I often get asked by new photographers who are looking to photograph food — can I be a food photographer with an iPhone? Or at least get started with their iPhone.
The answer is yes! You’re not defined by the camera you use.
In this post, I’m sharing the advice that I give new photographers starting out with an iPhone.
Limitations of being a Food Photographer with an iPhone
I firmly believe that it’s best to get started with what you have and that’s what I encourage.
While you most definitely can get started in food photography with an iPhone, there are limitations that you’ll eventually face as your photography skills grow.
At some point, the reason that you’ll need a camera is that there are limitations to shooting with an iPhone including:
- Size of image files and format limitations.
- Creative restrictions, there are limitations to how you can express your creativity.
- Restrictions on focal length of your lenses.
- Limitations to lighting and tethering abilities.
Composition & Lighting Skills Happen Outside the Camera
The good news is that you can get started because there are skills that happen outside the camera, (or in your case, your iPhone).
You can learn and practice these regardless of the camera you use or becoming a food photographer with an iPhone.
Why You Will Eventually Need a Camera
One of the main reasons that you will need a camera is that if you end up shooting for clients, you need the ability to shoot RAW files. Plus, the freedom the creative control cameras give us.
This includes things like:
- Shooting different apertures and focus modes.
- Taking macro and detail shots.
- Hooking up to artificial lighting and tethering for clients.
- Select the best focal length or lens for the subject.
Borrow a Camera or Rent One to Use
A lot of photographers are really set on believing they need a camera before they can get started. But cameras cost money (dah!) and sometimes it’s nice to make sure you’re committed.
When I first started, I borrowed a camera. For years in fact. I was able to borrow one of my dad’s cropped sensor cameras. Check out the difference between full frame and cropped sensors here.
In fact, I used second-hand or borrowed cameras for nearly 8 years of my journey until I bought my first camera – a mirrorless camera.
You Don’t Need A Brand New Camera, Buy a Used One
You don’t need the best or most expensive camera to be a good photographer. In fact, I spent the first 8 years of my journey using second-hand or borrowed cameras.
It’s better to get started on working on skills than to do nothing and wait until you can afford the best camera.
Use your local online marketplaces and reputable camera stores to see what deals or secondhand options they have.
Not sure what to look for? Here are some tips for what you need when buying a new camera.
Where Do You Start? Learn Food Photography!
Now that you’re confident and excited that you can get started today (and save for that used camera), what skills should you learn first?
Check out my Start Here page. I’ve outlined, in order, the skills I recommend working on.
Composition and Lighting are great places to get started. Check out the online courses I teach for food photography.
There is also a heap of Beginner Resources on this blog for you to sink your teeth into. Make sure to bookmark this site and can’t wait to be photography BBFs!