If you saw my other post about food photography lighting, you’ll remember that it covered shooting with an overhead set. This post is about shooting on a tabletop with the same artificial light.
Shooting food with natural light can be quite difficult at times because the sun is always moving on us AND changing it’s color temperature. Not to mention, the whole getting dark at 4:00 pm issue in the winter and farther north, even sooner than that!!! That pesky sun!
Soooo, if you are serious about your food photography, you have to learn to take control on the lighting when you need to.
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We are going to talk about the same lighting equipment as we did in the last post. The wonderful softbox.
As a reminder, the light shown here uses a Tungsten light bulb. This softbox is about $100 for the light, $5 for the light bulb, then about $30 for a light stand.
Yes, there are cheaper lights out there, as I am currently testing one of those right now. And yes, you do get what you pay for – more about that later in my next post, so stay tuned for that (and sign up for the blog if you haven’t already).
There’s a safety issue with lighting, I take that very seriously. So, with this light box that I use all the time, I can very safely recommend it, and it’s a great light that will last a long time made by Westcott.
Also keep in mind that tungsten lights burn very hot and many countries no longer allow them so you’ll have to switch out those bulbs for what is allowed in your area.
For more information on artificial lights, click here.
The Set Up
Here’s my little set. I’m using a normal table with some fabric on it. Those two clear glasses in the background are VERY out of focus in the shot and I put them there just to add some interest and texture in the background.
I’m shooting this with my Canon 5D Mark III with the 100mm macro lens.
My setting are:
- F/ 5.6 (for those with a 50mm lens you will need to use an F/stop much wider than this, like 2.8 or even 1.4 (if your lens has that) to get the same selected focus look
- Shutter ¼ of a second (hence tripod)
- ISO at 100 (I always shoot at ISO 100 when on my tripod)
Notice here that my light is NOT on, or real close to my set. It is back to the left, and the middle of the light head is about 5 feet tall.
The light is not right next to my set either. I am behind my food plate a bit and turning the light head at an angle. This is giving the food some nice back light.
Then of course, I have a huge fill card on the right side kicking in lots of fill light into the shadows.
The black card (with the hole in it) is white on the front side. The card is angled in order to get as much light in there as I can.
That hole that you can see in the card is used to put my lens through when I’m using a fill card right in front of my set. I’ll do that for product shots that are very reflective.
Here is an overview of my set. This really is one of the easier food photography lighting set ups that you can do.
There you have it! Super easy side light. Winter will be upon us soon so this will be very handy for you to know, and take control of your lighting!
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