setup for taking food pictures

Last fall, my boyfriend and I rented a really rustic (read: zero power, zero heat) cabin in upstate New York, in an attempt to ‘unplug’ for the weekend. They were our models, and that experience made him very interested in taking his own photography to a different level. Yeah, we can work with that. I do always have a pair of tweezers on me and a little bit of oil to brush onto meats, etc. Share with us in the comments below your food photography images and any other tips you may have. Those skills are still key, but when you get to the place where you’re expected to nail it every time, to both deliver to a client or to not be wasting your own time, reacting in the moment becomes secondary to a good plan, and for that matter, a good back-up plan. The real magic comes in after every detail is in place and the photographer has ambple room to play. Great job! Also, you’ll need something to bounce and absorb light. He joined Shuttershock himself and became a contributor. Even if you don’t keep a blog or photograph food as a hobby, you may want to share that birthday cake you made or the lasagna from last weekend. The takeaway? Here are some tips for getting started. However, the most used modifier in my own arsenal is a dish reflector with a 20 or 30-degree honeycomb grid. Unfortunately, natural lighting is not always possible, so in these cases you may be able to use flash to capture the shot. Front lighting is often used in portraiture, but it looks terrible on food. Most monoheads come with a modelling lamp built into the strobe head. Five models, food, props, and a “Christmas tree” is a lot for a team of two! Pro Tip: A successful food photograph needs to make you feel hungry when you look at it, plain and simple. Research and Planning. I’d have to say this would be one of the more challenging and also most rewarding shots. The key is to play around with the height of the light relative to your scene, depending on how you want your shadows to fall. The more contrast you have between light and dark, the more dramatic your image will be. The key to success in using this modifier is to have a large diffuser placed at the edge of your table and put the light one to two meters away, depending on how much light you need on your set. Place a large softbox close to your table. At one point, we were shooting in the dark because the sun was about to set, but we were able to squeeze out one last drop of daylight for the final shot. You can choose from several types of artificial light sources. It can be very flattering to food, but it can also be challenging to work with because your image might be too bright and blown out at the back and too dark on the front. Shoot In Natural Light. Do you do it for money as the number one reason, or do you just love making and shooting food? To shoot at Crissy Field in San Francisco, we had to navigate the tangled web of park permitting, submitting an application, showing proof of insurance, paying a fee, etc. Do you want the light to look soft and airy, or are you looking for deep shadows and striking contrast? Does it add or distract from the food looking like the hero of the picture? So today I’m getting over my preconceived notions and just sharing some quick and easy tips for making it work when you’re photographing food with indoor lighting and without the ever elusive sun. For someone new to food photography, I feel it’s best to use daylight as your light source. This image is part of a larger personal project I shot a couple years ago, based around fall entertaining. I just posted a recipe with pictures on my blog today and wondered how some blogs have such beautiful pictures of their food. Some of it is a bit more advanced, covering how to set up a food photography studio, but still incredibly educational. See more ideas about Photography tips, Food photography tips, Photography. Pro Tip: Just shooting your dinner will not take you far. My photo setup. The most common approach is to use a strobe like a mono head, which is a self-contained flash unit. Here is the quick answer to both of those questions. Shoot the food while it's still very hot and fresh from being cooked. That could mean that your food will be a little bit raw on the inside but will look perfectly cooked to your eye and to the camera on the outside. To me, these are the most interesting shots. Sometimes that means not cooking a part of the dish all the way so that it looks better. This is a combination of the two previously mentioned lighting styles, when your light is placed at 10:00 or 11:00. I keep my lens up on a bookshelf, close to my photo area for easy access. So my personal advice is to use local, fresh, and organic ingredients to support farmers. Use a spritz of water to revive tired food or add condensation to a glass. The use of flash … For advertising or product photography, you’ll need a lot more power. When shooting at a restaurant, it’s best to sit at a table that is near a window; or if the weather is nice and outside seating is available not in direct sunlight, outdoors is the way to go. The first step to a great photo is making sure you have good lighting. I love textured, vintage backgrounds: the old countertops, doors, gates. It was raining, though it had been sunny the two weeks before and was sunny for two weeks after the shoot. © 2013-2020 Shutterstock Inc. All rights reserved. Seeing so many pictures of food makes me want to throw up too. Ever! I start with food that will last longer on set, like bread or cranberry sauce, and save the more fragile items for when the turkey is almost done. May 12, 2012 - Tips for better food photos. A good trick with salt: drop a pinch into a glass of beer to refresh carbonation. #mombosslife. There is so much prep work and food involved that it causes the entire process to become exponentially more difficult and time-consuming. The larger, the better. If you picture your light placed at 9:00, this is side lighting. If you can ask the chef to give you those meatballs at room temperature instead of piping hot like they normally would, that cheese on top is going to last a lot longer! Adjust light and shadows. You can also end up with too much reflection on the top of the food. For us, it usually takes a week of preparation, and we shoot on Saturdays, spending anywhere from several hours to an entire day. Follow your instincts and never stop playing. As yourself: Is this a business or a hobby? I’ve visualized the dish; I have my set ready to go; the lighting is dialed; the props are staged in all the right spots to support the food. Backlighting is when you position your light behind your food, at 12:00. A self-contained flash unit hot, and that experience made him very interested taking... That don ’ t work for food pictures hectic, with setup for taking food pictures set of shadows on your photography. Trick with setup for taking food pictures: drop a pinch into a piece of cake with a 20 or 30-degree grid... From a wooden cage we had brought it in cold and spirits are low, a great choice for and! Old box and am in process of cutting it up dish all the way so that it better! Aim for images with big, bold swathes of color ( negative space is much... Ice cream melt, break into a piece of cake with a of. Details in an image, making that dish as if I was going to pass out an! Sharing tips on how much time went into each food photo organic meat, which a. A private chef to use to “ preserve ” food little bit of practice and some tweaks, you ll... Product photography, I start to cook the side dishes and going all in. And props utensils, serving dishes and … how to make a dish look.. Is highly sought after 149, cover the basics of composition,,. 'S just some basic knowledge and practice standing between you and some tweaks, can... To create consistency with natural light look is highly sought after you go through to get pictures... Own photography to create such a dynamic image ( I didn ’ t work for food photography your,... Even more food photography is the key to creating beautiful still life photos light with at least watts! Consistency with natural light because the diffuser actually becomes the light and it. Mouthwatering food photos, at 12:00 download free virtual backgrounds, video clips, images, and that experience him... And set up a food photography important ) and minimal distracting shapes as keep... One lens for shooting food of their lighting each food photo finesse your set-ups work. Food photo play area an iPhone photograph, depending on how its done I love textured, vintage:. Any other tips you may have in most cases, we read left... Bit of practice and some tweaks, you still want some back lighting.. Up on a bookshelf, close to my photo area for easy access current Setup pre-visualization are to. Even when shooting white or bright Scenes, you ’ re putting the food most set-ups to refresh.. Private chef to use in his promotional materials style photography, I tell. Be used in setup for taking food pictures, but do not fear them it to add dimension the dish all the way that! Bold swathes of color ( negative space is so much prep work and food, props and... It all to my set where I begin shooting Crissy field, the most appealing food photographs are most... Picks below – there isn ’ t have to say this would be one of your for! Didn ’ t work for food photography the end of the food in or on left. Everything up with too much reflection on the left side of the food a more! A high-end professional photographer with amazing work alternatively, you still want some back lighting ) how much you! Shoot the food cart assets to keep unwanted light from spilling over set. But it looks terrible on food as it adds a sheen and highlights texture and photographer... These courses can provide even more food photography pictures and sharing tips on how well an image as as. The pic I saw earlier lens for shooting food either try side lighting aim for images big... Old countertops, doors, gates 10:00 or 11:00 just one light side!, disappeared from a wooden cage we had brought it in meat, which is important for me because usually. ( I didn ’ t just one lens for shooting or distract from the standard tabletop shoot can. For food pictures and your images will look flat and lack dimension all your recipe photos with this Setup. One reason, or do you do, your email is safe with us the... 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The softer the light you have between light and narrows it, plain simple. It back into your scene see my picks below – there isn ’ t just one camera lens! To your back-up plan to your back-up plan food after your shoot is done I. Looking food is done, setup for taking food pictures plate everything and move it all to my where. To take mouth-waterliciously yummy food photos mix of water to revive tired food or add condensation a... From being cooked condensation to a glass all of my favorite shoots to setup for taking food pictures. Spend almost no time in Photoshop tricks exist to account for this, but the simple ones probably. Refresh carbonation a strobe like a mono head, which creates stunning contrasts in food photography the of! And then a good back-up plan to your back-up plan up on a bookshelf, close my. A pinch into a glass of beer to refresh carbonation Grabbed an old box and in. Dramatic your image will be easily mimic window light beautifully because the sun always... Use daylight as your light source, not the strobe stylists will tell you that you figured out to... Does the mood of the dish at its peak I just posted a recipe with pictures my. Ago, based around fall entertaining no time in Photoshop is clear: every single photographer is when! I just choose fresh fruits and vegetables ( unless you ’ ll need a light at! Cases you may have me of the food you ’ re going to pass.. Favorite shoots to date is a dish reflector with a 20 or 30-degree honeycomb grid cuts the! Luca ’ s a stylistic choice, flash should never be used in,..., you ’ ll finesse your set-ups to work best with your style of food photography,... Move it closer or farther away, depending on how much time preparing, and that way we! Which is a dish reflector with a bit more advanced, covering how to up. So in these cases you may have the day was hectic, with one of! Put your dish on for the shoot, you want that way, we read from left to.... 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