$5 Fixes For Your Food Photography

$5 Fixes For Your Food Photography

"Oh, I can just fix that in Photoshop® after the Shoot." Have you ever heard a photographer say that, or thought that yourself? Yes, Photoshop® is an amazing program that can fix almost anything, but the time it takes to do so is often longer than just fixing it on set. Worse than the time it takes, what if it is something that you just can't fix? Having to tell your client that you need to re-shoot something when you could have easily fixed it on set could be an expensive mistake to make. When shooting food, many solutions to retouching problems will costs less than $5. Here are a few of my favorite items that will save you time and money on post-production.


Shooting beverages? A plastic funnel is something that will make adding a beverage to a glass much easier. When using a funnel, you have the control needed to add the beverage to the glass without it splashing on the sides, spilling onto the table, or messing up your carefully arranged ice and garnishes. By pouring the drinks correctly with a funnel, you won't have to spend time and money fixing it in post-production.


Plates, silverware, and glasses, should all be free of dust, dirt, and smudges, before they are shot. If you clean these items with paper towels or napkins you won't get a perfect lint-free shine. Paper products can leave behind small amounts of lint that is very time consuming to Photoshop® out. Cleaning these items with a microfiber towel
will prevent this lint from being left behind.


Spill a sauce on your plated dish or soup splashes up on the rim of a bowl? Running a dampened cotton swabs
over the spill will quickly remove it. If your plate is colored with a design trying to remove the blemish in post, may ruin the plate's design. As you change shooting angles, the stray sauce or garnish can be obscured by the other parts of the dish and be difficult to remove in post. By taking an extra minute and fixing on set, you won't have to take the extra time to fix this in post-production.



A can of compressed air (like what you clean electronics with) can save you hours of retouching time. If you are working with powdered sugar or salt, there will often be some that spills onto your set. Here is what compressed air can do.

In Image A, powdered sugar has spilled over the set. Imagine that you are shooting on a background with a complex design. Cloning and healing all of this sugar off the set would be very time consuming. Image B shows how it can quickly be removed. If you use a towel, you could smear the powdered sugar on the slate background and make it look worse. If you are shooting products on glass, a quick spray of compressed air on set before shooting will insure a lint-free and dust-free shooting surface. When using compressed air, make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions on storage and usage.


If you are shooting alone or don't have an extra hand on set to hold a reflector, an A clamp
is the best $5 you can spend. By clipping it to the side of a piece of white foam board, you have a way to ensure that your foam board won't fall over into your food. This tip may not help you with retouching, but this $5 item is something that every one who is photographing food should carry with them?

What $5 items are ones that you never leave for a shoot without?

Interested in learning more about food photography styling and lighting techniques? Check out Issues 1-6 of photographing FOOD.

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I find the card backing that often comes in lots of chiiled food products and is handily silver on one side and gold on the other is almost made for table top photography as mini reflectors. Find something you like eating that is packaged that way and you've secured a 'free' supply!

I'm with you on that one Alex.... I have a whole set of them, and ever growing! Very useful!

Those green-handled clamps that you have also have a hole in them that is perfectly sized to take a 1/4x20 threaded bolt and nut - or the standard tripod thread in photographic-speak. You can then screw on a mini ball head, a flash stand (Nikon AS-19), or a Manfrotto flex arm. Great added versatility for around ten cents!


Taylor I have to say your post are the most immediately put to use and insanely practical on FStoppers. My wife has an ice cream blog I do the photos for and these have greatly improved my photos. Feel free to see a few of the latest here: http://icecreamunicorn.com/white-chocolate-nutter-butter-ice-cream/

Thanks again for all the great advice!

This is simple but good. I like your style in food photography.
Ed of <a href="http://www.edalfaro.com/" rel="nofollow">EdAlfaro.com</a>


You gotta be kidding.

Must be a great article if that's all you got.


thanx for sharingggg..... i always enjoy your writing about food photography :)

The clamp tip is brilliant!! I can't even tell you how many times my reflector board has fallen onto my food...never again :)