As a visual artist, a great photographer has a knack of summarizing her vision of the scene into one frame. She does this by understanding her vision and taking action to translate that vision into a frame. She decides what information to include and what to exclude. She thinks about where to put the subject and where the light should be. She knows how to manage her viewers’ attention.
We have talked about managing your viewers’ attention previously. In this post we talk about creating a strong photo and attention management in more detail.
Making a Strong Food Photograph
A strong image is a piece of art you can look at and look into for long time and something that is very engaging. A strong photograph has a clear subject and all the elements in the photo gel together to create a masterpiece. A strong photograph attracts viewers’ attention and continues to interest the viewer.
Strong photographs have one more important quality. These images send a clear message – message that is coherent and is supported by all the different elements in the photo. Strong photographs don’t have any distracting elements.
Distracting Elements in Your Food Photos
As we have previously discussed, for making a great photo you have to direct your viewers’ attention to those areas of the frame and to those elements in the frame that are important for your vision and your visual communication.
If all the different elements in a photo are not supporting the common theme or common message, the photograph becomes weak. This element can be a cluttered background or an object that doesn’t belong in the scene. These distracting elements confuse your viewers and create chaos.
There are some common ways these distracting elements can sneak in the frame quietly if you don’t pay attention before pressing that button. Here are 5 ways distractions sneak in a photo.
5 Ways Distractions Sneak in a Photograph
Distractions come in all sizes and shapes. Take your eye of that part of the frame and there… your frame now includes an uninvited element. Below are 5 ways your food photo can be encroached by distractions.
Watch The Background
In my opinion, background of an image is most influential part of the entire photograph. It should be as pure and simple as possible. A background that is cluttered and has lot of unrelated information, tells lot of stories that no one wants to hear. A clear and supportive background accentuates the main subject of photo.
Lets look at the two slightly underexposed photos below and see how background affects the subject. The first photograph of raw ingredients of a salad is placed on a mat.
Compare this photo with one below. Same subject, a different background. In the photo above the vertical lines of the mat and horizontal black lines on the mat divert from the main subject. In the photo below, the background has no information. It is black. Where do your eyes go now?
Read more on how to choose a background for your food photos.
Decide the Frame
Another common way an unwanted element can enter a photograph is by peeking through the frame. Remember that corner of the table or that wooden board you weren’t planning to include in your photo? Well crop it. Or that edge of that spoon lying on the table? You know what to do. Crop that thing.
In landscape photography, foregrounds play an important role. In food photography, blurred foreground don’t do anything other than creating a distraction. When using shallow depth of field, anything in foreground will be blurred (of course depending on how shallow dof is) if you focus for the subject. So place the props in a way that they support the photograph and the subject.
Too Many Colors
Color is an important element of art. When the colors in a frame support each other, the output is one congruent message. In a food photograph, the color of food governs what colored background, plates and props to use. Use colors that support the color of food and you have a strong photo. Use too many colors and you got a noisy photo with lot of chaos. Below is a 12-color color wheel.
This tool helps to pick supporting colors and complementary colors. If you would like to use a complementary color scheme, simply locate the color (or one that is closest to it) of food and the color exactly opposite to it, is a complementary color. For example, yellow is complemented by violet.
What’s Your Subject
Photography starts with a subject. Sometimes a subject is a food dish, sometimes it is an emotion. The important photography question helps you identify the subject of your next photo. Unless you have a clear idea about your subject, you can fall into trap of including too many subjects. And too many subjects = distraction.
More Tips on Eliminating Distractions
What tips do you have to eliminate distractions? What do you use to make your photos strong? What are your challenges? Tell us in the comments below.
Source of color wheel