Published March 07, 2012
Sometimes food just calls out to be photographed -- that is if you can stand the wait before digging in.
Whether it's a dish almost too pretty to eat, or something so extravagant you need photographic evidence to show your friends, there are plenty of smartphone apps to help you photograph your food.
Many apps take advantage of your smartphone's GPS system to help you locate the restaurant where you're eating, or restaurants nearby, and share food photos with other users.
Mobile Food Spotting
When you first open the app, you can browse 'what's nearby' by scanning through photos other users have taken at nearby restaurants and rate their dishes – from want it, to nom it, great shot or great find.
You can easily take or upload your own food photo, then describe the dish and where it came from.
Foodspotting also allows you to search for restaurants, or you can use the 'find the best' search for a specific food item and view images uploaded from other users.
You can take a culinary journey using different 'Guides,' where you are challenged to spot foods from multiple restaurants near your location. The Guides provide a map telling you the restaurants' locations and menu suggestions.
Foodspotting allows you to follow people via Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. You can also follow specific places or foods. Foodspotting sends out a weekly 'Personal Spotter's Digest' email featuring the most interesting sighting of the week and personal recommendations for places and dishes.
Meals in a Snap
If you're looking to keep a food journal of everything you eat, then Meal Snap is the app for you.
Meal Snap, an app available for iPhone and Windows Phone by Daily Burn that costs $.99, is a dieter's best friend. The app allows you to take a picture of your food, then estimates how many calories it has.
The test can take a few minutes, but can be surprisingly accurate.
Meal Snap correctly identified a York peppermint patty and calculated that it contained 108-162 calories. There are actually 140 calories.
If you're a serious calorie counter, one downside is that the calorie estimate can be a bit broad. For a bowl of ramen soup, which Meal Snap identified as 'A Bowl of Soup With Noodles,' the app estimated between 298-447 calories. There were actually 480 calories.
Meal Snap is not easily fooled. When presented with a photo of someone's hand, the app identified it as 'Not Food' and therefore zero calories.
The app keeps track of the meals you've submitted and the total estimated calories in an easy to follow scrolling calendar along the side of the screen.
You can share your Meal Snap account via Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare.
Flickr by Yahoo is already a thriving photo sharing community, but add the 'Foodtography' tag to your photo and you can join the group of over 3,000 users who love to upload and share their food pics from around the world.
Users can show off their homemade concoctions or share photos of dishes tasted at street fairs, food carts, restaurants and more.
When uploading or taking a photo from your smartphone, you can add a title to your dish pic and a caption to your picture before you post it on Flickr. You can also add your location.
The app stores your uploads and recent activity so it's easy to keep track of your food pics and Flickr also allows you to add contacts so you can keep track of your friends' photos.
You have to create a Yahoo account if you want to use it, but a plus is you can also go online to the Foodtography group page and discuss food photography with other users. The Flickr app is free and available for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone users.