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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Food Photography Talk
Thread started 01 Jan 2016 (Friday) 13:38
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Natural Light plus reflector

 
Scott ­ Spellman
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Jan 01, 2016 13:38 |  #1

Mother Nature gives us sun and water to grow food and animals and the best light to photograph it. Simply sunlight and a small homemade reflector.

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OhLook
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Jan 02, 2016 11:33 |  #2

You make it sound so easy, but I struggle with lighting for food. In planning our kitchen remodel, I chose white surfaces with reflectance in mind. The major window in that room faces southwest, which is good. (What do you do if the windows are on the wrong side of the building?) Reflectors are (found) pieces of Styrofoam, propped up. Even so, the weather here is variable. The window light can be too dim or too strong and harsh. I have to choose the right day and the right time of day, and sometimes try to adjust with curtains, and watch out for unwanted reflections in the counter surface. With all that, the results don't come out lit as I'd like.

You make it sound so easy . . .


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Scott ­ Spellman
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Jan 02, 2016 17:39 as a reply to OhLook's post |  #3

I can use window light no matter where it is. I pick a table within a few feet of a window or move it farther away from the window if light is too harsh. You could also tape a scrim or white fabric to soften light. I prefer silver reflectors to give more light and control. I often use up to ISO3200 so that there is enough light until sunset. Don't overthink it, it really is simple.




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OhLook
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Jan 02, 2016 18:32 as a reply to Scott Spellman's post |  #4

Thanks for the tips! To apply some of the information you provided, though, I'd need a bigger kitchen.


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fotopaul
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Jan 10, 2016 04:35 as a reply to OhLook's post |  #5
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It is rather simply, but not because it's window light, nothing magical or special about it.

As been stated use diffusion and flags to get the light you want. First off put your camera on a tripod, this way you can replicate and consistently see the difference when you modify the light (by using diffusion and flags)


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Foodguy
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Jan 10, 2016 12:10 as a reply to fotopaul's post |  #6

Agree 100% about using a tripod and it's affect in seeing the progression of changes made.


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Scott ­ Spellman
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Jan 10, 2016 13:59 |  #7

fotopaul wrote in post #17852169 (external link)
It is rather simply, but not because it's window light, nothing magical or special about it.

As been stated use diffusion and flags to get the light you want. First off put your camera on a tripod, this way you can replicate and consistently see the difference when you modify the light (by using diffusion and flags)

I used to use a tripod for food shoots consistently, but now its rare. It is good to see the impact of small changes in lighting and composition from a fixed position. However it becomes very limiting to compositions where its easy to position the tripod, and there is a vast amount of good shots you will miss stuck to a fixed mount. Now I only use tripods for hero or commercial type shots will multiple strobes and gels. For ambient food photos with good windows, I find the complete freedom of position is much better and allows shots like number 2 that are very hard with a tripod.




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OhLook
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Jan 10, 2016 20:09 |  #8

It isn't clear that anyone wants to hear from nonprofessionals in this thread, but here goes. This may encourage people who want things really simple. I seldom bother with a tripod. Too much fussing with equipment makes a project not fun anymore, and I shoot for my own amusement. Besides, you probably won't have a tripod when you're having lunch next to a restaurant window . . .

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. . . or you're at a street fair.


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fotopaul
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Jan 10, 2016 20:47 |  #9
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Scott Spellman wrote in post #17852702 (external link)
I used to use a tripod for food shoots consistently, but now its rare. It is good to see the impact of small changes in lighting and composition from a fixed position. However it becomes very limiting to compositions where its easy to position the tripod, and there is a vast amount of good shots you will miss stuck to a fixed mount. Now I only use tripods for hero or commercial type shots will multiple strobes and gels. For ambient food photos with good windows, I find the complete freedom of position is much better and allows shots like number 2 that are very hard with a tripod.

Food photography for most professional (at least for me and the ones i know but also for the ones work i admire) is about the details, the lighting and the process. For that a tripod is a crucial tool.

The use of a tripod is not at all limiting, claiming one will loose good shots seems a bit far fetched. Overhead shots is not hard, if you have the right equipment. And there is nothing that doesn't say you can't shoot handheld shots as well once your set is final.

I always shoot with two cameras tethered, for several reasons. Different focal lengths, a quick handheld shot if needed (which is very rare) and for backup of course.

The use of tripod for flash and not ambient light seems reversed.. if anything you would go handheld with flash due to the consistency i lighting (fixed shutter speed, and use tripod for natural light to be able to still maintain good IQ.


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fotopaul
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Jan 10, 2016 20:53 |  #10
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OhLook wrote in post #17853194 (external link)
It isn't clear that anyone wants to hear from nonprofessionals in this thread, but here goes. This may encourage people who want things really simple. I seldom bother with a tripod. Too much fussing with equipment makes a project not fun anymore, and I shoot for my own amusement. Besides, you probably won't have a tripod when you're having lunch next to a restaurant window . . .
thumbnailHosted photo: posted by OhLook in
./showthread.php?p=178​53194&i=i58005242
forum: Food Photography Talk
. . . or you're at a street fair.

I think we talk about different things, i was referring to food photography as a craft and genre, i was not referring to photographing your own food on a plate or on a street fair. While the shots includes food, they are a totally different matter.

If you want to learn something you have to study it, and in your case it seems to be lighting and to do that you will need to see the light and how it changes and affects you subject. It's impossible to evaluate a scene composition and lighting wise without a tripod.


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OhLook
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Jan 11, 2016 12:25 |  #11

fotopaul wrote in post #17853238 (external link)
I think we talk about different things, i was referring to food photography as a craft and genre, i was not referring to photographing your own food on a plate or on a street fair. While the shots includes food, they are a totally different matter.

I don't understand this distinction. It's all food, whether you set it up yourself or only decided how to turn the plate or where to stand. POTN's food photography section includes both kinds of shots.

If you want to learn something you have to study it, and in your case it seems to be lighting and to do that you will need to see the light and how it changes and affects you subject. It's impossible to evaluate a scene composition and lighting wise without a tripod.

I am studying, thanks. Composition and lighting are visible by just looking at the scene and then at the screen and at test shots, so again we must be talking about different things. I often place food on a counter (no studio) where it's easier to move in by hand and try different heights and angles than with a tripod.


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fotopaul
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by fotopaul. 2 edits done in total.
Jan 11, 2016 12:58 |  #12
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OhLook wrote in post #17853902 (external link)
I don't understand this distinction. It's all food, whether you set it up yourself or only decided how to turn the plate or where to stand. POTN's food photography section includes both kinds of shots.

If i take a snap of my food while I'm at a restaurant it's the same as when i come to the restaurant in a professional capacity hired to create images for an ad just because it's "all food" ? Of course not, it's snapshots vs creating images for a client.

So to clarify i was talking about the craft of food photography as in creating images, not simply bring out a point and shoot while eating.

OhLook wrote in post #17853902 (external link)
I am studying, thanks. Composition and lighting are visible by just looking at the scene and then at the screen and at test shots, so again we must be talking about different things. I often place food on a counter (no studio) where it's easier to move in by hand and try different heights and angles than with a tripod.

My response was to your post, where you stated you have difficulties getting the results you want with natural light. If you can evaluate the lighting/composition and do minute changes while handholding taking test shots and then get back to the exact same spot, sure keep at it!


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Scott ­ Spellman
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Jan 11, 2016 13:47 |  #13

fotopaul wrote in post #17853238 (external link)
I think we talk about different things, i was referring to food photography as a craft and genre, i was not referring to photographing your own food on a plate or on a street fair. While the shots includes food, they are a totally different matter.

If you want to learn something you have to study it, and in your case it seems to be lighting and to do that you will need to see the light and how it changes and affects you subject. It's impossible to evaluate a scene composition and lighting wise without a tripod.

There is simply is no one correct way to do food photography anymore than there is no one correct way to cook. You may have a solid method that works for yourself and your clients, but it will not always work for everyone in every situation. It's certainly not necessary to always use a tripod, since I shoot professionally every week without one.




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fotopaul
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Jan 11, 2016 15:37 |  #14
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Scott Spellman wrote in post #17854052 (external link)
There is simply is no one correct way to do food photography anymore than there is no one correct way to cook. You may have a solid method that works for yourself and your clients, but it will not always work for everyone in every situation. It's certainly not necessary to always use a tripod, since I shoot professionally every week without one.

I agree, you don't always need a tripod. The notion that you will miss shot due to using one i disagree with though and the idea that one can get the same level of detail and precision without one when creating a shot composition and lighting wise i also disagree with.


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Alveric
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Jan 11, 2016 16:04 |  #15

fotopaul wrote in post #17854175 (external link)
I agree, you don't always need a tripod. The notion that you will miss shot due to using one i disagree with though and the idea that one can get the same level of detail and precision without one when creating a shot composition and lighting wise i also disagree with.

My same thoughts. One has to be disciplined in one's approach: have a plan, and carefully prepare, style and execute your shot. Sure, it's possible to obtain good images through haphazard shooting and serendipity, but we should leave those for after we've created the well-designed images.


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