Working with Saturation in Food Photography
Tweaking the saturation — the vibrancy or strength of the colors — can be a great boost to images of food. Increasing the saturation in a food photograph generally needs to be subtle, not glaring. Oversaturation can make a food image look a little garish.
When using Photoshop or any other photo-editing program to clean up images, the key is to be subtle and remember that less is more. Over processing of images can look, well, not so good, especially with food images.
The following figure shows an image in which the Saturation tool was applied to about a 6 on the sliding scale in the Saturation tool. Increasing the saturation allows the full, rich reds in the image to complement the look of the dessert.
Overdoing the saturation in an image is a common mistake. The telltale signs of an oversaturated image are a distinct separation of color tones, and in extreme cases, some pixelation occurs.
If you have a fitting image that you think may translate well to black and white, give desaturation a go. You can select the Desaturate option in Photoshop by going to the Image menu and then the Adjustments menu.
Desaturation removes all traces of color from an image, turning it into a black-and-white image instead (see the following figure). Although desaturation is quite unusual for a food image, it’s an interesting look that allows you to stretch your creativity and try something different.