enter image description here

The skewer looks a lot worse than it actually tasted (juicy and tender). In photoshop, what are some methods to make this look more appetizing?

  • 1
    That photo looks a bit over-exposed, to me. That might have something to do with them looking a bit dry. You could try to increase the saturation and/or vibrance a tiny bit, maybe.
    – Manly
    Aug 7, 2014 at 19:16
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    FYI food styling and food photography is a highly specialized area of expertise. There's a massive amounts of tips and tricks that typically are applied prior to the actual taking of the photo.
    – DA01
    Aug 7, 2014 at 20:43
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    In addition to @Da01's comment... most food photos aren't really food much of the time. They merely look like food. Lard balls for ice cream, wood glue for butter, etc.
    – Scott
    Aug 7, 2014 at 21:03
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    That's rather old-fashioned nonsense, @Scott. 'Twas true in the Age of Acetate, when there was no immediate feedback (even Paranoids took time to develop; with E6, "chimping" could take several hours) and most photography was done under hot lights. That's not to say that there is no trickery anymore (that bowl of cereal isn't cereal all the way down, the chicken is well undercooked so the skin looks like skin, there's a lot of scaffolding you don't see, etc.), but for the most part it's just plain easier and less expensive to use the real deal these days (and no legal hassles). Aug 26, 2014 at 12:14

2 Answers 2


This is one of those things that is easier to fix during the actual photo-shoot, instead of with post processing. The main reason it looks 'dry' is because of the harsh lighting (you can tell by the shadow under the plate) - choosing a more indirect, and more warmer light will make this look more appetizing.

There are a bunch of other tricks such as spraying it with some oil when you're done to make it look shiny, or under-cooking certain meats to make it look more plump.

Anywho, here's what I came up with in Photoshop:

enter image description here

What I did:

  • lower contrast via curves, also overall brightness
  • color balanced to make it look warmer
  • dodge light areas of food
  • burn darker areas

Food photography that looks great, generally tastes horrible. It's under cooked, slathered with motor oil, or completely replaced with non-food alternatives. The techniques that food stylists use to prepare mouthwatering photos might make you lose your appetite. :)

However, if you want the best possible photos of real food, there are some great tips in this blog post:

  • Choose Your Angle
  • Surround Your Hero
  • Natural Is Best Modified
  • Our Old Friends Lines And Layers
  • Hold The Color

I have nothing to do with that blog post, but it has some good advice.

  • Thanks, but is there anything I can do with the image that I have?
    – John
    Aug 7, 2014 at 19:28

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