Photo Critique Request – Oatmeal Cinnamon Apple Flax

Oatmeal Photograph

Oatmeal are tough to shoot. They are brown and boring. And did I tell you they are tough to shoot?

Today’s food photo feedback request came from Stephanie.

What would you do differently?

How would you make a photo of oatmeal?

About This Photograph

Below are some details about this photograph from Stephanie. 


I wanted the oatmeal to look appealing and delicious. I also wanted a clean, modern, elegant look. I just started food photography a week ago and would like very honest CC on this photo.

Equipment Details:

5D Mark II
50mm 1.8
A 3×3 foot piece of white seamless
Window light
Folded piece of white seamless to help reflect light

Technical Details:

1/200 sec; f/3.5; ISO 500 no flash

Give Feedback on

I would like feedback on everything. Light, settings, does it look delicious, how I can improve, tips, anything.

My Two Cents

So, Let me begin by saying that, this critique is just my opinion.

Stephanie in this photograph, you’ve taken the first step of eliminating distractions. By using a white background and white plate, the focus is on food. Technically the subject is well exposed. Here are few of my suggestions:

  1. Styling – Even though the photo is well exposed, the styling here can be improved. I would add some color to this dish. You can do that by adding some berries like strawberries. You could also add props like napkin or tablecloth that don’t distract but complete the photograph.
  2. Camera Angle – Would strongly suggest changing the camera angle. Read more about choosing a camera angle and the best camera angle.
  3. Framing – Try cropping the plate rather than showing the entire plate. See how the photo changes (example below). This cropped dish adds a little suspense and engages the viewer by asking them to imagine the rest of the dish.


Oatmeal photo


If you can focus on improving these three things, I believe the photograph will become stronger. I would invite you to share the results once you make these changes. Good luck.

Your Turn

What do you like about this image and how would you improve it?

What would you add to this image? What would you subtract?

Does it looking appealing enough to eat? How would you style it?

Tell us in the comments below.

When providing feedback, please be nice and respectful and of course be honest.

Want to submit a photo for photo critique? Click here.



  • I’m not sure why but the original pic looks completely out of focus whereas the cropped version has some of the centre of the food in focus?
    Apart from Nial’s comments I would add that the apple needs to actually look like apple, in your shot I thought it might be either pear or pineapple. This could be simply achieved by cutting slices of apple and placing three (odd numbers look best) with their tips touching in the centre of the food. Another way would be to add a good looking Red apple as a prop in your shot, The same goes for a piece of cinnamon bark.
    This would also add some colour to the shot and could be used in place of a napkin+ring but you would have to have a play with that and be careful that it doesn’t distract from the main subject.
    An overhead shot would probably suit your dish better.
    I would like to know why you chose to shoot at ISO500 and 1/200sec? using ISO100 & 1/40sec would reduce the chance of noise Using a tripod would allow the slower shutter speed without camera shake and would also slow down the process enough that you could also look through the viewfinder for longer and make minor adjustments but still keep the desired angle.

  • First, I am not an oatmeal fan, but I love the smell of cinnamon & apples, so I would possibly try to capture some steam to add that feel to the photo. I do like the cropped photo better & as others suggested, would add some elements such as a spoon or napkin. I also think adding some syrup would add some texture by catching light.

  • What about leaving the peel on the apples? This will add a little color variation in the food.

  • I quite like the lighting, nice and soft. The subject in my eyes though is a bit blurry. I love the oats on the side. I also like the idea that Alessio suggested apple peels as well.

  • Rob Stathem

    Overall, I think the shot looks pretty good! I like the addition of the oats on the side because it adds some interest and it really tells the viewer “this is oatmeal” in case they couldn’t figure it out based on the oatmeal in the bowl.

    I do agree with others that another color is needed–berries, green apple, or even possibly a mint garnish! The photo would be greatly enhanced with another color simply because there is so much white in the photo.

    Last, but not least, the angle is probably not the most engaging. The image looks flat because of the over-head shot. I think more of a “table view” shot would create a more engaging and intimate experience. It would also create more of a “3-D” view because you’d see more of the bottom of the bowl.

  • I love the light feel of white on white. It’s pretty, and so is the platter. Yes the cropped version is much better. Maybe a bottle of milk or a white jug blurred in the background, a napkin or even a vintage spoon would add a little oomph. I agree with the idea of fresh fruit. Always pulls the eye in. The oats on the side are lovely.