One of my favorite things about creative work is the endless amount of learning we get to do. It keeps us all challenged and humble, and forces us all to constantly check our mindset to keep on a growth trajectory.
Later on in your photography career, learning often becomes about applying more advanced techniques to your work. At the beginning of your career, it’s often about learning the correct way to take and edit images and unlearning some self-taught habits that we fall into when we first pick up editing apps.
I made a few big Lightroom mistakes when I first started out in photography, and they’re mistakes that I usually see my students and other photographers making when they first start, too. Here are a few Lightroom editing traps to avoid that will help you to move to a more masterful level of food photography.
It’s easy to think that more color is better in terms of food photography, but this isn’t actually the case. Oversaturating or dramatically changing the coloring in your images can make them seem unnatural and make the food look inedible. If anything, I usually desaturate the coloring in my images, or selectively brush in a little more color where it’s needed.
This can apply to white balance, too. You want to find the right white balance for your image that also feels natural and doesn’t distract from the food.
Want to learn more about white balance? You can read all of my top-tips here in this post!
Getting the right exposure in food photography can be tricky! The goal is to capture the full range of highlights to shadows without losing information by blowing out or under-exposing. While both can be problematic, I often see over-exposing (making the images too bright) as an issue with food photography, and I certainly made the mistake, too!
Keeping an eye on your Lightroom histogram can help you make sure you’re exposing correctly. I owe you a post going deep into the Histogram, but a key thing to know is that you can use the triangles on each side of the histogram to see where you have clipped (or lost detail) in your highlights or shadows. Clicking on each of the respective triangles will color the places in the image where clipping has occurred. Sometimes these will be minimal amounts that won’t matter, but other times this can be a really useful way to keep an eye on your exposure and adjust accordingly.
Not Utilizing Local Adjustments
It’s easy to fall into the trap of using only the global adjustment panel to edit your food images, but local adjustments can often be the most impactful to an image. You probably don’t want to add clarity all over the image, but adding a bit to a green garnish on a toast can be beautiful. You may not want to desaturate your full image, but removing color and a bit of clarity from the edge of a plate can help the eye to rest more on the main subject’s texture and color. Local adjutants give you greater control over an image so you can hone your creative vision for your shot.
Food photography is an endless world of learning. Hopefully, these Lightroom tips help you to beat some bad habits that most of us fall into when we first start our photography education.
Got any Lightroom tips of your own? I’d love to hear them!