FMP Research – Food Photography Lighting Techniques

A fundamental part of taking a decent image is judging the amount of light, the direction from which it comes from, and the tone of light. I found this interesting resources which has strengthened my knowledge of lighting my subjects and sharpening my shots.

Bring Your Focal Point Forward

The focus point of any great food photography is nearly always the dish itself. Garnishes and extra props can “tell the story” of the food, but should never distract the audience from the main subject. Focusing near the front edge of the main subject will make the audiences eye feel more comfortable, which naturally draws the reader to the rest of the frame. Also, playing around with aperture can achieve very different results. A wide open appeture will soften the background and focus more on the subject.

“This helps you create good bokeh – the out-of-focus and intentionally blurred areas of an image that are pleasing to the eye. “A significant amount of blur to the background will make your focal point really pop,” explains Michelle Furbacher. It leaves a little to the imagination, and also puts the focus on your hero.”

Remembering the golden spiral that starts at a central focal point and carries the viewer’s eye wider and wider to take the whole frame. Also, shooting with a low ISO reduces noise and increases image quality.

Variety of Angles

I don’t want to limit my creativity in the next digital design stage, so it’s always better to have more material than needed. Shooting at different angles means you have the choice of what perspective you put on the subject. Generally, shooting from above means you can get more in the frame, like props or further garnish. It’s easy to fall into the trap of shooting from a lower angle, which can work for some shots, however it can make the image look flat and less aesthetically pleasing.

“Most food looks good shot at an angle because it’s usually prepared to be seen that way,” he says. “But dishes like salads, charcuterie, and pizza look great from above because they are flat. Tall dishes (sandwiches, ice cream, beverages) look best from the side because you want to see the height and layers.”

5. Mimic natural light

Not every day will be sunny – you know that, and your client knows that, but that can’t stop the shoot. Mimicking natural light is an art form in itself, and you’ll need a few extra lighting tools. Megan Young always brings her Profoto Actute B portable lighting kit with a large softbox, which acts as a big portable window when shooting on a cloudy day.

To help give her food photography a fresh and natural perspective, Megan sometimes shoots directly into the light. “Then the dish appears in front of a completely blow out background with lovely rim light,” she says, This technique works well with translucent foods like lettuce leaves and drinks. The result is a night highlight that outlines dishes and makes images more vibrant.harissa-4food-1-600x442 (1)


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