Hello and welcome to yet another post on food photography. In the food photography section we have learnt about light setup, backgrounds, food styling, props and much more. As I told you earlier it is an ocean and whatever is discussed and understood is just a drop in it. If you have noticed in every post, at the end of the post everyone has mentioned practice makes you perfect in clicking out good food pictures. Along with practice, you need to learn about your camera, angles and modes, which comes from lots of experiments and reading food photography books and magazines. Being a fan and leaner of food photography concepts…I came across so many blogs and met very talented people behind the blogs…In this course of journey I came across Tika….who is not only a talented food blogger but also a talented food photographer and food stylist. Tika has a separate blog where she posts behind the scenes food photography shots. She is such a sweet and generous person who took up to write this post in very less time. Thank you Tika for taking out time and doing such a fabulous post on food photography. Low-key Lighting Food Photography. I started to learn photography a little over 2 years ago and my journey in food photography still continue until now. So when Lubna asked me to do a food photography post on her blog, I was thrilled and also panic at the same time. Thrilled because I’m so glad I could share my food photography tips based on my experiences to anyone who has the same passion with me, and panic because I’m just not good enough to write a food photography article for someone else. But thinking of what Lubna has done by making these useful food photography tips from fellow food photographers into series had made me confident to do this. Now it’s my time and my turn to share what I’ve learned so far. Thanks for the chance you have given to me, Lubna ! I sincerely hope you’ll all enjoy it.
Low-key Lighting Food Photography
Photography and light are inseparable two things. It’s important to decide where the light should come and how it works, quality and quantity of light, the color and direction of it and of course how you control it. I often say to myself “photography is about playing with light, shadow, time and moment”. Light creates mood while shadow gives dimension to the photo.
In my food photography, I always prefer to use natural light. I can say, I’m too dependent on natural light, because it’s the best light I can get since I don’t have any artificial lighting equipment. I tried different places around the house to find the best lighting, I compared the quality of the light whenever I shoot until I comfortable with one spot and I got the perfect time. Porch is the only place where I can get the best natural light in my house. I can take pictures between 8 am – 10 am and 2pm – 4.30 pm.
Tip, Master your own place ! Try out and explore different places in (and outside) of your house at different times of the day. Try to photograph food using back lighting or side lighting only to see how the light affect the food.But what if the sun plays hide and seek behind the cloud ? What if the rain starts to pour down ? You will not get the light as you expected. I was in a situation where I pushed myself to keep taking pictures of my food in the middle of heavy rain and lack of natural light. I got so frustrated. I had to set my camera to high ISO to produce a high key food photography the way I wanted. But it all turned out bad.Tip, With high ISO number we need to adjust aperture and shutter speed to reduce the amount of light. In this case, we need a tripod to prevent blurred photos due to slow shutter speed.
After the “rain incident”, I tried so hard to learn how to deal with low light situation when photographing food. I needed to figure out a way to keep shooting even in a low light situation. It might sound impossible yet challenging. Then I searched some low light photography tips on the internet and it had led me to low-key lighting photography. As my reference, I learn from Aisha Yusaf’s photos.I love observing other food photographers’ works. Learn to read a photo thoughtfully, surely will teach you a lot. It takes you to see far beyond the eyes can see. The styling, light source, angle and composition.Tip, Keep your eyes open ! Try to read a photo. You’ll notice the light source position from the shadow. Because shadows fall on the side furthest from the light source. One shadow means one light source. Feel the mood and read the light. Somehow I believe that a photo speaks its own language.I’ll show you the difference of high-key and low-key food photography through two pictures below.
In high-key lighting photo, you will probably notice that the picture is bright and relatively shadowless.
While in low-key lighting photo has black as the dominant color and lots of dark areas in the picture.I create a low-key lighting situation intentionally to catch mysterious mood and to convey drama in my food photos. I use only available light as my light source. Please be creative with your light setup, you don’t need expensive lighting equipment for this. If I can do it, so can you. Below are tips of my low-key lighting food photography, you can give yourself a try.1.No flash, because flash will wash out the details and colors of the food.2.Use dark background (optional). I always use dark background to make the food stands out more.3.Use something to block off the unwanted light. I use black cardboard to block off the light. It will keep the background remains dark.4.Reflector (optional). If you think you need to lighten the dark areas on your shot, then go with it !5.Use tripod. I agree with a statement that tripod will restrict your movement. But in low light condition where we need long exposures and slow shutter speed, it will keep the camera from shaking.6.Use manual focus. Due to the poor light condition the camera might have a hard time focusing on your subject. So switching your camera to manual focus seemed like an option. Although manual focus makes us a little bit frustrating to achieve accurate focus but it much faster in focusing rather than auto focus.
Above pictures are my low-key photography setup. With side lighting (between 9 AM – 10 AM). I used black cardboard to block the light off and make darker background. No reflector on the side. No flash. EXIF data : ISO 400 – f/2.2 – 1/25 sec.
Here’s the final result ! If you fail on the first attempt, it doesn’t matter. Learn from your mistakes then go have another try.Have fun !
You can find Tika @Blog : http://cemplangcemplung.blogspot.in/
If you have missed any of the entry under this series, then you can check by clicking on Food Photography and Styling (Season 1).