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).
Beautiful post Lubna. Loving this series!
Very informative post by tika, that's so sweet of you lubna to make the bloggers share their knowledge with the rest of the world.
Only Fish Recipes says
this is an amazing post dear with lot of information….I'm totally a newbie in food photography….these are some amazing clicks u hav taken…i'm thinking of getting a new camera…plz suggest a good one !
Awesome post, and really helpful tips! I'm still such an amateur when it comes to food photography. Will surely challenge myself with your tips !
Rose from Magpies Recipes says
What a great post! Thanks Tika. I love the moody low light shots too and think that they definitely add drama. Love this series!
really nice tutorial, I always wanted to try taking food with low lighting and this is a very helpful.
Home Cooked Oriya Food says
awesome post again! thanks for sharing…
That was an eye-opening post!!!! I never knew about the magic of low light till i read this and saw Tika's photos!
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says
Great food photography tutorials from awesome bloggers. Thanks for the posts and guidance's 🙂
Very very useful… behind the scene pictures are very useful to get an idea of the set up, esp for Amateurs like me 🙂
Nice post. got some tips 🙂
Deeps @ Naughty Curry says
that was a very informative & interesting read, loced it!
Very informative post thanks,..:)
Shoba Shrinivasan says
I have a very basic question here…What i find hard to a achieve is the DRAMA…i love the drama created by light and shadows…yiu mention that its best to BLOCK out unwanted light…how DOES one do that?
tika hapsari nilmada says
Thanks so much everyone.
I hope it can give you a clue of my behind the scene in low light photography. Glad you all enjoyed the post !
Thanks so much for the chance, Lubna.
shirin goel says
Wow….no words to say…
Thanks Tika for such an informative n beautiful post, n once again Thanks to Lubna for coming up with these brilliant guests posts
Franco Luis says
Oye!! nice decoration you did!!! very good and aristocrat looking and I am going to share it in ビーグレン this site as a site map. Those photos are really pretty. thanks for such a post. I hope you will post more valuable articles. thanks again.
nice cliks…..n veri info post too.thanx 4 this post
tika hapsari nilmada says
@Shoba : Thanks for the question. 🙂 In low-key lighting photography, we often use only one key light. I block-off the unwanted light because I want to create dark background (or sometimes foreground), so the light will only highlight the food. I can control the light by adjusting the placement of black cardboard.
Please free to ask if you have more question to my mail. I'll be glad to help you.
Very nice post.
I always like to see a photo of how a food photo was set up & shot…
I didn't know about Tika & her blog, hadn't come across until this post.
Thanks for introducing other wonderful bloggers on this platform, Lubna! 🙂
Maria Jomila Flores says
I should consider food photography too! Your post is very informative, it will really hep me a lot!!
WoW! What a wonderful post. I enjoyed reading your blog.
Great! Looks very luscious.
Chelsea Richards says
Oh I just love the softness and lighting methods that you had on these photos it just like seeing through with my own eye on site… Two thumbs up!
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