Food Photography Basics


Food Photography Basics

Food Photography Basics is a glimpse into photographing food. We discuss two different methods to approach it. And. . . we photographed a chocolate cake with chocolate drizzle and raspberry’s on top. Food Photography Basics is part of the series “The Value of Hiring a Professional Photographer“.

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The food your photographing needs to look so good you could eat the photo. In order to accomplish that “so good you could eat it” look you need to see the texture of the food, the color of the food and the nuances of the food. You want it lit properly to show that texture, but never yellow light. Your photo needs to be in focus and well composed. Quality food photography requires the proper equipment, utensils and  years of experience.

Food Photography Basics – Lighting

Quality food photography general requires at least 2 different light sources. You can use the light of a northern window with sheers over the window and a method to bounce the light back into the food. Be careful here to use the lowest ISO on your camera so you don’t end up with a grainy photo. Grain in a food photo generally does not work well and is almost impossible to remove in post.

Another way is to use some type of artificial light. You now have some constant light sources readily available and very reasonably priced. Just be sure it is natural daylight rated at 5500 – 6000 Kelvin (color of light) or you adjust your camera light balance for tungsten. There is nothing worse than a great food shot that is yellow.  You also will need some method to diffuse the light for a softer look. Soft boxes work well and generally start at $50 and up.

Another type of artificial light are strobes. They can range in size from something that would fit on top of your camera generally referred to as speed light, but mounted to a separate light stand. They generally start at around $50 and are always day light balanced so no yellow photos. Another option is studio strobes. They generally start at around $150 and go up. In either case you will need a method of firing the lights remotely. You will need to diffuse the light but you can purchase soft boxes for them.

For the photo I created in the video I used a quality studio strobe mounted on a light stand to be directly behind the cake facing forward towards  the camera. I also used a Canon Speed Light on a light stand with an adapter on the front of the speed light to send the light into the cut cake.

Chocolate Cake w/chocolate drizzle and raspberry's

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