Basic Photoshop Tips for Food Photography


If you have Photoshop, and want a super quick tutorial on how to make a good image more fantastic, follow these steps.

I want to show this with more step-by-step photos, and less words.

I think we’re mostly visual learners. Well, at least I am.

Step 1:

Go to Image >>Adjustments>>Levels…


In the Levels window, re-position the black, midtone, and white sliders by pulling or pushing them towards the black areas of the histogram.

This will correct the balance of  brightness, contrast and tones overall in the image.

Be sure the ‘Preview’ option is checked, and click it on and off so you can see the before and after shots.

And then press OK.

Looks better already, doesn’t it?


Step 2:

Go to Image>>Adjustments>>Brightness/Contrast…


Adjust the Brightness/Contrast window to your preference. Move the sliders around until you feel the image is more balanced.

I didn’t want to lose a lot of pixels so I didn’t pump the contrast that much. I did want it considerably lighter, so I pumped the brightness up alot.

Make sure the Preview button is checked.

Press OK.

Looks done, right? They look like delicious, plump blueberries. But for me, they just aren’t blue enough…


Step 3:

Go to Image>>Adjustments>>Color Balance…


In the Color Balance window, adjust your colors accordingly. Play around with it until you think it looks good.

I wanted my blueberries to look more blue, so I moved the slider towards blue.

Make sure the Preview button is checked.

Press OK.



That was easy, wasn’t it? Of course, there will be a lot of people with their own opinions and tips on Photoshop, but they can talk about it on their own blogs. Believe me, I have a LOT of useless knowledge on enhancing photos ;)

This is for everyone who wants to revamp their food photos on their blogs. You might have many food images that this can work on.  Actually, this can work on any photos, not just food.

Please feel free to comment and let me know if this was helpful in any way, so I can plan on more posts on Photoshop techniques…

43 Thoughts on “Basic Photoshop Tips for Food Photography

  1. pls du tell me more abt this photo shop thhingy on how to make the food pics look more perfect. thanx a lot for the tip candy.. it rili helped me.. ur such a sweet heart :D

  2. Ok I’m glad you agree that I should post more about this, because I was going to do it whether or not anyone was interested! :)

  3. Great tips…would love to see more! Thanks!

  4. I struggled with Photoshop for many years. In fact, I took several classes using the program. I came to the conclusion that Photoshop is more program than most of us will ever need.

    A friend told me about Picnik It is a much more friendly photo editing program. I do a lot of food photography and this program does anything I need to do.

    Photoshp is the gold standard of photoediting software but it is more than I need.

  5. Carole – Thank you for the suggestion. I think it depends on what people feel comfortable using, and I would never suggest that people go and buy Photoshop for their food blogs :P It is quite expensive, BUT if they did already have the program, or wanted to invest in the program for a food related career (food writer, food photographer) then I would highly recommend it.
    I understand that Photoshop is overwhelming and intimidating at first (even though I used it for 13 years – I’m still trying to keep up with all the new tools) but I think it’s the most ‘sensitive’ to photography. Then again, I am quite partial to PS for freelancing :)

  6. Pingback: Basic Photoshop Tips for Food Photography | Soup Belly | Web 2.0 Designer

  7. Believe it or not, I have only lately started on Photoshop and every bit of info helps a lot!!!

  8. Thanks!

    Very helpful visual guides. I can never learn any remotely tech and retain it for more than a few minutes if there are no associated pictures. I love your simple techniques, this will really brighten up my photos
    OH! You’re my new favorite blogger fyi

  9. Nina – You gotta start somewhere, right? :)

    Thuy – Me too! When I first learned photoshop in college years ago, our professor made each of us sit at a computer, use EVERY SINGLE TOOL on a photo to see what it did, and do a screen capture of it. It helped so much later on, because we could visualize what each tool did, rather than read what it did.

  10. That was so useful! If only I could learn how to use my dslr properly. All my pictures are turning out grainy when I’m not using flash indoors unless if it’s really sunny.

  11. Steph – they are probably grainy because it has to shoot at a faster speed in a darker environment, right? If you don’t want a flash you might want a tripod to hold the camera steady for longer exposures. Or set it on a steady surface (table, shelf).

  12. I was aware of some of the tools you mention on Photoshop, but I haven’t fully been taking advantage of them. I did start playing with the “Variations” tool (Image->Adjustments->Variations), which seems to do color balance, level adjustments and brightness/contrast all at once, except Photoshop does it for you.

    Thanks for the tips. I looked at some of my photos and started playing around with the levels.

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  14. Hummingbird – Variations are good too, for lighter/darker, and for overall color. Though, it’s a little trickier; each time you click a color in Variations, it changes the overall color at a certain percentage that you can’t control (ie- adds 10% of certain color but no percentages in between).
    I don’t use variations that much anymore, but it depends on what each of us prefers. But continue to play around in PS and let me know your findings! :)

  15. I don’t have photo shop, but have corell.
    Can i use the same for correl.

  16. Happy Cook – you can use Corel Paint Shop for photo editing, but of course with different programs there are different ways they are displayed/used.

    There are so many different photo editing programs out there, and I’m just showing some basics of what to look for when editing a photograph – contrast, brightness and color.

    Good luck! :)

  17. That’s a really unique way to make the Fruits & vegetables fresh

  18. Shravan – Thanks. Sometimes, photos just don’t do fresh fruits/veggies justice, and it’s nice to give them the spotlight they deserve…

  19. Fantastic tips! Photoshop is great for when you have less than ideal light :)

  20. I agree. Those blueberries were shot when it was rainy and dreary outside!

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  22. Nice tips!

  23. great tutorial, exactly what I’ve been looking for – simple and easy. thx

  24. You’re welcome Heiko :)

  25. Holy hairballs! This is EXACTLY the info I’ve been looking for. Thank you thank you! I can’t tell you what your tutorial here has just done for me. Such a simple thing. But if you are all self taught, it’s the little things like this you miss sometimes. So once again, THANK YOU!

  26. VRy interesting to read it :P

  27. Hi – that’s a great tip – thanks! If you check out my site, it’s no surprise that my images could use a lot of work with photoshop. Do you do any consulting? Anyhow, slick blog… I’m subscribed to your feed now so I’ll be checking in regularly!

  28. A new trick I have learned here today, I have to go try it!

  29. I just got using this tutorial for a friends product shots and they turned out amazing. At first i think the photos didnt have enought light so the bg was hazzy, applied the brightness and levels and they now pop out with a crisp white background. Excellent tip! thx

  30. Marlene Wilson on November 13, 2010 at 10:18 pm said:

    thank you so much for this useful guide!! I don’t have Photoshop but another program on my computer. As a visual learner, I enjoyed seeing how you tweek your pics.
    Thanks again!

  31. Awesome little demo. Super helpful! Thanks

  32. thank you for this tutorial really helped me a lot! :) Godbless..

  33. Jake Jabbs on November 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm said:

    Your tips worked perfectly. My food shots are so much better with your touch ups. Thanks a bunch.

  34. These are great tips. I have used them on my latest food photographs. They look wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

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  38. Thanks a lot, works great. for a newbie on photoshop like me, it’s what i was looking for :)

  39. Thanks for sharing :) Very helpful, simple & easy to follow!

  40. Very simple – I like it! Easy to follow directions. I am wondering if it can be done like this in Elements or Lightroom since that is the extent of my editing knowledge. I will have to play around with it.

  41. I’ve been looking for a blog post like this, thank you for sharing!! This has been very helpful for me!

  42. Pingback: 50 Tips to Improve Your Food Photography - Bloggers Get Social

  43. Hi Candy,
    please make another tutorial that you work on CMYK channel ? because, I’m prepress operator for flexible packaging and i hope learn more from you about adjusting image for print

    Thank you so much!

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