Food Photography: 7 Common Mistakes

Do you ever feel that no matter how much effort you put into your food photography, the results are not up to the mark? You may not realize it, but there could be something that you’re not doing right. Or maybe, it might be that your understanding of certain concepts is not yet 100%. In a critique that professional product photographer Karl Taylor did, he noticed that many of the participants were making the same mistakes. He suggests that you ask yourself seven simple questions to ensure that your images come out great. Let’s see what the questions are:

“The key to great food photography is to elevate the hero and subdue the supporting cast.”

The food that you’re photographing is what you should be most concerned about. Well, that’s obvious! However, when composing the shot, it can be easy to lose concentration as you lean more towards getting the overall look right. So, always start by asking yourself whether or not the subject is clear. As Taylor explains beautifully in the video, you can make your hero stand out via composition and lighting.

An interesting concept that Taylor shares in the video is how food photography should have a clear narrative. As he explains, you can tell stories with food photographs using the background, props, and lighting. The purpose is to create desire and invoke emotion in the viewer.

Props are another key element of food photography. This doesn’t mean that you should use any old thing that looks good. Be sure to use props that are cohesive with what you’re shooting. Be very picky about what you want to include in the frame. Use only those pros that fit the scene well while making sense.

And as with any genre of photography, lighting is pivotal in determining whether or not your image will come out well. One very important thing that Taylor highlights in the video is to never light the food from the front. You’ll end up with a flat and boring image this way. Instead, go with side or backlighting. You’ll get an image with enhanced form and texture. Also, pay close attention to the nature of light, whether soft or hard, and the modifiers that you use.

Further into the video, Taylor also talks about the importance of depth of field, getting rid of distractions, and shooting tethered. So, make sure that you watch the entire video for all this insightful information. What’s great is that he shares quite a lot of supporting examples to help you visualize it better. If you’re looking to improve your food photography or want to get started with it, you’ll definitely learn a lot from this video.

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