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iPhone apps

If the light­ing is dim in a restau­rant/café, there are a few op­tions I like to use: When I don’t want to bring out ex­tra light­ing gear, my fa­vorite op­tion is to use my iPhone. Whilst most peo­ple might think this means the flash light on their mo­biles, I per­son­ally find that light­ing too harsh. And in warm light­ing con­di­tions, the cool light from mo­biles can some­times make the food look un­ap­peal­ing or cre­ate un­ex­pected re­sults like a blue tinged fore­ground and a yel­low tinged back­ground.

In­stead, I use an app called SoftBox Pro (other apps in­clude Light­Box, SoftBox, or Photo Light HD/Ref­board for iPad) that al­lows me to use my iPhone or iPad screen as a light box. I can change the color of the screen to match the light­ing con­di­tions in the restau­rant so that the col­ors of my food are pre­served.

If the restau­rant uses in­can­des­cent light­ing, choose a yel­low tone so that the food main­tains its color; and in flu­o­res­cent light­ing, use the white to cast light on your sub­ject. Be­cause the whole screen is lit, the light cov­ers a larger sur­face area with­out over­ex­pos­ing any par­tic­u­lar spot.


If you want to take clear photos in a dark space, opt for a speed­light, which is my fa­vorite op­tion if the lo­ca­tion al­lows. Ob­serve your sur­round­ings and try not to im­pose on other guests or make them feel un­com­fort­able, and never use flash in a fine din­ing restau­rant.

Even the most ba­sic speed­light helps as long as you can an­gle the flash so that it’s not aimed di­rectly at the food. It’s al­ways best to look for white walls or ceil­ings to bounce the flash off of, as col­ored walls will af­fect the color of your photo. My per­sonal fa­vorite is to find a white wall and bounce the flash to the side. This cre­ates bet­ter light and shadow play.

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