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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 18 Sep 2017 (Monday) 09:20
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Food Photography Lighting Setup

 
elitejp
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Sep 18, 2017 09:20 |  #1

I would like to get into taking pictures of my food. I own a restaurant and want to get a lighting setup but have no idea where to start. I would love to give more information but thats basically all i know.


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dmward
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Sep 18, 2017 09:28 |  #2

elitejp wrote in post #18454830 (external link)
I would like to get into taking pictures of my food. I own a restaurant and want to get a lighting setup but have no idea where to start. I would love to give more information but thats basically all i know.

There is a sub forum here about food photography, probably a better place to ask the question.

"what to get..." is circumstantial. I've seen photographers doing food shoots with north light outside. I've done it with a studio full of tungsten lights. Others have done it with strobes.

As with most things, high quality results depend on attention to detail and having the tools necessary to do the job. those tools will change from shoot to shoot. The core tools will be the same, the "get it just right" tools will change.

At least that's been my experience.

Best place to start is to use the simplest approach, perfect it then add more challenge.

For food photography in a restaurant simplest approach, in my view, is window light and some reflector cards. (white to add, black to subtract) Then practice.


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elitejp
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Sep 18, 2017 09:36 |  #3

I can start with reflector cards, but i would like to move into using strobes. That way my product shot would be the same everytime rather than relying on weather conditions and not knowing what time during the day i can get around to actually taking the picture.


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PhotosGuy
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Sep 18, 2017 10:23 |  #4

http://www.huffingtonp​ost.com …raphy-tips_b_1537428.html (external link)

https://www.lightstalk​ing.com/how-to-photograph-food/ (external link)

Since you want strobe, I'd suggest a broad source near the camera at about 7 o-clock. This is to fill the shadows, but sometimes it could be the main light. (All "Food" is not the same!) ; )
Most food looks best with some highlights, so a hotter light back at about 2 o-clock would be a good starting point. Move it around to get the look that you want.

I shot this in about 5 minutes. And this Pork Loin Roast, too.
OTOH, we had a commercial food photographer in our studio that took a full day to set up one of his complex images. Somewhere in between will get what you need.


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F2Bthere
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Sep 18, 2017 22:10 |  #5

elitejp wrote in post #18454849 (external link)
I can start with reflector cards, but i would like to move into using strobes. That way my product shot would be the same everytime rather than relying on weather conditions and not knowing what time during the day i can get around to actually taking the picture.

Great advice already.

The easiest tool for mimicking a window is a softbox. You can also set up a scrims of translucent material (sometimes referred to as "silks"), which you can also make, and these can give a window like effect with more subtle control. A softbox is probably more expensive. Or you can go for a fresnel continuous light (LED is less hot but get one with good color rating) with scrims, which gives you lots of control and options.

Then add in reflectors, white and black. Foamcore cut to various sizes. Add clamps and stands or other means of holding the strobe with softbox or scrims and reflectors in place.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Post edited 9 months ago by Left Handed Brisket.
     
Sep 19, 2017 08:38 |  #6

since you are new to this, i might start with a large shoot through panel. With a speedlight on the opposite side you can either focus the light close to the panel to make it a smaller source, or un-zoom it and move the speedlight back to make it a large soft source. White foam core makes great reflector that is easily cut into different sizes to manage the amount and direction of reflections. You can even wrap it with your 18" aluminum foil for a higher power, more specular reflector.

a tripod is pretty much a requirement, imo.


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Sep 19, 2017 08:42 |  #7

just noticed you are in Chicago. POTN member FoodGuy is based in chicago and does amazing work. Seems like he was considering starting a series of lighting workshops for local restaurateurs/chefs.


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GESWhoPhoto
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Sep 19, 2017 19:40 |  #8

I wonder if restaurants I eat at will let me take pics of their food with setups like this!  :p


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elitejp
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Sep 19, 2017 20:38 |  #9

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18455672 (external link)
just noticed you are in Chicago. POTN member FoodGuy is based in chicago and does amazing work. Seems like he was considering starting a series of lighting workshops for local restaurateurs/chefs.

Sorry i just noticed that. Im actually on the other side of the world in china.
But this just goes to show why i like asking questions on here because people really are trying to help


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Sep 20, 2017 05:49 as a reply to  @ elitejp's post |  #10

I try to pay attention, but apparently only paid attention enough to see "Chicago" and not enough to realize it was just your time zone setting. lol.


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elitejp
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Sep 20, 2017 06:01 |  #11

This is what I shot today. Window lighting coming in at about 2 oclock, camera at 6 and bare flash at 4-5oclock. I dont have a diffuser but think this turned out ok. Still I think I would prefer for my lighting to be exact every single time. As it currently stands outdoor lighting fluctuates too much for me to put this much time into taking a photo. With that said has anyone have any thoughts about studio boxes ( a closed in box that has lighting on the inside and you just shoot through a small opening to get a pretty clean look)


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Sep 20, 2017 06:46 |  #12

elitejp wrote in post #18456391 (external link)
This is what I shot today. Window lighting coming in at about 2 oclock, camera at 6 and bare flash at 4-5oclock. I dont have a diffuser but think this turned out ok.

You cut off the chocolate, the white is blown, & why all that room at the top? All that black doesn't inspire me to order the cake.

Still I think I would prefer for my lighting to be exact every single time. As it currently stands outdoor lighting fluctuates too much for me to put this much time into taking a photo. With that said has anyone have any thoughts about studio boxes ( a closed in box that has lighting on the inside and you just shoot through a small opening to get a pretty clean look)
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forum: Flash and Studio Lighting

I prefer to put the light where I want it & have more room to work, but light boxes have their place. They're "quick & dirty" in that it's useful for someone who has 500 images to shoot for a catalog, or someone who doesn't understand light & wants a reasonable shot without too much work.
IMO, If you want to do it the right way, then every subject deserves the best lighting for it. This might be possible if your box is large enough to get some more varied lighting by moving the lights outside it around the walls of the box.

Another DIY light box, with build and test pics

New DIY Light Box Design

This link shows some example images. Click on them for a larger view. Light Box / Light Tent (external link)

** DIY Projects **


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elitejp
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Sep 20, 2017 06:53 |  #13

LOL PhotosGuy, Direct and to the point. I like that.
Im not afraid to say that I DO NOT understand lighting, hence the thread started here. Im looking at softboxes and other elements to get a better effect, but like I said im in the learning phase.


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Sep 20, 2017 07:24 |  #14

A "studio box" also known as a light tent is garbage for most needs.

Do not allow sunlight to fall directly on the food.

I'm better at sketching than typing. Any combination of positions below would work. Typically you would want the reflector opposite the window relative to the camera position but it is not a requirement.


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PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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Food Photography Lighting Setup
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