Food photography as Amitai says, is definitely not an easy field. There is so much demand and money in it that the pros perfected it to the maximum. When I tried it before, the results were disastrous and I thought I will never be able to come close to a picture that could be accepted here. All changed when I bought two of these:
It is not rocket science. I am not saying I know what I am doing but the outcome is pleasant to the eyes. My wife who does not care too much about my photo hobby (understatement), asked if I could print out the one with the tomatoes. Now it hangs in the kitchen in a nice 8x10 frame. A friend of her ordered two of them for herself and her daughter. (for free..., but I don't mind).
So how did I come up with the positioning of the lights? There is a simple one called Rembrandt lighting. All you need to do is place the source at 45 deg from the side and from above. Who am I to argue with the old master? Seems to work fine. But it's easy to experiment and try new things. Just move the softbox a bit see what happens.
More things: The image is not going to be sharp without using a tripod. Sometimes manual focus can help.
Light is too hard or I'm wrong? (on the 2 green apples photos)
Did you try, befor buying soft-box, umbrella with flash?
Actually I have an umbrella with flash (studio flash). I tried to use it before not on still life but on people. Maybe it is because the flash is cheap but I did not like the lighting. Also it is much harder to expose correctly, no histogram so it's a guess and check game. Automation does not work. And the light I get is even harder. I am using the studio flash only when the soft boxes are too weak.
Speaking about soft boxes. Inside each of them I have a 500W equivalent light. Of course no 500W bulb inside but there are 5x25W fluorescent bulbs in each. They advertise this as 500W equivalent. That is a lot of light. Before the fluorescent light became available I think the soft boxes could provide only a limited amount of light with traditional bulbs.
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