Did you know that a lot of common iPhone food photography challenges stem from holding your iPhone? Some of these challenges include trying to find the right angle(s), poor image composition and images that seem grainy or out of focus due to poor light. This post shares the best iPhone tripod for food photography that will help you solve these issues so you can see a major improvement in your food images.
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Why Should You Stabilize Your iPhone Camera?
It’s very convenient to hold your iPhone camera and take a quick picture. But, stabilizing your iPhone with a tripod is one of the best ways to improve your food images. And, when it comes to food photography, (no matter what camera you’re using) a tripod is something you’ll find yourself using more often than not.
How does a tripod help improve your food images?
Using a tripod for your food photography has a lot of benefits including:
- SECURES YOUR CAMERA
- YOUR HANDS ARE FREE FOR OTHER ADJUSTMENTS
- YOU CAN FRAME THE FOOD TO THE CAMERA
- MORE CONTROL OVER YOUR COMPOSITION
- MORE CONTROL OVER YOUR LIGHTING
- MORE CONTROL OVER YOUR CAMERA SETTINGS
- ENSURES THAT YOUR IMAGES ARE IN FOCUS
- HELPS YOU FIND THE “RIGHT” ANGLE(S)
- HELPS IN POOR LIGHTING SITUATIONS
Popular Ways To Stabilize the iPhone
There are a couple of very popular ways to stabilize your iPhone. One is simply holding the iPhone and the other is using an iPhone-specific tripod like a selfie stick or a Joby GorillaPod. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of these options.
Holding The iPhone
Since the iPhone is something that we all carry around with us, it’s natural to just hold it to take a quick picture. But, constantly holding the iPhone for food photography poses some problems.
- Convenient and easy to hold
- Easy to take a quick picture
- Holding the iPhone causes “camera shake” (blurry images)
- You have to move the camera to frame the food rather than frame the food to the camera
- Your hands aren’t free to make adjustments to your image composition or lighting
- Difficult to find the “right” angle(s)
- People develop a “point and shoot” mentality when holding the iPhone
WHAT IS A “POINT AND SHOOT” MENTALITY?
The “point and shoot” mentality is when you pull out your camera and take a quick picture. There’s really no setup or planning involved. Because the iPhone camera is so easy to use, it’s natural for people to develop a point and shoot mentality with it. But, this causes people to not plan ahead for their food images, resulting in images that are taken on the fly and end up falling flat.
READ MORE ABOUT: IPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
There are a lot of selfie sticks and Joby GorillaPods to stabilize your iPhone. I’ve tested quite a few and have not been impressed with any of them. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of the iPhone-specific tripods on the market.
- Small, easy to carry with you
- Easy to use
- Relatively flexible
- Not very secure
- Cheap feeling in functionality
- Height limitations
- Unable to shoot the popular “overhead” or flat lay angle
The Best iPhone Tripod for Food Photography
After testing a few different ways to stabilize my iPhone and not getting the results I wanted, I decided to get creative in my home studio and discovered an awesome iPhone tripod for food photography.
- Solid, secure tripod setup
- More height flexibility for shooting above a table
- Ability to shoot at any angle, including overheads and flat lay shots
- Frees your hands to adjust your food composition
- Helps produce sharper images
- Helps reduce grain in images shot in low light situations
- Easy to set up
- Easy to take down
- Easy to carry with you
- A little more expensive
- A little more equipment
Equipment for the iPhone Tripod
Let’s walk through exactly what you’ll need when it comes to the equipment for this iPhone tripod for food photography. You’ll need the following things:
- TRIPOD WITH CENTER COLUMN
- BALL HEAD
- SUPER CLAMP
- REMOTE SHUTTER (OPTIONAL)
1. Tripod with A Center Column
First, you’re going to need a good tripod with a center column. The center column is necessary because it allows you to position your iPhone securely for overhead and flat lay images. Overhead and flat lay shots are incredibly popular in food photography and a lot of iPhone-specific tripods aren’t designed to help you with that popular angle. There are a lot of different tripods with center columns to explore depending on your budget, but the one I use is the Manfrotto 055 with Center Column and Ball Head.
2. Ball Head
The tripod I linked above already comes with a ball head, so you wouldn’t need to purchase that separately if you bought that particular tripod. A lot of tripods with center columns don’t include the ball head, though. You’ll want to be sure you get one that will securely attach to your tripod. The ball head allows you to adjust the angle of your camera or iPhone with ease. It easily rotates to accommodate any angle you want.
3. Super Clamp
The final piece of equipment you’ll need is a super clamp. The super clamp attaches to the ball head by attaching to the quick release plate (the quick release plate comes with your tripod and/or ball head). Then, you can attach your iPhone to the super clamp. This holds the iPhone camera at any angle you decide to shoot at and is incredibly secure.
4. Metal Phone Tripod Mount
A metal phone tripod mount is another option if you don’t want to get a super clamp. I would choose one or the other, because you definitely don’t need both. This option is made of metal (not plastic), adjusts from vertical to horizontal shots easily, adjusts to different phone widths and is incredibly secure.
5. Remote Shutter (Optional)
A remote shutter is optional, but it has been super helpful for me with this setup. A remote shutter helps you take a picture without actually touching your iPhone. It comes in handy if you need to be far from your iPhone (or in the picture), or if the buttons on your iPhone are obstructed, or if you need to be sure your camera doesn’t move at all. You’d be surprised how the iPhone can pick up camera shake just by tapping it to take a picture, especially in low light situations.
This remote shutter is super small and easy to carry with you. I highly recommend it, but it’s not mandatory for this iPhone setup.
Your camera, no matter what camera you use, is a valuable piece of equipment, so it’s important to invest in gear that will help protect it and make your photo shoots more successful at the same time. I have found this setup to be the absolute best for iPhone food photography. It’s secure, it’s reliable and it helps tackle a variety of challenges that are caused from simply holding your iPhone.
Another cool thing about this tripod setup is that it will work with DSLR or Mirrorless cameras too!
When you start seeing a big improvement in your iPhone food images, you might become inspired to upgrade to a different camera down the road. If that happens, you won’t need to buy a different tripod, because this will work perfectly. Win!
I hope you found this recommendation for an iPhone tripod for food photography helpful! If you run into any questions, just let me know. I’m happy to help!
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All images ©Regan Baroni 2022.