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Thread: Food Photography tips please

  1. #1
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    Food Photography tips please

    Hi All,

    I need some tips from you guys because I rarely shoot food.

    With IQ 180 it is safe to shoot tilt down and correct the perspective with auto in C1?

    My understanding is that food usually need backlight specular light + some mirror for fill. Am I correct? I probably use broncolor optical snoot.

    I know some people shoot with window lighting but I find it to soft to my liking.

    Can someone direct me to some nice reference (top food photographer) and some technique to use?

    Thanks,
    Dan
    Dan Santoso photography

  2. #2
    Member wryphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Santoso View Post
    Hi All,

    I need some tips from you guys because I rarely shoot food.

    With IQ 180 it is safe to shoot tilt down and correct the perspective with auto in C1?

    My understanding is that food usually need backlight specular light + some mirror for fill. Am I correct? I probably use broncolor optical snoot.

    I know some people shoot with window lighting but I find it to soft to my liking.

    Can someone direct me to some nice reference (top food photographer) and some technique to use?

    Thanks,
    Dan
    Dan Santoso photography
    Hi Dan,
    I would recommend checking out Kirk Tuck's blog, The Visual Science Lab / Kirk Tuck
    I really like the style of food shots he's done, he also shows his setup whenever he does food posts. I believe he also has a book thats also covers food lighting.

    personally i just use window lighting and a hot light with diffuser opposite the window, but I'm not pro food photographer. I just like to photo my fiances and I's food for our blog, that we havnt started yet.

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    Senior Member Bildifokus's Avatar
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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    I like backlight, but also natural light and reflector. Also think about the color in the food and try to implement it in the composition. A good food photographer is David Loftus.

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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    When using strobe lighting, if you are not careful, the food might look not delicious.
    A good food lighting makes the food to look delicious, showing right mood of the setting.
    It shows well the moisture on food, colors, and textures of food. The textures and colors of food( raw or cooked) can be very amazing.
    Showing moisture on food well is important. Otherwise, the food would look dry and old. This happens when the light source is too small and placed at a wrong angle.
    Window light can be very good light if...you can control the sun, clouds, time.. when using strobe light, it becomes more difficult. Obviously, you are controlling a kind of sun, clouds, time..
    Think over the relative size of light source(diffusion size, the position in relations of strobe, diffusion, subject) for the food(sometimes bigger is good as long as you maintain the directional quality of light and interesting tone variation in an image.. not always of course..), directional quality of the light(you need some directional quality to show the textures well. Avoid too thick diffusion material..). ALso test for the right angles in relationship for camera, subject, and the lighting.
    At a some angle, you can feel that it is the best for the specific food subject. For some cases, you need some flare effect? on food( a certain back lit angle to make the food reflect light...delicious..). Sorry for the vague answers. But unless you go deeper with lighting and testing various angles, light quality, you can't make it interesting. Think about this situation when in a very early morning on the street, when you are walking, and the sun is rising in front of you at a certain angle, you can see the asphalt surface of street is flaring, melting with light in a mysterious and beautiful way...Also did you see the light green leaves of a tree, are melting with sun light?... where the leaves becomes light. There are no boundaries between them.. This is one of most beautiful visual sighting you can experience. You need to understand this light quality(light-size, directional-softness quality, angles..) and need to create this with strobe light to lit the food well.
    Last edited by studio347; 25th August 2013 at 10:53.

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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    Thanks for the link. I check his work I dont really like the soft lighting, maybe it is just not me

    Anyone else can recommend reference? Thanks


    Quote Originally Posted by Bildifokus View Post
    I like backlight, but also natural light and reflector. Also think about the color in the food and try to implement it in the composition. A good food photographer is David Loftus.

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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    Thanks very good explanation although very broad

    Quote Originally Posted by studio347 View Post
    When using strobe lighting, if you are not careful, the food might look not delicious.
    A good food lighting makes the food to look delicious, showing right mood of the setting.
    It shows well the moisture on food, colors, and textures of food. The textures and colors of food( raw or cooked) can be very amazing.
    Showing moisture on food well is important. Otherwise, the food would look dry and old. This happens when the light source is too small and placed at a wrong angle.
    Window light can be very good light if...you can control the sun, clouds, time.. when using strobe light, it becomes more difficult. Obviously, you are controlling a kind of sun, clouds, time..
    Think over the relative size of light source(diffusion size, the position in relations of strobe, diffusion, subject) for the food(sometimes bigger is good as long as you maintain the directional quality of light and interesting tone variation in an image.. not always of course..), directional quality of the light(you need some directional quality to show the textures well. Avoid too thick diffusion material..). ALso test for the right angles in relationship for camera, subject, and the lighting.
    At a some angle, you can feel that it is the best for the specific food subject. For some cases, you need some flare effect? on food( a certain back lit angle to make the food reflect light...delicious..). Sorry for the vague answers. But unless you go deeper with lighting and testing various angles, light quality, you can't make it interesting. Think about this situation when in a very early morning on the street, when you are walking, and the sun is rising in front of you at a certain angle, you can see the asphalt surface of street is flaring, melting with light in a mysterious and beautiful way...Also did you see the light green leaves of a tree, are melting with sun light?... where the leaves becomes light. There are no boundaries between them.. This is one of most beautiful visual sighting you can experience. You need to understand this light quality(light-size, directional-softness quality, angles..) and need to create this with strobe light to lit the food well.

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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    Sorry for too vague...
    Here is my friend's website_
    Sang An

    Or, my website_
    Kang Kim

    My friend's lighting might be better for you to start as a lighting reference...

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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    The absolute key to food photography is food styling and art direction. You really need someone that knows how to prepare food that photographs well. It does not have to taste well or even be edible. It needs to look good and also needs to last a bit so you can work with it. The food stylist also helps enhance the food once it is plated so it looks fresh and appetizing. The art direction is also paramount. The plates, settings, accessories, surfaces etc all make the image.
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    Thank you very nice references

    Quote Originally Posted by studio347 View Post
    Sorry for too vague...
    Here is my friend's website_
    Sang An

    Or, my website_
    Kang Kim

    My friend's lighting might be better for you to start as a lighting reference...

  10. #10
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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    If you know other amazing food photographer please share. Thanks

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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    If you want more masculine and traditional style...
    Check out_mitch feinberg below.. At this level, you can make a lot of money too But for that, your whole mind have to be into it in addition to the mastery of lighting.

    Mitch Feinberg - Photographers - Mitchell Feinberg - Food 1

    But to understand this kind of hard core food photography, you need to understand Irving Penn's food images which were published mainly 70s and 80s in Vogue magazine. His images have been a big influence...He doesn't have website since he passed away a few years ago. I mean when he was still active in NYC, he doesn't have a website You can check out google image_"Irving Penn Food". (imagine that the real printed images either magazine or books, are much better...quality in color and sharpness compared with what you see through google image. His images were shot 8 by 10 inch Chromes and printed beautifully. )His style is only a certain style of food images, but still a very important one... If you can understand his sculptural(formal) and emotional quality, it might be helpful to any kind of food images. Also_http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc7HsdLmNsY

    For more feminine and environmental_
    http://www.judycasey.com/photographe...a-robledo/food
    http://art-dept.com/photography/anit...ro/food-floral
    Last edited by studio347; 25th August 2013 at 20:09.

  13. #13
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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    Thank will check them.

  14. #14
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    Re: Food Photography tips please

    I've shot food professionally and exclusively for 20+ years and while styles have changed in that time, the one constant theme in my lighting is 'back light with a fill card'. Depending on the specifics of the food product though, I use a variety of lighting tools to achieve my goal; bank lights, fresnels, gridded reflectors, mirrors, white cards, silver cards, gold cards, etc. as it all depends on the specifics of the product and what the final image will be used for. I shoot with a view camera btw to control focus and perspective/distortion.

    I do very little 'editorial' work, but prefer natural light for that as it's simply easier to make a pleasing image and in that world I typically don't have an art director's input making very specific demands....but I agree with you that it's typically too 'soft' for my personal tastes.

    It's difficult to give specifics, as so much depends on the food itself. I agree with the recommendations about a food stylist, btw.

    The best lighting in the world won't make an unattractive plate of food look appetizing and at the very same time, poor lighting will make a great plate of food look unappealing. imo.

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