There are several metaphors that come to mind when I think of Valentines Day and Food Photography. They may help you remember some important things to strive for.
PASSION… As with all meaningful pursuits you should do this with passion for the craft. “This is not paint by number art”.
INTIMACY… Effective food images are usually extreme close-ups. Think of the fork just before it enters your mouth. Crop, then crop more.
WARMTH… Many food items benefit aesthetically from warmer hues. Whether done in post production or by using warm light, try to amp up the warmth with certain food such as red meats and sauces or yellow vegetables. Use good judgment and keep the whites neutral if possible.
SENSUALITY… The culinary arts community says “we eat first with our eyes”. Through our eyes an effective food image should elicit aromas, tastes, and textures on the palate. We are complex creatures whose senses often overlap.
SPIRITUALITY… For some time I’ve noticed a duality relative to photography. The “techie” side of us wants to embrace, equipment, chemistry, tricks, and secret formulas, but there must be the presence of a spiritual connection to the subject. We are creating a painting with light, shadow, textures, and color. There is no magic formula nor are there boundaries.
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Beautifully said Ron. You can see the passion in your work. It is so true that the eyes first taste what we eat. Keep up the good work!