Food Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Jessmica, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. Jessmica

    Jessmica TPF Noob!

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    I've only just started trying it out, but the results haven't been good..
    Does anyone have any tips for photographing food?

    I know this is a little vague, I'm just never sure where to start and the end results never look interesting.. let alone tasty
    :confused:
     
  2. Restomage

    Restomage No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    From what I understand, usually you use a very wide aperture such as f/2.8 and multiple strobes to lighten it up, but i could be wrong.
     
  3. Jessmica

    Jessmica TPF Noob!

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    Okay I'll try that out :sillysmi: Thanks
     
  4. Don Kondra

    Don Kondra Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm not a big fan of narrow depth of field but that seems to be the standard.

    Shoot fairly low and decide if you want a close up cropped shot of the food or farther back with place settings, etc.

    Start with light from the back and/or side and adjust from there.

    Color/shape of plate is personal but I wouldn't recommend a plate with a busy pattern.

    Post some results and we can pick at it :)

    Cheers, Don
     
  5. Dylan-Fishman

    Dylan-Fishman TPF Noob!

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    The heat from your lighting may have an affect on your food. Just a warning. When they shoot those McDonalds ads they're using plastic, not real food. That's why they always look better than they taste.
     
  6. sburatorul

    sburatorul TPF Noob!

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    heat from lights is a concern only if she uses constant lights! i dont think strobing it would be a problem.
     
  7. SrBiscuit

    SrBiscuit TPF Noob!

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    i grew up with this kid whose dad was a glass blower, and did ice cubes for beverage commercials. or so he said.

    sry.;)
     
  8. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Food photography is not easy from what I've seen. A studio where I worked, one of the partner was a food photographer.

    The problem is not so much the heat (unless you are not using strobes) but the food doesn't stay looking fresh and appetizing very long. I don't remember any of the food being plastic but ice cubes, water spills, sweat on glass and bottle, beer foam, etc, absolutely.

    Having rented ice cubes myself, I know you can rent those things. If you are in a large enough city, that is.

    Don't remember anything about the lighting technique this guy used but I know the photographer had to be ready to shoot when he food was ready. No time to waste.
     
  9. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    I've had reasonable success applying the same ideas behind portraiture to pictures of food. Get at the level or a completely unique view (overhead at 90 degrees, etc), directional light, soft shadows... when you want to show 'juicy' food, specular highlights are your friend.

    You also need not show the entire plate. Because your subject is so willing (food takes direction quite well, unlike most models I've worked with), you have at least a bit of time to get the composition correct. Never lose sight of the composition trying to get 'everything in'.

    In general, I shoot food with a 2 light, 2 reflector setup with a key light, the reflectors providing fill, and the other light providing back lighting. Sometimes I'll just simply bounce a flash off of a nearby piece of foam core as well if I'm in a hurry. You can get some pretty awesome text book shots (that may be a contradiction in terms) with a lightbox and a single light.

    As amply noted above, you do need to work quickly, but once you figure out the basics, getting a shot set up is generally not difficult and it's pretty fast, from my experience.
     
  10. Don Kondra

    Don Kondra Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    As I understand it, the new truth in advertising laws require real food be used, some props obviously are allowed.

    Here's an example with some info.

    The meat in this shot should have been taken off the BBQ as soon as it "looked" appealing, I chose to have it ready to eat :)

    The shrimp were cooked and let cool. Once plated the sauce was reheated just enough to pour but not spread onto the plate. I also cooked eight shrimp so I could play with the arrangement before plating.

    Oven baked scalloped potates were also cooled so they wouldn't spread on the plate. I added dry crushed pepper flakes as much for the color as the taste.

    The salad was mixed at the last minute and I omitted the raw egg from the dressing in order to have a clear, wet appearance.

    [​IMG]

    Color is important in presentation. Plan accordingly...

    Although this was simply a test shot, in hindsight I should have waited till I had some tomatoes and/or red and green peppers in the frig :)

    [​IMG]

    HTH,

    Cheers, Don
     
  11. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Don, how do you light your food? It looks diffused from at least 2 sides/front.

    Your photostream makes me hungry.
     
  12. Don Kondra

    Don Kondra Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Sorry, meant to add that and got distracted :)

    The rib shot is two strobes with 2' x 3' softboxes. The one on the right was middle of the softbox at table height and the left one was higher, say bottom of the softbox at table height and angled downward. Left light to the side of the dish, right light to the side of the camera and ~ 45 degrees to the plate.

    I've since been "advised" I should use more back light :lmao:

    As this recommendation came from a supposedly reliable source with work to back it up, I've also been recommending that as a starting point.

    Having said that, I still find lighting similar to a portrait works well but the back lighting will highlight food that is semi transparent. For instance, the lettuce was tough not to blow with the front light...

    Pretty sure the kabob shot was with two continuous CF bulbs (85w) in 10" reflectors, pretty much the same arrangement.

    Cheers, Don
     

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