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- Understanding what makes a food photo appetizing
- Comparing emotional and graphic compositional styles
- Choosing the right camera
- Evaluating lens options
- Choosing light reflectors
- Finding creative backgrounds
- Creating specular and diffuse lighting setups
- Creating different looks for each dish
- Creating a chill effect for drinks
- Shooting on location at a restaurant
- Editing photos
Skill Level Intermediate
Let's take a few minutes to look at some post-production work, or as I like to call it, color tweaking. In this first example, I was shooting the coffee sitting on the chair arm and the light direction was perfect to catch the steam coming off the coffee. The thing that was missing was a nice warm morning feel to the light. You can see here in the original file that the light is looking drab in color. I found that Adobe Lightroom is perfect for what I do in wanting to add my own little tweaks to a photo like this.
Now in the final version you can see that I added the warmth that the real time light was not giving me. Using the Color Temp slider, I was able to dial in the color temperature that gave me the best feel for the warm look I was after. A couple of other small tweaks were to create a slight fill on the back of the chair, again, just using the fill slider and then using the Burn feature, burn in the upper-right side of the image, which is the back of the chair. This took me about five minutes in Lightroom, and it gave me the results that I was seeing in my mind at the time I was shooting.
Now, in this next example, I want to go the opposite way in the field for the color, more towards the cool, or blue, for the feel of this image. You can see here in my original file that the direct sun is giving a great look to the pastry, and the glass plate creates a nice shadow on the tablecloth. The problem is that the file looks pretty plain. So I started to think about the color palette being a cool versus warm. When I came up with was taking the color temperature of the daylight that had been captured and converting it to a tungsten-balanced color temperature.
Now this is something you can do at the time you're shooting by setting your white balance when you're shooting in daylight to record at a tungsten- balanced color temperature. The effect of this will turn what would have been recorded white in daylight to a bluish value. In the case of this image, I did that part in post-production in Lightroom simply by using the dropdown for the white balance and choosing Tungsten. I really like the warm of the pastry in contrast to the cool of the tablecloth.
So take some time and try some post-production tweaks of different variations with your food images. These are simple tweaks, but are also part of the way that I can make my images more unique.
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