I always say that making mistakes is a part of learning. But, it doesn’t always have to be your mistakes, you can also learn from those that other people make. Karl Taylor noticed that there are seven mistakes that food photographers make regularly. So, if you’re into food photography, read on, watch the video and take notes so you don’t have to make them too.
1.The hero isn’t clear
When photographing a dish, it’s the “hero” of your shot. Your image should elevate the hero and subdue the “supporting cast,” and you can do it through composition and lighting. However, a common mistake photographers make is not making the hero clear enough.
To fix this, you can use smaller or less significant items and props to guide the viewer’s attention to the subject. Also, make sure to light the subject properly, don’t make the supporting elements brighter and more prominent.
2. No clear narrative
All good food images should tell a story. Whatever the story you’re trying to tell, the image should create the desire and invoke emotion in the viewer. Therefore, think about what you want your message to be and organize the image so that it conveys the message.
3. An overpowering supporting cast
As mentioned in the first point, you want your supporting cast to elevate the hero and not overpower it. To avoid “smothering” your main subject in the additional elements, think carefully about what props you want to include. Think about whether each of them fits the scene you’re trying to create.
4. Incorrect lighting style
You don’t want to use front on lighting when shooting food. This type of lighting doesn’t work well for food photography as it results in a flat, boring image. Instead, use side light or backlight as it enhances the texture and the form of the subject.
Another thing to think about is which modifiers you want to use, especially if you shoot reflective, glossy objects like berries. Think about what sort of lighting you want to create and modify the light to do it.
While soft light works for food photography, remember that it shouldn’t be too soft. Similar to front lighting, one that is too soft can make the image appear flat. To avoid this, you can combine soft with hard light, or diffuse your light in a way that it isn’t completely flat.
5. The wrong depth of field
A shallow depth of field is commonly used when photographing food, but it isn’t a rule. It can look nice and help to isolate the main subject but using a too narrow depth of field because it can take away from the narrative and the message that you’re trying to convey.
There’s no ideal depth of field for photography. There’s only what’s ideal for the story that you want to tell, and every image has a story of its own.
6. Unnecessary distractions
Unnecessary or unsuitable props can be a distraction, taking away from your main subject. But so can bright highlights, busy backgrounds or awkwardly placed items. These distractions are small but meaningful, and they can take away a lot from your shots.
If you shoot on location, remove the distractions from the background as much as you can. When you shoot in the studio, choose the right backdrop and use flags to block some of the unnecessary light. Also, pay attention to the placement of your props and the contrast their colors create with the backdrop and the rest of the elements in the composition.
7. Not shooting tethered
If you can, always shoot food photos tethered. This is the best way to properly see what you’re shooting, and you can see a lot more than on your camera display. You can use Lightroom for tethered shooting, as well as your camera’s software or Capture One.