Top tips for creating your #VogelsNeedsYou creations using your phone

We can’t wait to see your #VogelsNeedsYou creations. To help inspire you to get creative with our new No Bits Seeded White  we’ve pulled together a few tips from content-creation pros Michael and Lucy of Giant Peach.

Hands up who remembers the days of video camcorders? How about taking films to Boots to be developed? To many, it could all seem like a distant memory, because these days, most of us carry incredible little supercomputers (smart phones) in our pockets and one of the most impressive features is their cameras. 

Below, we share a few simple pieces of photography advice, plus some little hacks to help you create fun food creations at home using your phone. So gather the kids, grab your loaf of No Bits Seeded White and get creative. Who knows, you may discover a hidden talent for photography in the process and could be one of our winners!

Have a play, and most importantly, have fun!

1. Clean your lens

It may sound obvious, but it’s easily forgotten! Even a quick rub with the sleeve of your jumper is better than nothing – lenses fog up and get finger grease on them so wiping will ensure clarity. 

2. Composition 

Aim to abide by the rule of thirds to achieve a really professional look. In order to do this, enable the grid on your phone and position the most interesting things in your shot at the intersection of the lines. This simple fix will really help to create balanced and visually appealing images. 

When shooting from above, aka the ‘Flatlay’, place items on the edge of your frame – known as breaking the frame. This will help create a more natural look, avoiding a rigid deliberately composed feel.

Think about symmetry. Do you want your image to have a perfect symmetrical design or pattern? Or could you arrange multiple objects at different distances in odd numbers? 

Don’t forget colour also feeds into composition and can either enhance or distract . Using simple colour theory, select either complimentary colours like blue and orange (the opposite sides of the colour wheel) or neighbouring colours. This useful online tool can help you discover which colours compliment each other.

3. Perspective

Aim for some symmetry when choosing your shot’s angle. Could you go a little to the left, or a little to the right, to even things up? How about shooting in front of a window or using another symmetrical background? 

Taking a photo from an unexpected angle can really elevate the image from “good” to “great” and help it stand out from the crowd. For example, taking a photo of a product from below or just at the foot of the product will make it look towering and commanding. Especially true with wide angle

4. Lighting

It’s always best to use soft natural lighting if you can, with your subject lit from the front rather than behind. It’s rare that a smartphone photo taken with a flash will be very successful – that’s a job for a proper camera. 

So take advantage of any natural light you can find – but beware of very bright light, which can distort images and cause strange shadows in 2D. In this case you might find that forcing the flash on will help to remove these shadows. 

Have a go at moving lamps around and see what works. White LED desk lamps like these are particularly good for lighting smaller objects. Using two of these, one either side of your object, creates a cool light ‘kick’ from the back.

5. Focus

It’s actually quite straightforward to choose where you want your phone to focus your shots and override the automatic focus function that most have as a default setting. 

Simply tap the screen where you want the centre of attention to be in order to sharpen the view.

Use portrait mode on the modern smartphones for a believable depth of field effect. This will allow you to separate the object/subject from the background. 

6. Use a Tripod

Having a tripod will help you to go hands-free when taking your picture or video – something that will prove VERY useful when working with children and food!

Using a tripod will also slow you down – but that’s a good thing, as it will make you consider your composition and framing more carefully. 

A stack of books will do a pretty good job as a substitute tripod if you don’t want to shell out for the real deal. 

Smartphone holders mounted on a gorillapod also work well as you can hang them from branches and pipes etc. 

7. Editing

    • Zoom, don’t crop. Zooming really damages the quality of your photo, so it is best to get closer to the subject in the first place. After the image is actually taken, crop all you like instead.
    • Most phones and indeed social media apps have a wealth of clever editing features that will help you straighten up images, sharpen focus or create more light. You may even be able to isolate the colour in a particular part of the image, which can create an impactful effect 
    • Don’t forget that there are plenty of filters also pre-installed on most phones and on social media to help you switch between levels of focus, colour saturation, blur and other interesting effects 

And finally, if you’d like to have a go at stop-motion animation – just like our countdown GIFs and rocket ship launch – here’s some advice on how to go about it from Lucy:

  • Try different devices. Taking and editing your pictures on a tablet can make stop-motion easier than using an iPhone 
  • Plan out your design fully first before you animate – but don’t make or compile it all yet, as you will probably want to show the recipe’s steps in your video
  • Prepare all the ingredients and food shapes before you start, so that you can make the stop motion flow well without the need to keep stopping
  • This is a real family effort – with at least two people needed. One is there to take the picture, the other to move the food around, so consider that with planning!
  • Life Lapse App is great to help with editing 
  • Steady does it – it’s that the camera be it a smartphone or laptop is absolutely still and always in the same position when taking photos for stop-motion. 

Whatever your creation, a food animal, a rocket sandwich, simple bread cut outs be sure to have fun and enjoy eating up the ‘props’ after 😉