Al Camp Italian Restaurant
March 27, 2015
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Product photography lighting tutorial – Alba watch
April 7, 2015

Food photography lighting tutorial

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I guess one of the things that most photographers would agree on, particularly when started out is how lighting for food photography could be baffling and rather daunting; also which is better natural or artificial lighting..... the list goes on and on.

Food photography lighting doesn't have to be a nightmare, as a matter of fact, all professionals tend to utilize natural lighting, or replicate it using strobes, which is also not a difficult thing to do.

Some cases you wanna do some really fancy lighting but that happens in a very rare situations, so I'll write that down for you in points to make things easy for you:

1-Backlighting or side lighting are best for food, they really show color and texture; I myself like to light food from a 120 degrees angle to the camera position or 10:30 o'clock.
2-if you don't have speedlights or studio strobes; you can still create beautiful images using just daylight from a window or if it is a direct hard sunlight, diffuse it first, just make sure you use it right.

3-Main light isn't enough you have to fill the shadows from the opposite side using a reflector, bounce card or another low power light.

4-Always try to keep things simple.

5-Don't feel bad about the shadows they always give the food texture and depth just be clever how to use them so don't light your food from all directions.

6-This one isn't about lighting, but I felt like I should say it .. the beauty of your images relies mainly on the beauty of your subject, and since our subject here is food; make sure it's well styled and propped.

Now I will leave you with some of my photos with illustrations of lighting diagrams, so you can get an idea on how to light food beautifully:
This one can't be simpler ... a window light on the left, and a silver reflector on the right ... easy right?. let's move to a slightly more complex one
Next one is Banana split, I like how this one looks and I loved how it tasted to be honest :D, however, in terms of lighting it was the first time to use studio strobes on this shoot and they weren't even mine, I rented them, however, lighting was a 90cm octabox behind the subject, a 60*90 cm softbox to camera left, and a white reflector on camera right ... still not too complicated
Next one is from Al Camp food photo shoot, and I really like it because it's mouthwatering, and it was the first time to work with a food stylist ... it's seafood soup .. this one is slightly more complex, the main light was a 60*90 Softbox at 02:30 position, a smaller softbox for fill light at a low power at 09:00 and a white reflective umbrella at a low power at 04:30.
Hope that was helpful ... maybe next time i'll start discussing lighting for interiors photography..
till next time
See you ...