We have all fallen into the photographer’s trap of seeing an advertisement of a product only to meet it face to face with disappointment. So why is that? In many instances, food photography NEVER truly represents the item served. Substitutes are used all the time. Turkeys are painted, ice cream is mashed potatoes, ice is Lucite, etc. That hamburger you just had dropped into a paper bag never could look like it did in the photo.

When it comes to products, the item you’ve just purchased looked amazing in the catalog or online and now that you have it…not so much. Why? Because you’re not face to face with it in the studio. The lighting, camera angle, lens and retouching are never part of your one-on-one experience with the item. Most likely you’re also not viewing it from the same angle as the camera.

Is this a deceptive practice? Absolutely not.

Although there is a tremendous amount of retouching and studio magic in food photography, day to day product photography is quite a bit less deceiving. The image you see is close to 100% of what the item is. There may be a cord that’s been removed or a highlight enhanced but it is what it is. What you’re not taking into account is all the set-up, backgrounds, added colors, depth-of-field, lighting and camera angles involved in the image capture process.

Looks can be deceiving
The Bugatti Veyron Supercar shown here is an amazing engineering feet. 1001 horsepower and the ability to go faster than any reasonable thinking human should go. It was called the Veyron and now has been replaced with an even faster, carbon fibre, Chiron.

So what’s so deceiving about this image? It’s actually a die-cast 10-inch long model. Not your everyday children’s model but a precisely engineered scaled model that was purchased for $200 or so. When a photographer has the desire to photograph something he cannot afford, thinking outside the box comes in handy.

When the time comes to have your products photographed, make sure you get the right person to do the job and make your products look like they’ve just been purchased on Rodeo Drive.

©2017 Wayne Dion / Dion & Company