Food photography tips

Food retouching in Photoshop

food retouching with photoshop

Sometimes  you have an amazing recipe but you can’t take a photo because doesn’t look great. There is a way to fix some accidents or make your food look better in Photoshop.

This dessert is a chocolate panna cotta with carob powder. I wanted to have it on a plate  decorated with raspberries. When I tried to take it out from the glass and put it on the plate, it cracked. I knew I was going to retouch it in Photoshop. So I took photos of the dessert and then I fixed them in the computer.

I used cloning in Photoshop to get rid of the cracks and reflections of the windows on the plate.

photoshop retouching in food photography

Clone stamp is a great tool and easy to use. The Clone Stamp Tool paints with a sampled pixels of an image. You need practice to get it done nice.

Create a new layer before making changes with Clone Stamp tool. Working in a new layer means that you are not changing the underlying pixels of your image and in addition, you can delete it if you don’t like it.

To create a new layer just press Shift+Ctrl+N (Shift+Cmd+N on Mac). To make a duplicate of the background layer press Ctrl+J (Cmd+J on Mac).

You can work with both types of layers. I worked with a duplicate one and is named “Cloning”. You can see it circled with black on the right side of the next photo.

When you use Clone Stamp always zoom in. It will help you work on a much greater level of detail. If your changes look good when you zoom in, then when you zoom out, you will not distinguish them.

Choose from the Toolbox the Clone Stamp Tool. In the Options bar, set the tool’s tip size and hardness.

cloning tool in photoshop for food photography

As you can see, I was in the middle of cloning. During the process you will change the size of the brush depending on the area you are working.

Hardness determines the level to which the cloning will blend in with the surrounding pixels. In general, keep the hardness level at 0% and the edge will blend in the surroundings.

The Clone Stamp tool is all about repetition – you just need to do it in such a way that the viewer doesn’t notice it.

To use the tool, you set a sampling area you want to copy the pixels from and paint over another area. Changing the size of the brush gives you precise control over the size of the clone area.

This is the final photo. As you can see, all the reflections and cracks are gone.

Keep in mind that 90% of my photos are done from the camera. Just apply a little bit of contrast and lighting if needed. I use cloning only in special cases. With this panna cotta I have other photos in the glass, so for my recipe I will not use this one. I managed to get out of the glasses only one, so I got lucky. But, if you made a big one and it cracked this retouching is the best solution.

You can also use cloning stamp to remove stains, reflections, small defects,etc. Keep taking photos and cooking.

panna cotta retouched in photoshop


77 thoughts on “Food retouching in Photoshop

  1. Wow, this is brilliant – working with food is so dicey, and easily heartbreaking which something inevitably goes wrong. It’s a do-over with having to actually do it over. Thanks.

  2. ‘Sometimes you have an amazing recipe but you can’t take a photo because doesn’t look great’ – exactly! Thank you! I was so busy last time and made my photos in hurry. In result only a few people liked really tasty candies 😉 I understand I don’t like myself how they looked on the photo 😉

  3. Just a though 🙂 While I understand the need for beautiful photos and the fact they do draw people to a potentially amazing recipe, somehow this doesn’t sit right. I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to show a cracked cake, a floppy muffin or a burnt chicken. Because these things happen to all of us and that’s just life in the kitchen. Or that’s just life! And, in the end, I bet your cracked cake was as delicious as a perfectly polished one.

    1. True. I have been asked to write about Photoshop. This was an example. As I said in my post I have photos with the dessert in the glasses. Some like the ones with the cracks, some don’t. The taste was the same. What you do with your photos is your problem. I am trying to help the bloggers who want to fix the cracks.

      1. I did’t take your comment negatively. Sorry, if it sounded like that. I should thank you. You made me realize that I should write that is the post for the persons who want to do that, not that retouching is a necessity.

  4. Fantastic. The beauty of the final shot is that you didn’t create something altogether different from the original composition. A great final composition.

  5. This looks amazing and it’s so helpful to have the step by step on how you created the final photo! Thank you for taking the time to share this…I will definitely have to try this out next time I need to do some photo editing.


  6. Aha! SO I’m not a terrible chef after all! I always think my results with its tiny imperfections mean I’m doing something wrong. 😉 This is super neat, I’m TERRIBLE at photoshop, but luckily I’m not a food blog!

  7. This is great! Thank you for sharing, it’s really useful to know how to fix these things. I recently dressed a bowl beautifully and then only later realised my bowl was chipped so it would have been great to have been able to photoshop it!

  8. This is extremely helpful to me! I don’t have a great camera and am not sure I want to invest just yet. I don’t know if I will keep going with blogging, I do like it so far and am learning a lot from folks like you. Thanks for letting me see behind the curtain!

  9. One can do these things with the app Paint also. Like you said, zoom way up.
    Good fix for the crack, but personally, I prefer with the window reflections. 🙂

  10. This was great 👍 especially for a new food blogger like me. I’m still getting organized and discovering recipes of my own I can post. My first food photo attempts were very poor. Thanks 🙏 for these tips.

  11. I see what you mean about using photoshop as an editing tool. I was told to use LR. At the time I didn’t know anything about editing. Perhaps I’ll try the Photoshop monthly subscription. Thanks so much for sharing and responding to your fans.

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