Food Photography Lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by UpperSpoon, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. OldCam

    OldCam TPF Noob!

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    a laptop close on the side with white on the display is nice to test too. its not perfect, but can just add some smoothing in the shadows. ..and it can give you a nice background in the back too adding some theme behind food.


     
  2. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Foam core is fine.
     
  3. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm coming to this conversation late. Let me offer my perspective.
    1. Popup flash vs. speed lights: totally not the same, primarily bc of where the light is coming from. A light directly on top of camera pointed at the subject produces a very flat subject with no pop, no perspective, no separation from the background. Thus, I have only used my popup in desperation or when I need a little fill (say...shooting someone with a glorious sunset behind them and I don't want that person to be a silhouette).

    2. Resources explaining how lighting works will be critical for you b/c you want to understand the nature of the light or more specifically if it is hard or soft. Right now I think you are probably focusing on "how do I get MORE light" when the issue for this type of work is probably more about the nature of the photography. Food photography almost always looks best when it involves soft lighting. How do you get soft lighting? Lighting Science and Magic will give you a lot more detail on this but basically it's going to be a function of how big the light source is, how close it is to the subject, the nature of the shadows (which are affected by the first two) and light modifiers (soft boxes, reflectors, and so on).

    3. Given everything I've just said above, some of the best uses of your limited cash may not be more lighting. It may be: 2 sheets of foam core (with clamps you can use to help them stand up), a semi-transparent drape liner (white or cream) that will filter light, and a tripod with a center column that tilts (so you could put it directly over top of food). All of that (combined with placement of your lighting source) will help you produce a lovely soft light. Here's a tip: do a test shot with your lights (continuous or speed light) and look at the result, focusing on the shadows. If the shadows are soft and barely there. Or non distinct shadows, then you're probably getting the lighting you want and need for this type of photography. Sharp lines on the shadows or dark shadows and your lighting is too hard. And you can use the tripod with a timer or shutter release to compensate for lower levels of lighting (at least if you're shooting stills--video is another matter that I can't speak to).

    4. I also find that investing money at yard sales for an interesting piece of wood or marble, unique placemats, a table cloth with a distinctive fibre or weave, a remarkable plate or serving dish...those are all useful for food photography props.
     
  4. UpperSpoon

    UpperSpoon TPF Noob!

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    @JoeW this is great advice thank you. I will play around with it today.

    I have been shopping at garage sales quite a lot actually. Have gotten some pretty cool little pieces.
     

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