7 Simple Lighting Tips To Get Stunning Food Photos

As visual creatures, we love to immortalize objects, moments and things we love through photography. It’s one of the most exceptionally outstanding ways through which we express ourselves. It therefore comes as no surprise that we would want to immortalize food through photography.

Images of the various types of dishes can conjure up healthy appetites, induce curiosity and thus encourages experimenting with new and unfamiliar foods as well as help restaurants sell their services more effectively. Whatever your reasons for photographing food, one thing is certain, you want the photographs to be of the highest possible quality. This means proper lighting, use of a high quality camera and at the very least a standard setting that will bring out the best image.

Here are 7 Simple lighting tips to get stunning food photos. Employing any or all of these tips will go a long way in ensuring that your immortalized food images are worthy of the time.


1. Flash

Do not use the regular pop up or ON camera flash. This tends to flatten the image and completely destroys the food photo. The flash positioning of the camera does not make it ideal for this kind of photography. 

2. Light sources

Using your flash as a light source is okay and so is using a natural or even incandescent light source. What you do not want to do however is mix more than one light source within the same photo. The difference in light source color temperatures produces different colors of the same object in different parts of your frame. Although there are more advanced ways through which you can combine two light sources and get a perfect photo, it is usually safer just to stick with the one. 

3. Avoid direct sunlight

Direct sunlight can be very harsh on food photography. The midday sun casts a lot of shadows that can take the attention away from the subject. It is better to shoot indoors or use a diffuser if you must shoot in the sun. 

4. White balancing

This is one of the four elements of proper photography. Light has a wide range of temperatures in various conditions. 2500K to 5500K is the usual range. Food photography looks best in 5200K. By mastering white balancing, you can manipulate this to your advantage.

5. Artificial lighting

Since we can’t entirely shoot in direct lighting, it is prudent that you learn some basic, at the very least, of artificial lighting. Artificial light created by the umbrella, softbox or strobe more often than not comes to the rescue when all else fails. 

6. Back lighting

Experiment with different forms and positions of lighting. Back lighting often creates a surreal and pure mood of the subject. Using this in food photography can result in some interesting pieces. 

7. Side lighting

If your aim is to bring out every aspect of the food being photographed, you might want to try side lighting as well. This brings out the texture of the subject. Try this with foods that have an interesting texture. 

As mentioned earlier, these are just 7 simple lighting tips to get stunning food photos without having to try too hard. You can employ a select few of these tips and you will be surprised at how much better your images look.

Brian Johnson is a photography blogger. He likes to share simple tricks to create stunning photos. He’s a also part of Inkjet Photo Paper team; a website that sells a wide range photo paper from different photo paper suppliers.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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