Today I was going through some pics from a recent shoot and came across a really good example of how getting the proper focal point makes a HUGE difference in the quality of the food photo. When I’m shooting something, I look for the spot where my eye is naturally drawn to, then I make that the focal point. In most cases I try to make this point focus around where the “first bite” would be. I want the focal point to lead the viewer into the pic & get them salivating over tasting the “first bite” focal point.
This first pic is the one I chose to represent this dish. The focal point was exactly where I wanted it & where the eye is naturally drawn to anyways: 0n the bursting open tomato.
The eye is first drawn to the bursting open tomato on top, then is led down the curve of the zucchini underneath to the red pepper near the bottom. Then the eye is drawn back up to the zucchini sticking out in the blurred background, making all the focal points draw the eye around the entire dish in the picture, which is the goal of a good food photograph. The longer your eye stays on the photo, the hungrier you will get looking at it.
This picture, however, is less effective in leading the eye because the starting focal point is off. It should be the bursting tomato, but instead is the zucchini slice next to it. Because of this, the eye is not led around the picture as it should be. This makes this a not very good food photo.
Understanding & capturing the appropriate focal point will take a food photograph a LONG way towards being good & the food within it looking delicious! Practice finding & capturing the proper focal point in your food photographs & let me know how it goes. Can you tell the difference in why the first photo is much more effective than the second?