Experimenting with food photos

posted on 21st of october, 2009

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:

I bought them to try some portrait photos, which came out much better than anything I did before.

But the surprise came when I tried the softboxes on still life.

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.

Comments (14)

Posted by Joezachs on May 08, 2010
45 deg to the side and above eh ?
Good. I will keep that in mind.
Posted by Palinchak on October 26, 2009
OK. You use permanet light soft-box. Thanks for writing ;)
Posted by Gmargittai on October 25, 2009
Softbox does not need any trigger. There are 5 electrical bulbs inside that give constant light. The camera can work TTL, just as with natural light.
Posted by Palinchak on October 25, 2009
Your soft-box is working in TTL ??? What soft-box it is exactly?
If You whant to synhronise your flashes not only in manual regeme but also in TTL I sugest You to use PocketWisard triggers.
Posted by Gmargittai on October 24, 2009
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.

Maybe it's time to rethink studio lighting.(More)
Posted by Palinchak on October 24, 2009
Light is too hard or I'm wrong? (on the 2 green apples photos)
Did you try, befor buying soft-box, umbrella with flash?
Posted by Preckas on October 23, 2009
Nice. I have only 3-4 food photos in here. Hard subject indeed :)
Posted by Hlehnerer on October 21, 2009
Very nice work!
Posted by Littledesire on October 21, 2009
Great work!
Posted by Patl on October 21, 2009
Nice work. I was thinking of getting a couple of soft boxes myself. Now I'm convinced.
The best word a contributor can see is....
   Approved tiles   
Posted by Fultonsphoto on October 21, 2009
Good lighting can make all the difference. Nice tomatoes btw...
Posted by Keki on October 21, 2009
very useful tip thank you!! I'm doing a food shoot for a friend who has a restaurant soon will def. keep your points in mind. thanks !!
Posted by Aginger on October 21, 2009
Really good and useful, thank you!
Posted by smartview27 on October 21, 2009
Good article, Gavril! I will inlcude some photos in my collection food!



Comments (14)

This article has been read 1413 times. 3 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Gavril Margittai, James Phelps Jr.

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