Photo Critique Request – Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Croissant

Food Photo Feedback

Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Croissant

Have you photographed croissant before? How would you take this photograph and show the ingredients as well?

What would you do differently? One reader requests your feedback, would you help her?

About This Photograph

Below are some details about this photograph from D’Andrea Turner.


I wanted to show off not just the croissant, but the main components as well as make it look appetizing.

Equipment Details:

Nikon D3100 with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens

Technical Details:

Exposure 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture f/5.6
Focal Length 44 mm
ISO Speed 2000

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The styling, focus, overall setup, and general photo critiques.

My Two Cents

So, Let me begin by saying that, this critique is just my opinion and just as I always like to do we’ll first talk about the strong points of this photo.

Technically the photo is correctly exposed (may be just slightly underexposed), focus is sharp towards the front of the photo.

If your goal is to show the ingredients, I would suggest changing the camera angle. I would challenge you to try top down or at least an angle closer to straight down for this shot. From the current angle, my eyes only see strawberries and the croissant of course.

As I said, technically there is very little than can be changed. So clearly this photo covers all the technical basics. Now composition and styling elements should your focus.

Your Turn

It’s your turn now, readers. What do you think about this photo? How would you improve it? What can Dee change in this photograph? If you were to shoot Croissant, how would you shoot it?

Help a fellow food photographer.

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  1. Brian Arnopp says:

    The lighting is flat and colours a bit muted. I would put a bit of light in using a silver foil reflector and break the croissant to show the ingredients inside and a cake fork in there somewhere as well as a cup of black coffee to give it context. Perhaps cut the strawberries in half and have some of the green stalk included to add contrast – hope that helps.


  2. I agree with your comment Neel about changing the angle to a more overhead shot. Some foods just work better this way and I think this may be one of them. Also, the color looks a bit magenta to me. I’m looking at the doily underneath and the powdered sugar. Hope that helps

  3. Composition might in my opinion be improved. Focal point currently on left edge drawing attention out of the frame. I think the open end of croissant should face inward. Possibly too tight a crop? I’d also try different angles. Maybe higher.

  4. More overhead shot would be better and I think your angle is more effective with food you can stack on top of each other, like chocolate bars or sandwich. And why ISO 2000? I don’t think I ever used such a high ISO, didn’t you have problem with digital noise? Colours are a bit too flat for me as well. hope I helped

  5. What was the lighting situation in this photo? It’s kind of hard to critique for me without knowing more about the lighting…was this natural or artificial light? It appears that the light is coming more from above and front to me, and I might try a lower lighting angle and more backlit or sidelit so it doesn’t appear as flat. Also, the entire image looks a bit red to me, so I think the white balance could use adjusting – Compositionally I agree with Barry above about trying different angles and positioning the croissant inward, also maybe stepping back a bit to give a little more context to the shot. I’m guessing ISO 2000 was a typo? Looks like a delicious croissant!

  6. Brian Arnopp says:

    Also by rubbing a little cooking oil onto the strawberry will make it glisten and more “alive”

  7. Les Howard says:

    Those bright red strawberries really grab my attention and draw my eye out of the frame. Maybe just use one, place it further into the frame, say on a major third, and make it the main focal point. I like how you kept he background out of focus. Re-orient the ‘cheese’ (if that’s what it is) so it’s not parallel to the upper frame.

    I also noticed the ISO 2000 setting. Assuming you’re using a tripod, you could have dropped the ISO to 100 and shot at 1/4 second at f/5.6 or even 2 sec at f/16 for more depth of field on the croissant (although the latter would also affect the background focus, easily corrected by moving the cheese, etc. further away).

  8. Hi everyone. Thanks for the feedback! FYI, this was in the artificial fluorescent light common in classrooms (this picture was taken in my breads class in culinary school, so not a lot of room to do styling or to set up reflectors and light bouncers).

    I’m a complete beginner at this and I haven’t had much of a chance to really work on food styling, so every comment really helps me out. Thanks again!

    • Good feedback Dee.

    • Brian Arnopp says:

      You need to be careful shooting under fluorescent light. By the nature of it it doesn’t produce the full colour spectrum and in the good old days of film I used to correct using a magenta filter.

      You would be better if possible moving the set to near a window so the predominant light source is daylight and backfill with a white piece of card or paper and that may give you a better quality of light. The reason your red strawberry looks a bit dull is because you are effectively photographing it under green light …not a good mix …

  9. Very nice! and if you have a recipe do share it :)

    I think it’s cropped in too much. There should be some space around the width.
    If possible, you could cut the croissant and we could see more of the insides probably with strawberries. Presently the ones on the left end looked to be purposely stuffed in the last moment (I could be completely wrong! about this, but just looks like that)

    For me the light is ok. A little dark around the edges, specially strawberries on the right, because it’s a recipe with strawberries, they should get the nice, fresh and clean look.

    Great work, keep it up.

  10. Taxi to Heathrow says:

    Strawberry is my favorite fruit and also flavor. However, I don’t think I will like this combination, because such recipes should be spicy not sweet.

  11. Hi Dee, first and foremost I’d like to say that is one beautiful croissant! I think that if you want to feature the croissant as the hero of the shot, and the ingredients as secondary, then the angle you have chosen is totally workable. I love overhead shots for telling a story, but this croissant has such great puffiness and a domed shape that could be lost if you shot from above. I agree with the note to pull back a bit, and suggest downsizing the ingredients : a smaller chunk of cheese with broken texture or loose shreds, slightly smaller berries or play with one whole and some slices, vanilla beans, maybe the hint of a mesh sieve with powdered sugar. Explore plating the croissant on a very small plate or cutting board just to maintain it’s prominence in the shot. I also think this would look great in a warm dark set to keep the pastry looking fresh from the oven, and pop the ingredient colors. Breaking the pastry open could be very challenging as it is so soft and flaky, and may not be as pretty as the whole, so work on showing the filling more through repositioning the opening on camera. Make sure if you are going to enhance and add a bit of filling it is what is actually in the baked croissant. The little pieces look much too fresh to have been baked. Thanks for sharing your image!

  12. I know I’m a bit late to this comment thread, but I would definitely go with an overhead shot and change the philosophy behind the props – go with action/movement vs. staged. To me that means a small sifter or mesh sieve off to the side, a little scattered powdered sugar around the croissant and the “workspace”. Perhaps change the composition of the berries to look more naturally “fallen” with a basket of them as well off in one corner.
    Or.. go with movement in a plating to look like a natural eating composition. Break open the croissant so you can see the flaky layers but keep the smoothness and classical composure intact. Slice a strawberry leaving about 1/2″ at the base then splay and lay in a compositionally sound place near the croissant – to look like a formal plating that’s been dug into. Love the idea of a cake fork and a cup of black coffee or tea. You could even bundle up a black-and-white paper and leave it off in a corner with a wide aperture.
    OR! Go with extremely formal plating, very classical and posed. Bright lighting, maybe a 3/4 angle, or a bit more straight-on. White plate, split/splayed strawberry, maybe a mint leaf. Bringing in some green would help very much, I think, and a sprig of mint could round out the strawberry stems.
    I like the use of a wide aperture in the photo but I would definitely brighten up the lighting–it seems a bit grey as is. I’d also change up the angle, as the current angle gives the croissant a bit of a slug-like appearance. Definitely some filling lighting on the strawberries so their brightness is understood and tied in with the strawberries stuffed into the croissant.

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