Food Product Lighting Guide

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Food is notoriously one of the hardest things to photograph.

If it’s done wrong, you can make a tasty dish look very unappealing.

When it’s done right, however, it can make even the worst-tasting meal look appetizing. So if you’re an aspiring photographer, it helps to learn how to take food photos.

Not only will it help you generate more likes on your Instagram brunch pictures, but you could actually turn it into a job by shooting pics for a restaurant or food company.

5 Tips for Lighting Photos

No matter how perfectly prepared, photos of your food will only shine under the right light. Here are five essential tips on how to illuminate your culinary masterpiece.

1. Darker Surfaces are Easier
Be mindful of what platform you’re using. Mid and Dark tones absorb light and are easier to manage. Using a reflective white surface can result in parts of your images not receiving enough light which in turn can lead to greying.

2. You Don’t Need To Spend a Fortune
For just a couple of bucks, a simple foam board can be used as a reflector to bounce light and fill shadows. And, don’t worry about that fancy defuser you don’t have. Pictures taken from direct sunlight can be filtered using a white bed sheet or somewhat sheer curtains.

3. Watch For Shine
Different surfaces bounce light differently. Catching a shine is easiest with artificial light especially when using backlight. Play with the angels of your dish or try a polarizing filter on your camera lens to cut back on it.

4. Turn Off All The Lights
That’s right, all of them. Household lights have color temperatures that can cast unwanted colors on your photo that can be a major pain to fix later.

5. A Powerful Light is a Game Changer
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to see why even small food bloggers invest in a light for their photos. Not only does it give you the ability to shoot at any time of the day, a powerful non-over-head light such as the NanGuang TPad23-2 (or this more budget-friendly option) but can also give you better and easier to manipulate results.

Like all great things, food photography takes patience and practice. Experiment with equipment, sources, and angels to discover exciting new outcomes of your own!

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