3 Common Mistakes You Want to Avoid When Photographing Food

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Last Updated on December 8, 2023

Photographing food isn’t the same as, say, photographing nature or creating portraits. So, food photography requires some special skills and peculiar vision of a person committed to this photography genre. So, it comes as no surprise that beginners often commit some common mistakes when trying their hand at still life food photography. 

No matter if you’re new to this field or have already established a reputation as a professional photographer, there’s always room to grow and polish your skills. So, if this is what you’re striving for, you’ll find today’s post where we are reviewing the most common food photography mistakes particularly helpful! 

#1 Failure to Tell a Story 

Process of making pasta

Just like any other artist, a photographer needs to tell a story with their images or a series thereof. Even a professionally captured photo will be insipid and devoid of life if you fail to create an effective narrative. No need to aim for something too fancy or sophisticated. It can be a simple story told by a couple of frames. You can create a truly impressive composition using props and lighting. You can also go bold and experiment with backgrounds. You may want to choose something vivid and colorful. Lavender and periwinkle are on-trend now. Try periwinkle hex code with Vista Create and see what will come out of it! All in all, you need to always try to tell a captivating story whether it’s a classic chocolate chip cookie or exquisite caviar with salmon tartar recipe. Your images should evoke emotions in your viewers and make them want to learn more as in the situations where they’re reading a captivating story.       

#2 Failure to Single Out the Main Subject

12 Best Food Photography Tips and Techniques | Photojaanic

When working on their masterpieces, lots of photographers tend to elaborate on details, at the same time forgetting to pay due attention to the focal point, or an object that’s supposed to play the major part in the photo. As with any photography genre, the secret to successful food photography is to single out the ‘main actor’ and make sure viewers will notice its exceptional role. As for ‘supporting cast’ it should be strong but in no way outweighing the hero of your composition. For this, you need to make sure you’re arranging the composition properly. Note that your main subject doesn’t necessarily need to be placed at the focal point or even be present entirely in the frame. Just ensure to arrange the composition in a way such that it helps your viewers understand what is a real hero in your photo. Effective props can enhance the subject and add more meaning to it, and wisely chosen lighting can go a long way accentuating the main object and guiding viewers’ eyes to it. 

Last but not least, remove all potential distractions from your photo that may get in the way of accentuating your subject. Apart from the unnecessary objects that you don’t want in your frame, make sure to smooth bright highlights and busy backgrounds for a clearer picture. 

#3 Failure to Properly Set Up Lighting 

Godox SLB60 Next Level Constant Lighting For Food Photography - We Eat  Together

It’s not a secret that lighting is one of the most crucial factors that allows creating a smooth, clear, and effective photo composition. The position of light can dramatically change the look of your images and thus your viewers’ perception of them. 

When it comes to shooting food, one of the most commonly made mistakes is opting for front lighting that highlights the front of your subject. This normally results in insipid, boring, and flat pictures that fail to elicit any emotions out of your audience. If you want to add more dimensionality and like to your images, try to experiment with off-camera lighting more. Soft side and back lighting may come in particularly handy as it helps vivify and spruce up your food photos. You can also try combining soft and hard light in order to bring out some particular aspects of your composition. Don’t ignore flagging as an effective method of shaping and controlling your light.       

These are only three instances of common mistakes you will want to avoid in your food photography practice. Note that there’s no universal recipe for success as it’s only your experience, artistic vision, and creativity that should guide you in your work. Keep on improving your skills to impress your audience with even more effective food photos!

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