Feedback on my food photography

I listened to Megan’s episode 142 about Pinterest.
She recommended that the first step to be successful on Pinterest is to have drool-worthy food photography and to be really honest about whether our photos meet the mark. Her advice was to seek out others who can provide honest feedback and are experienced in taking food photos.

So, after taking a deep breath, I’d love your feedback on how my photos look.
Please be honest and if that means constructive feedback, I’m ready for it! I want to improve.

Here are some recent posts with my photos:

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You are off to a good start! Do you use lightroom to edit your photos? If so I have a few suggestions.
Also, have you watched any of Joanei Simon’s stuff at The Bit Shoot? Fabulous learning videos all free.
Also, I have attended a workshop with Jenn Davis in her home.(she won the Savor photography award) She taught me so much about styling a shot for the camera and proper lighting (not that I do it all that well yet but at least I know where I should be now. :wink: She is a great one to follow to help you train your eye. She uses props very well to tell a story. really study her work paying particular attention to the lines she sets up for your eyes to follow. things like triangles and Z or such. Joani gets into this also I believe in her videos.
Gina

@garlicdelight Can you post some of your pin graphics? That might give us a better idea of what’s happening on Pinterest specifically!

That is a good suggestion Bethany. I checked out a couple of your pin graphics and it appeared to be half text, half photo when I think the majority of the pin should be the food/ingredient you are sharing. The actual pin description will fill in people with the details. If I can’t tell what something is and I’m intrigued, I’ll click on it and if I can see that I like it, you’ve already got me pinning it. Some of your photos were lighter and some gravitated towards darker imagery. I would try to stay consistent. Since I only looked at 3 pins, maybe you mostly do, but that’s my suggestions. Great job on asking for advice and seeking help!! Just being open to that is half the battle!

Hi Anna @garlicdelight ! You are AMAZING for seeking out photography advice. It’s scary to ask people to critique your work, so huge high five.

I looked through some of your recent posts and Pinterest pins. Here are some thoughts!

  • Your process shots are INCREDIBLE. I can tell you put a lot of thought and work into those and you have a leg up on your competition because not everyone does this. The way you arrange the ingredients is eye-catching and interesting and your text and instructional overlays are awesome!
  • In your hero shots, you have good contrast but play around in LR because you might be able to increase contrast and vibrance. Also, I’d recommend experimenting with portrait (vertical) hero shots because these translate really well to Pinterest and IG.
  • If you start taking vertical hero images, your Pinterest pins will look much more appealing. Like Melissa said, text overlays are more eye-catching than when you split the text and photo for pins.

Overall, you are definitely on a good track! Practice A LOT. Study a lot of photos that other food bloggers take. Take a solid photography course or two. You’re doing really great and I hope these comments were helpful! There is a helpful podcast episode coming up providing photography tips with Lexi from Crowded Kitchen that you will find super valuable. Check out her IG page in the meantime: @crowded_kitchen

@Ginainga Thank you for sharing Jenn Davis’ site. Looks great and I signed up for her photography newsletter. I love the Bite Shot. I never thought to use it for composition. I’ve only watched her videos about lighting. Great idea. I’ll start studying more.

@BethanySmith Here’s 3 pins which represent my pin graphics:

Melissa might be right. It could be the big white background with the text is no good.

@melissat Thank you very much for your honest feedback and clear analysis. This gave me 2 good ideas: I’ll start experimenting with a different pin format such that I don’t have the big block of white. Do you have any pin graphics you love and are performing really well?

Next, I’ll stick to the lighter photography style for now because it’s easier for me and save the moody shots for the next round of experiments.

@megan Thanks for your kind words, compliments, and encouragement. I’ll test out doing more contrast and vibrance. In the past, I went overboard and the food starting looking artificial (probably went too high on the saturation) but I could probably benefit from increasing the color intensity.

Interesting point about the vertical vs. portrait hero image. I used to exclusively do portrait hero images following all the other food blogs. But I got feedback from my target audience that it was overwhelming, not user friendly, and blocked most of the text.
(Here’s an example of a recipe when I was still doing the vertical hero images: Simple crêpes to recreate Paris in your kitchen — Garlic Delight)
That’s when I switched to portrait.

I still have portrait pins using the Social Sharing Plugin.

Does this mean you think I need to have more vertical images on my blog for people to pin when they visit my site?

Yes, big thanks to you @Ginainga @BethanySmith @melissat and @megan for your feedback. Looking forward to trying more things to improve my photography :grinning:

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YES @garlicdelight definitely more vertical images! They really do work best on other platforms like IG and Pinterest, so I always figure it’s worth it to get 1-3 really nice vertical images.

And about the color, I completely know what you mean about going too far with saturation. I’ve done that in the past, too. Try experimenting with vibrance and just kicking it up to like a 6. I’ve found that this pulls out the colors from the photo just enough.

Hi Megan,
In Lightroom, my photos are at 17 for Vibrance and 5-8 for Saturation (I know this because I set up a preset so all my photos are about the same and then I manually tweak brightness and contrast).

That makes me think, “is there something wrong with my photos if they still don’t look saturated/vibrant enough to your eyes?”

Is it that they’re too dark (I’ve heard before my photos are too dark/too much shadow)?

I worry that if I bump vibrance and saturation up even higher (like ~20+ for vibrance and higher like 10+ for saturation), I’ll get into the fake food territory. I experimented with in these higher ranges in the past and it just looked awful.

Let me know what you think. Thanks for the feedback!

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@garlicdelight Email me one of your photos! megan@eatblogtalk.com