Avoid a black background
To achieve a natural look when using ash as the only light source, angle a leaf upwards, behind the subject or the petals of a flower in order to create a natural-looking backdrop. Or shoot up towards a bright sky, which will render as blue, use water as a backdrop or try using a board/fabric close to the subject.
Try photographing just a section of a flower, cropping right into it so that the petal edges are cut off. Make sure though that your crop looks definite enough to come across as though it’s intentional – if you only crop off a couple of petal tips, it might just look like a mistake. Plus, if you fill the frame with your flower, you won’t have to worry about backgrounds.
Check the edges
Grass, twigs and leaves can sneak into the frame when you’re concentrating on the main subject. Most of the time you can crop these out later, but it’s good practice to get things right in-camera. Use live view and magnify the focus area. Now pan around the frame, paying particular attention to the edges.
It’s all in the detail
When it comes to food photography, I like to get close and personal to my subjects, as it can give my shots that special intimacy. The texture of a cabbage leaf is truly wonderful if you really look, while the cracked hands of someone who has worked on the land all their life tells its own story. Take advantage of interesting textures and details, and compose shots in a way that draws in the eye.