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How to Edit Food Photography in Photoshop

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The purpose of food photography is marketing. It’s meant to make you hungry and get you to buy the product.
That’s why it’s so important to know how to edit photos of food. The colours have to be realistic and the food should look vibrant and appetising.
In this article, I’ll show you how to edit food photography in Photoshop.

How to Edit Food Photography in Photoshop

Editing food photography is important and it should be done right. The key is to make the food look yummy but realistic. Most food photography is done in a studio.
The assistant of the photographer prepares every element with care. A good lighting set up, results in a perfect looking image.
But you don’t need a studio for making good food photography. The next best thing is to use soft natural light. That works but sometimes the results looks dull and boring or the colours are off.
You can edit your photos in Photoshop to bring those lifeless food photos to life.
The basics are very simple. In the next steps I’ll teach you how to edit photos in Photoshop for food photography.
I’ll use this photo of a delicious pizza. The problem here, is that the white balance was not set correctly so the photo looks too blue.
Overall, there’s also a lack of contrast and vibrance. Let’s fix that with Adjustments Layers so we have full control over the corrections.
A food photography shot of a pizza with a blue tinge

Step 1: Correct the Blue Cast

Click on the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ icon and select ‘Color Balance…’.
You can adjust the blue colour cast in the Color Balance window.
In this photo, the problem areas are the highlights and midtones.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop -
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - color balance
Select ‘Midtones’ from the drop down menu and slide the top slider to the right. This will remove cyan tones while adding red tones.
Most food looks better and more realistic with warmer tones. The amount of red and yellow depend on the photo you’re using.
Make sure it looks realistic.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - midtones
Next, slide the bottom slider to the left. This will remove blue tones and add yellow.
Select ‘Highlights’ from the drop down menu and do the same.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - highlights

Step 2: Add More Contrast

Add another Adjustment Layer. This time, select ‘Curves…’.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - add contrast
Click in the middle of the diagonal line to set an anchor point.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - set anchor point
Now, drag to the top and bottom parts to create a slight S-shape.
This adds a nice natural contrast to the image.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - contrast

Step 3: Lift the Highlights

This time, add a ‘Levels…’ Adjustment Layer.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - lift the highlights
Drag the white triangle to the left to lift the highlights.
Don’t overdo it or they’ll burn out the image. A small amount will make the highlights pop out.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop -

Step 4: Remove the Remaining Colour Cast

There is still a slight cyan and blue colour cast visible in the top highlights. Let’s get rid of those.
Create a ‘Hue/Saturation…’ adjustment layer.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - Remove the Remaining Colour Cast
Select ‘Cyans’ in the drop down menu.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - cyans
Slide the Saturation slider all the way to the left.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - saturation
Do the same for ‘Blues’ in the drop down menu.

Step 5: Make the Reds Pop

The tomatoes could use a little bit more saturation to make them really pop out. In the same Hue/Saturation window, select ‘Reds’.
Drag the Saturation slider to the right to add saturation. Don’t overdo it or it will look fake.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - saturation
There you go. One delicious looking pizza!
A food photography shot of a pizza - food photography tips
And here’s a before and after view.
A screenshot showing how to edit food photography in Photoshop - before and after editing

Conclusion

Most food photographers have a studio available but you can start photographing food without one.
Make photos of food in natural light and edit the photos in Photoshop.
It’s important to find a balance. You should make the food look delicious but also realistic.
Using RAW files is a good idea for food photography. You’ll have even more control while editing.

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