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Food Image Dos And Don’ts

    Whether you realise it or not, the product photos used in your marketing have been digitally manipulated.

    Within reason, this is not a problem. Go too far, however, and it can be viewed as false advertising.

    When Olay “optimised” 60-year-old Twiggy to promote a face cream, they conveniently removed all wrinkles from the former model. UK lawmakers savaged the Olay brand, banned the ad and cited “gross misrepresentation of products”.

    What is optimisation?

    A professional photographer wouldn’t dream of giving you product shots without some level of digital fine tuning. This includes adjusting contrast and colours, contouring, cleaning up obvious technical flaws etc.

    Dos and Don’ts

    At Boylen we photograph and optimise products on a daily basis. Here are a few standard guidelines:

    1. Do optimise. It is just plain smart. Gold foil is a classic case. It will never reproduce properly in a photo. It requires expert retouching to make it match the original product.
    2. Do allow a professional to undertake detailed Photoshopping of your key images to get rid of unwanted shadows, reflections and irregular blemishes.
    3. Do bring up your colours to ensure you achieve true-to-life vibrancy that leaps off a page or a screen.
    4. Don’t let your photographers and designers “do their own thing”. You need to direct them. They need to understand that there are lines that cannot be crossed (such as body modification for models).
    5. Don’t think you won’t get caught. Consumer champion Choice is regularly reviewing products for “truth in labelling”.  Remember when a Ralph Lauren ad showed a model with hips narrower than her head? A public relations disaster. This sort of thing is an avoidable disaster.

    There are now laws prohibiting body image manipulation in Australia – and in time they will apply to food photography. The push is already underway in France.

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