Editing Food Photos

Alright, onto lesson #3. We learned about lighting last week and “setting the scene” the week before. Although a lot more goes into taking the photo than we’ve gone into, I want to jump to what happens when you put the photos on your computer.  Are you done?  No.  You first will need to go through and pick your favorites, crop and then edit the photos.  But don’t get worried, you don’t need any fancy photoshop.  I just use iphoto, which comes on my computer.  But any basic photo editing will do just fine.

First of all, you have to decide what “look” you are going for.  Every food photographer has their own.  Don’t get me wrong, a lot goes into this “look” like the lighting, the props, the perspective, the “scene” but a good food photographer also edits their photos to achieve the right look.

Do you want something bright that pops off the page?

Do you want a more subtle and calming photo?

Do you want intense shadows and bright spots?

Do you want something neutral?

The best way to figure it all out is to roam the internet.  Go to google or pinterest and just look through food photos and see what you like.  Then try to identify WHY you like them.  I’ve played around a lot with editing photos and trying to find my own look, I still play around with it a bit but in general I’ve reached a place I’m happy with.  I like a “homey” set up, a scene that looks like it could be off anyones kitchen counter or picnic table.  I like bright colors but not anything too crazy because I want it all to look realistic.

Here are some examples to show you the un-edited photos on the left and the edited photos on the right.

How to edit food photos

Top to Bottom:

S’mores Bars (So fun for a BBQ!)

Cake Batter Cupcakes (Ah-MA-Zing)

Butterfinger Cupcakes (you will die of happiness when you taste the frosting)

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes (Mmmm….)


Not too much of a difference, right?  But it does make a difference.

So what exactly did I do?  Well first of all, there is usually always an “auto correct” sort of button to click in the editing view.  I always start out with that and see what I think.  Sometimes it’s AWESOME and sometimes it’s BAD NEWS.

From there, I play around with the “exposure,” “brightness,” “saturation” and sometimes the “shadows.”  Usually our photos turn out too dark and dull.  So bringing all of these up a little bit help to correct that.  But just like any photo editing, if you do it too much it’s obvious the photos have been edited.  I try to do just a little so that people don’t look at my photos and think “Well those were edited.”  I just want people to comment on how gorgeous they are and notice the food not the editing.

For you iphone users out there… you’ll notice the little wand in the “edit” view of the photos, that is the auto correct! Use that and love that!

When we flip through a magazine we know the super models have been air brushed, but when you look as a food photo, we forget that major work went in to getting those colors to pop off the page.  It’s a little sneaky way we get our food to look even more appetizing. So no matter how big your blog is or how many instagram followers you have, take the 30 seconds and edit the photo. Because as a food blogger, you’re only as good as your photos.  

16 thoughts on “Editing Food Photos

  1. 1
    Gina says:

    Less is definitely more when it comes to food pics. Artistic actions are almost always a no 🙂 I usually just adjust the levels & sharpen. Anything beyond that & I believe the image is better suited for the garbage than for posting anyway. So important to keep the food as true to life as possible- that’s when it looks the most delectable. Loving your series here.

  2. 2
    Sewlady says:

    So wise to be soo young!

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Rachel says:

    I love these photo lessons Lizzy! Thanks for sharing your tricks of the trade! I’m very new to being on the blogging side of food blogs, so these posts have been very helpful!

  5. 5
    Beckie says:

    I’m loving your cookbook that my husband gave me for my birthday. Enjoying the email of dessert and tip too.

  6. 6
    Larry says:

    It is important indeed to edit food photos to achieve a great looking picture that is both enticing and lovely. I have learned something today. Keep posting like this.

  7. 7
    Larry says:

    Loving the pictures you created here. You must have a natural talent! I will be editing my food photos like this!

  8. 8
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  9. 9
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  10. 10

    Thanks for the photo food tutorial… This is great

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