I have downloaded 131 images, primarily soups and during my searches for specific soups I have noticed a couple of things that stop me from purchasing certain images.
1. Think before you take the picture as many of the images are not realistic, even if they are very pleasing to the eye. As an example, don't put beef stock in a fine china soup bowl - stock is used as a base to prepare soups, gravies, and stews. Put it in a measuring cup, pot or glass jar.
2. Before you garnish the heck out of a food dish, take a picture before you apply any garnish. That provides me with a base picture to add my own garnishes if I want - it's a pain to remove a couple of dozen small bits of chives to get to the base picture. It costs you nothing to shoot the picture without the garnish. Soups that appear in glasses or cups should be drinkable, if you load it with globs of sour cream or other items that don't flow when you raise it to your mouth you will have soup running down the sides of your mouth.
3. You have spent a great deal of time setting up the plate to be photographed. Take photos from numerous angles and distances.
4. Keywords - I found a picture, by accident, of cattle soup.
I can't believe that anyone would actually search for "cattle soup". The dish contains herbs - tell me what they are, not just the keyword "herbs". Tell me the kind of beans, the kind of meat and by the way the photographers that believe that you can place a whole hot dog, or full lengths of chives on top of a bowl of soup, obviously have never eaten soup! The keywords must match what I can see in the picture - if I can't see the potatoes (unless it's a cream of potato soup) don't tell me there are potatoes in it.
5. If you want to sell food pictures, I would suggest that in most cases, simple is better than complex.
I need thousands of soup pictures - keep on shooting!!
I received a response from an editor at DT with respect to taking multiple pictures from different angles with different garnishes, etc. I don't see it as a problem - following is the reply:
"Our policy regarding this topic focuses on duplicates or blatant similarities between images, and countless numbers of pictures on the same subject with no significant differences to offer a really useful variety to our buyers. We encourage taking different approaches to a specific subject, soups in this case, and, as you well pointed, appreciate variety rather than using the exact same angle/lighting/setup with only the content of the bowl being changed. So, as a brief answer, we are open to variations on the same subject, as long as a series is not overwhelmed with similarity."
Excellent blog! I especially liked your information about making it realistic. While shooting hot peppers the other day, I had a really pretty antique fork that I thought about putting in the photo. Then I started thinking, would someone really be eating these with a fork? Maybe, but probably not!
You have reinforced certain things as a designer which is fantastic!!!
No soup in my port either, I usually skip that from my menu, but if I'd have any and a client would like something edited out of the image/images he or she bought from me I'd jump right in to edit them for free, easy peasy I ain't that greedy :)
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