My 10 Food Photography Mistakes

Every time I sit in front of my computer and start editing I notice some of the common mistakes that I make quite often. So, I thought I’m going to share some of my thought that usually go through my mind while I’m editing in Lightroom. Sometimes I honestly feel like I don’t like some details on my images and I just ignore them because otherwise, I would never publish anything. I feel like it’s a journey and we can’t get everything right at the beginning. I believe that sometimes it’s important to publish some of the images to get feedback and learn from the mistakes to get better.

Before I go on, I need to make a little disclaimer because photography is very subjective and these are just my thoughts and critics on my own images. I’m quite sure that some of you who are reading this might think otherwise and have different opinions. However, I believe that different views are just part of photography.

My 10 food photography mistakes:

  1. Glare

You might notice that these images here have a little glare. It might not be that hard, but once I see it, then it starts to bother me. I find that some of the hardest things for food photography are forks and glasses. It just gives that glare that doesn’t always have to be there. Sometimes it might be okay, but other times it’s just so annoying that I can’t digest it. I read that the best solutions here are some white cards or polarizer filter. I usually use a polarizer for my travel lens. However, I haven’t used it for my food photography. Recently, I ordered new circular polarizer for my 50 mm 1.8 lens, and hopefully, I can fix my glare issues with this filter.

2. Comfort zone

Yes, I’m still a human. I get trapped in my comfort zone and try to get things done as quickly as possible. I’m just used to my usual routine, and I forget to try new “tricks”. However, when I have time I usually promise myself to try something new and I even write down some new ideas for the future.

  1. Reflection

Reflection is one of the things that is quite annoying for me. I know that you can always use it as a creative tool, but sometimes it just drives me crazy. All the forks, glasses, and shiny tableware are a challenge because most of the time they give the reflection with some light. Usually, I will get my window or tripod reflection that doesn’t look good (here might also help the polarizer filter or white cards). I know that some people use all kind of crazy trick with chemistry. However, I personally still would like to eat the food I make. So, I try to skip these kinds of tricks. Maybe someday I will think otherwise.

  1. Focus

That usually happens when I’m rushing with my shoot. Sometimes I’m just a little bit too hungry, or I have planned too many tasks for my day. So, I try to get things done as quickly as possible. However, I still forget to double check the focus with 100% zoom. Usually, I notice my mistakes when I’m editing, and I might be mad at myself for doing that.

I usually use the back-button for my focus (AF-L). That’s one of the best things I discovered once I started to notice my focus problems.

  1. Overexposed

About a few years ago I read that when you overexpose your images and raw files, then you lose a lot of information that you can’t get back while editing. I have noticed that as well. That’s precisely what I do when I don’t notice my settings. Mainly, it happens when I’m in a room that has A LOT of light that is always changing. My first year of photography I didn’t even read my histogram in my Adobe Lightroom. Somehow I was ignoring the manual mode and didn’t want to learn technical things. Big mistake! After I started to get more comfortable with Lightroom, then I noticed that my photography got better. Editing is just so big part of the photography.

Here you can see one of my raw files for the breakfast bowl. I overexposed the image, and in the end, I lost a little bit too much information. The image on the right is a little bit better, and I managed to get some more information with editing.

  1. Depth of field

Sometimes I place the food too close to my backdrop. So, I lose the depth of field that is really important in photography. For example, here I placed the ice cream a little bit too close to the backdrop, and I missed the depth of field on the image.

Behind the scenes_ Instagram Stories_ Food Photography

My Instagram @healthylauracom stories screenshots (behind the scenes)

  1. Details

I forget to check my details and make sure that everything in the image is where it needs to be. I’m sure that fingerprints or dust doesn’t need to be there.

  1. Highlights and hard light

I usually shoot with natural light. In the winter time, I sometimes use studio light as well. However, with natural light, I forget that the weather conditions and light might change. For example, the sun comes out, and the light will be a little bit too hard. Yes, I can always change some things in my Adobe Lightroom. However, I still can’t edit all the things without compensating on quality. The raw files should already be good.

  1. Forget to double check the settings

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who sometimes makes this kind of mistake. In my case, I’m quite used that my ISO is on 100. However, sometimes I shoot high shutter images. So, I forget to double check my setting, and I think that ISO is 100, but it obviously isn’t. On this image, I forget that and my ISO was too high. So, I ended up with a little bit too noisy image.

  1. Horizon

There is no excuse for me to miss the horizon. Seriously, sometimes I just forget to check my level on the camera, and I still make this kind of mistake. That’s just embarrassing. I can always fix it in my  Adobe Lightroom, but honestly, that’s just carelessness. I will lose so much data that it’s just BAD.

Also, if you already haven’t done that, then I highly recommend to custom the level button on your camera. I installed it as my Fn button next to my lens, and I use it almost all the time.

If I still have that horizon “mistake”(or I would like to double check), then I fix it in Adobe Lightroom crop & straighten tool. If you already are not using it, then I highly recommend you to use the ruler as well.  I remember that I used to straighten my images only with the slider and didn’t use the ruler and because of that it wasn’t as accurate as it should be. All I need to do is drag the ruler to your image and draw a line.

Hopefully, this post was helpful for some of you as well. I would love to hear from you as well. What are your common mistakes? If you learned from this, then please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @healthylauracom or another platform. Your feedback is very valuable to me.

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  1. well… your mistake images are MUCH better than my best images! haha 🙂
    I loved the tips and insights! I too hate when I notice things on lightroom that I didn’t see while shooting. One of my future goals it to get my camera tethered to my computer so when I shoot images I can see them big on my computer and hopefully notice things better.

    P.s. I didn’t even notice the glare or reflection in the glass cup until you pointed it out! 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing your ‘mistakes’ Laura. And yes, I put them in between ‘ ‘ because I think they are hardly to be called that, the pictures still look amazing and even though I see what you mean, I only see it because you pointed them out 😉 But on the other hand, I’m making the same mistakes (and more) myself as well. Small steps to become better and better. Oh and that horizon-issue… Boy, how I’m still struggling with that! It feels like I really don’t have an eye for straight lines. *facepalm.

    • Oh, Eva! Your food photography is amazing! I’m so flattered by your lovely comment! I agree small steps make the difference! I totally get the horizon-issue. Sometimes I personally blame my glasses because of that! 😀

  3. Hey Laura,
    Thanks for sharing. However if I take the photos using my samsung note 8 and doesnt have any of the filter. Coud I still make high quality photos?


    • Hi, Wawi! Yes, absolutely you can still shoot some great images! I would say that all of these mistakes can still be on phone images as well. When learning the composition and essential lighting, then your phone works great as well. The light is one of the key elements in DSLR photography and phone photography. Nowadays the phones have an amazing quality already. However, when you would like to get the next level, then I would suggest you get entry-level DSLR. Good luck with your photography! 😉

  4. A very helpful post for a budding food blogger and photographer like me. I end up getting stressed and berate myself later. It’s heartening to know I’m not alone. And I can especially relate to ‘Focus’ issue.

    • Oo, thank you so much! I can totally relate to that stress part but I always tell myself that it’s a journey! Mistakes always push as forward! 🙂 So happy to hear that it was helpful for you.