhone editing apps out there, Lightroom Mobile is one of the more robust apps. One of the things I love the most about the Lightroom Mobile app is that it pretty much turns your iPhone into a mini DSLR. Be sure to download the app (it’s free!) and let’s review its features.
PROFESSIONAL VS. AUTO MODE
To get access to more settings on your iPhone camera (similar to a DSLR camera), you need to put the Lightroom camera in “Professional” mode – not Auto mode. Professional mode will offer you a lot more settings for you to play with and will help you take control over your images.
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 including exposure (Exp), shutter speed (Sec), ISO, WB (white balance), Auto & Manual Focus and Reset.
Your exposure is how bright or how dark you want your image to be. Being able to adjust this yourself is a really powerful feature to be sure you’re capturing the mood you want.
SHUTTER SPEED (SEC)
The Sec is your shutter speed, which is another amazing tool to use with your iPhone. The faster your shutter speed, the less light you let in and you have the ability to freeze motion. The slower your shutter speed, the more light you let in and you have the ability to blur motion.
Keep in mind if you want a sharp image that’s in focus, but need to use a slower shutter speed, it’s important to stabilize your iPhone. Cameras will pick up camera shake from the most stable of hands causing the image to be out of focus. Look into getting a tripod to support your iPhone.
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 letting in more light. The thing to be careful of is creating ‘noise’ in your image. A high ISO can cause noise or a grainy look to your images. A lower ISO is usually best for food images.
Your white balance adjusts the color temperature of your image. It can be set to Auto or you can select from Tungsten, Fluorescent, Daylight and Cloudy by tapping on the WB icon. You can also set a custom white balance when needed. Which WB setting to use really depends on your lighting, so I recommend playing around to get the color temperature you like best.
The little brackets with a plus sign that says Auto is your manual focus. It defaults to Auto, but if you tap the icon, you will see a slider appear at the bottom that you can adjust. The areas that are in focus will highlight in green as you adjust the slider. It’s a great feature to be sure you’re focused, because it can sometimes be hard to tell on the iPhone screen.
Reset does exactly what you think it will do. If you adjust 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. Easy peasy.
DNG VS. JPG
Lightroom mobile for iPhone food photography is also really great, because you can choose if you want to shoot in RAW vs. JPG. JPG means you are capturing a compressed image. RAW (labeled as DNG on the LR camera) means you are getting all of the information of your image – nothing is compressed. There are pros and cons to each of these settings when using your iPhone.
JPG images 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 in post production.
You are capturing the full information of your image, so you will have full editing capabilities during post production.
DNG images will take up much more space on your iPhone.
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.
TELEPHOTO LENS VS. WIDE ANGLE
The Lightroom camera also lets you choose between different lenses: a wide angle lens (W), an ultra wide angle lens (UW) and a telephoto lens (T). The wide angle lens is similar to the standard camera app lens. The ultra wide angle lens gets even wider and would be great to use for landscapes, table scapes or interiors of a kitchen or restaurant.
The telephoto lens zooms in so you can capture details more up close and still capture a sharp image.
To switch between the lenses, tap the lens icon to the right of the camera button at the bottom.
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 also set a timer for when you want your iPhone to take the picture. I never use the timer, though, because it can be tricky to get the timing just right. I highly recommend using a remote shutter release instead. This little tool helps you take a picture when you want without worrying about touching your iPhone or trying to master the timer countdown.
READ MORE ABOUT: IPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS & ACCESSORIES
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.
Lightroom Mobile for iPhone food photography is incredibly robust, isn’t it? And, we only covered the camera portion of it this app! There are SO many settings to play with which gives you so much more control and ultimately helps you improve your food images. Play around with the app, learn the features and see how different settings can affect your images. There are a bunch of photo editing features that you can play with too, but that’s coming in another post. 😉
READ MORE ABOUT: THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
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All images ©Regan Baroni 2022.