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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 23 Jul 2008 (Wednesday) 11:27
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Lighting for food photography

 
thenaturephotographer
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Jul 23, 2008 11:27 |  #1

Hi everyone, I just got asked to do the photos for a cookbook, but I have NO idea of how to do the lighting/what lights to use/positioning the lighting or anything. Any help is greatly appreciated!


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tim
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Jul 23, 2008 18:55 |  #2

How'd you get the job if you have no idea to do it? Cheap bid?

A light tent will work wonders, a couple of lights pointed at the outside. Or strobes with soft boxes. You want some highlights.

Food photography is a specialist area, i'd google for advice, there's plenty out there.


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thrash_273
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Jul 23, 2008 19:00 |  #3

window light will work and its free.=D 45 deg.angle w/ reflector on opposite side. just play w/ the blinds.


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DC ­ Fan
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Jul 23, 2008 19:07 |  #4

There are a couple of web sites (external link) that offer general guides to food photography. (external link) However, getting good images of food has been as much a trick of "styling" the food to look good as getting the lighting, exposure and saturation right.




  
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bsaber
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Jul 24, 2008 01:55 |  #5

I had a similar assignment awhile back and got some good advice. The shots came out alright. Here's the thread: https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=488176




  
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LBaldwin
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Jul 24, 2008 02:34 |  #6

I shoot lots of food and one very good book of recent work is by Lou Manna. He gives excellent Bg on several aspects of photo in general and specifc to shooting food
http://www.amazon.com …oks&qid=1216884​759&sr=8-1 (external link)

But I gotta say if you have never done food for publication before, make sure that you hire a real good stylist.


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Gentleman ­ Villain
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Jul 24, 2008 04:54 as a reply to  @ LBaldwin's post |  #7
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I used to assist for a top food photographer. He probably lit 80% of the shots using a softbox as the mainlight and placed it behind the subject and pointed towards the camera. Then he placed a flag to make certain that the light didn't flare the camera and added a polarizer to the lens to dial out the reflections.

The mainlight from behind gives a nice even smooth light to the edges of the food and also provides a solid directional quality. It throws the shadows forward and gives some depth. Then he would add white foamcore cards to fill the shadows. Depending on the shot, he would use grids and mirrors to add more detail from the sides.

Try not to light food like you're taking a portrait. The same lighting concepts that apply to people don't necessarily make for the best food shots. Also, don't be too dramatic. Food usually doesn't look appealing when there are deep shadows. There are always exceptions but these are good general rules to follow.

Window light is great as long as the shadows are nicely filled.

Just a few thoughts.




  
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MagicallyDelicious
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Jul 24, 2008 04:56 |  #8

Window light is great for this sort of thing.


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RTMiller
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Jul 24, 2008 06:51 |  #9

thrash_273 wrote in post #5971315 (external link)
45 deg.angle w/ reflector on opposite side.

That is how I did these.

IMAGE: http://rtmiller.smugmug.com/photos/281750103_VMVtK-M.jpg

IMAGE: http://rtmiller.smugmug.com/photos/281749849_EtQVF-M.jpg

IMAGE: http://rtmiller.smugmug.com/photos/281738616_c5r58-M.jpg


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Collin85
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Jul 24, 2008 06:57 |  #10

Window light and 580EX roof bounce works well for me. Last time I used a second Speedlite, but that wasn't too necessary.

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René ­ Damkot
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Jul 24, 2008 08:09 |  #11

I'm with Gentleman Villain: Generally speaking, food should be backlit, and not too contrasty.
I agree on the getting a good food stylist if you've never done this before.


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thenaturephotographer
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Jul 24, 2008 11:19 |  #12

thanks everyone for your great comments!!! I got the job because my friend is making the cookbook and she's like supported me in my developing photography and thinks i have the skill to do it. I think she's going to be very understanding, hopefully! lol. Not to get to off subject, but what lenses and such do you guys think are best? Thanks. PS. Those pictures are awesome!


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RTMiller
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Jul 24, 2008 11:33 |  #13

thenaturephotographer wrote in post #5975622 (external link)
what lenses and such do you guys think are best?

I used the 85L 1.2

Any good prime lens should do the job (85mm, 50mm, maybe even a 35mm). If all you have is a zoom, that would work too.



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Collin85
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Jul 24, 2008 11:52 |  #14

thenaturephotographer wrote in post #5975622 (external link)
thanks everyone for your great comments!!! I got the job because my friend is making the cookbook and she's like supported me in my developing photography and thinks i have the skill to do it. I think she's going to be very understanding, hopefully! lol. Not to get to off subject, but what lenses and such do you guys think are best? Thanks. PS. Those pictures are awesome!

From my experiences, a wide array of lenses work well. Output-quality-wise, it's the lighting and post-process which often makes the most difference. In the past, I've used the 28/1.8, 35L, 17-55 f/2.8 IS, 17-40L, 24-70L, 50/1.8 and 85/1.8. You're rarely shooting wide-open so most mid-high range zoom/primes are all sharp and contrasty when stopped down a bit.


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thrash_273
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Jul 24, 2008 12:46 |  #15

RTMiller wrote in post #5974235 (external link)
That is how I did these.

QUOTED IMAGE

QUOTED IMAGE

QUOTED IMAGE

sure looks good and yummy.


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Lighting for food photography
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