Food photography doesn’t always have to be so obvious

February 20, 2023

Food photography doesn’t always have to be so obvious. For example, how do you reference pancake day in pictures without actually showing a photograph of a pancake? You photograph a lemon instead.

The photograph doesn’t always have to be a prescriptive representation of the subject on show. If you’re searching for imagery to reference pancake day, you could present a picture of a pancake but you won’t be alone. Everyone out there is using a pancake shot. It stands to reason that there’s probably a benefit of not following the crowd with your food photograph – it’s got to help you stand out if you use something else, right?

I don’t know how far back to date the relationship between the pancake and the lemon but it certainly predates my memory. My parents were putting lemon on pancakes before I was born and yours probably did too. 

So you can safely use a lemon as part of your Shrove Tuesday imagery without seeming like an oddball . All you need is a tenuous link to the garnish and there you have it – an image that stands out against all the photographs of pancake stacks loaded with blueberries and syrup. And hopefully this will help you stand out.

This applies to any imagery that you choose to use for your marketing. The trick with selecting imagery is to find something interesting that will catch people’s attention and it’s easier to do that if you don’t look the same as everyone else.

You’ll notice that I’ve gone a little further with this image. My concern was that the lemon might have been overused too. That’s why the image has its own distinct personality. I went big on the shadows to make sure that this shot didn’t look like your typical stock food photograph.

I’m not suggesting that you have to be different to be interesting or to win attention but it can’t hurt. I always find it refreshing when I’m asked to take a more interesting picture so it must be refreshing to see something other than the same old humdrum pictures.

Written by Paul Tschornow

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