Over the last year and a half since I started blogging over at thesweetexplorer.com I have learnt a lot about food photography and how to make it work in my living room or kitchen while stumbling over toys and fighting off the kids from taking a sample before I’ve managed to capture it.
Over the next few months I want to share some of what I’ve learnt with you. In this first post I want to show you my food photography set up and give you an idea of what you will need to set up a space for shooting food. The three areas you will need to focus on are:
Find your space – it can be anywhere but ideally it will have a natural light source (window) from one or two sides. I move between my kitchen, living room and spare room depending on the time of day and whether I am planning to come back and shoot a bit later or not. The photo shown here is a pretty realistic look at what it looks like when I am shooting.
Create your environment – this part of the process is what will make your photos stand out from “I just snapped this on my kitchen bench” to a professional looking image that enhances the food. You can see in the photo I have a range of surfaces to use depending on what type of photo I want to take. Add to this some boards mentioned below and you can create a “mini room” where you can photography your food. Most of these things I have here are scavenged from family or picked up for a few dollars at an op shop. My favourites include a marble slab, tiles and some whitewashed wooden picket fence posts.
Get some tools for adjusting the light – an important part of making the photo you want is controlling the light. For this you will need at least one black and one white sheet of cardboard to block and reflect the light. You may want more as these can also be used as “walls” behind your surfaces. I have some coloured sheets of paper I can stick on to the board when I want a different colour. Below you can see how I have used the boards in different ways to take a similar shot.
Creating a space like this will give you a good basis for making your photos. If you add to this a few more basics that I will talk about in the coming months you can easily shoot professional looking photos with very little effort.
Food Photography Lighting
Food Photography Setting the Mood
Food Photography Technical Tips