If you are on a hunt for the best lights for food photography but don’t know what factors to consider, then don’t fret, we have got your back. This comprehensive guide will help you know a great deal about food photography lighting and the things to you need to consider to find the perfect one for yourself.
Plus, we will drop a few knowledge bombs in the form of food photography tips. So turn into a sponge because you will be absorbing loads of knowledge in this article:
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What do you need for food photography?
- Camera: This is an obvious one, but it is important to point out that you get the one that offers excellent results when it comes to food photography in particular. Also, no matter how good or average your camera is, if you lack in photography skills, the results might not be promising, so first enhance your skills and then get a good professional camera.
- Lenses: If you are using a full-frame camera, get a macro lens, but if it’s not full-frame, we suggest you get something having a lower focal length like 50 to 65mm because 100mm used in the macro lens may feel like superzoom.
- Backup battery: Another very important thing to consider because if you run out of battery while capturing food shots, it may take some time to recharge, and the food can lose its freshness or melt if it is frozen like ice cream.
- Tripod: Tripod will help you work in low light situations without that annoying lens shake. We suggest you get a tripod having a 90-degree center column for overhead shots.
- Lighting: The most important part of the process is food photography lighting. If you are shooting indoors, you MUST need professional lights for indoor photography, or else, your shoot won’t go as you or your clients wanted. We will help you in getting the best lights for food photography in this guide, so keep reading.
How do you make natural light for food photography?
If your studio or room where you shoot is not in the way of direct sunlight, you might struggle with keeping the light in your photography natural.Therefore, to help you get that right balance, we suggest you watch this video on natural light food photography tips.
This video will provide you insights into how you can achieve the light, similar to the natural one for awesome shots.
What to look for in the best lighting for food photography?
- Speed Light or Studio Lights: If you want to get the best lights for food photography, you need to ask yourself if they need to be portable or not. If you do on-site photography like going to the client’s place and shooting the food they make on the spot, then Speedlight is your go-to option because it can fit on top of your camera so you can easily move it. But if you do shoots in your own studio, you can get studio-style big bulky lights that sometimes offer better lighting conditions.
- Strobe Lighting or Continuous Lighting: If you are getting studio lights, then you need to decide if it is going to be continuous or strobe light photography. The strobe light photography involves a typical camera flash that offers a quick light burst. Whereas, the continuous lights are less powerful but more affordable, plus they are easier to work with.
- Light Strength and Wattage: If the light is very powerful like the one that many photographers pick with 600 watts/sec, it can create some harsh shadows. So if you don’t want the shadow of your food to be highly visible, we suggest you go for soft light.
Are ring lights good for food photography?
This actually depends on what your end goal is. Ring lights are not commonly used for food photography lighting because they create distinctive shadows that usually work with portraiture and fashion shoots. Since you will need lights for indoor photography of food, you might not really like distinct shadows of the food.
Plus, ring lights as the main source of light on the lens can cause the food to only be lit from the front. So you might find a single directional source of light better, and you can fill it with reflectors for better results. But if you want, you can give ring lights a try and let us know how it goes.
Recommended artificial lights for food photography:
- Lightbox for food photography: If you deal with small food items that can fit inside a box the size of cat or dog crate, you will find lightbox useful. It has a translucent surface that is illuminated from behind to show the food items in high contrast. Plus, the background will be white, which you can edit later if you want.
- Handheld light for food photography: The handheld lights for indoor photography of food are perfect if you travel a lot as they are portable. Plus, you can adjust the distance of the light to the subject while you shoot as it will be in your hand. Some lights even come with stands so you can mount them on for better control.
- Food photography studio kit: If you are on a budget and use your iPhone for shooting but want a complete solution for small food photography projects, you might find studio kits useful as they come with light box, tabletop LED lights w/stand, and a tripod for your iPhone.
- Best continuous light for food photography: If you have a studio with a professional setup and you want to get a continuous source of light which doesn’t go off once the camera clicks like the strobe light photography setup, then this one is for you. You can also power it up or down, depending upon the amount of light you want.
Food photography lighting setup:
Besides getting the best lights for food photography, you will also have to create a lighting setup using some modifiers and other equipment for professional results. Getting a soft box will help you have some better contrast, plus a reflector dish to beautify the contrast.
You will also need a diffuser to soften the light, and the reflector kit will help you play with light, and colors like silver reflector can brighten the food, while gold reflector can add some warmth.
How to take pictures of food professionally?
Here are some of the food photography tips to help you UP your shooting game:
- Make sure to capture your photos under natural light if you don’t have access to the best lights for food photography we have suggested above.
- Play with your food photography lighting, try different brightness levels, different angles, and distance to find a sweet spot.
- If the background clutter like spoons or napkins is not going well with the photo, get rid of it. These things can distract viewers.
- Invest in some of the best lights for food photography, depending on your budget and needs; you will reap the benefits for years.
Awesome food photography Lighting tricks:
- If you have a construction or other kind of light in your garage, you can use a daylight balanced light bulb (fluorescent) with it and a white backing paper at the back of the object to make the photo look great at night time.
- If you want some good backdrop for your food, use your laptop for this. Set its brightness to your liking, find a wallpaper that you want to use as background, place food in front of the screen and take the photo.
- If you want to bounce off the flash of your camera so it doesn’t directly reach your subject, you can attach an old business card in front of the flashlight and leave some distance between both so that light can bounce. You can also put a translucent magic tape on the flash to bounce its light.
- Try capturing photos from different angles, some food plates like pizza look better from above while burgers look best from sides.
Best lens for food photography:
Besides getting the best lights for food photography, you will also need to invest in some good lenses to rock your photos. So to help you find the cream of the crop, we have shortlisted some of the best ones below:
Bestseller No. 1
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
- 50 millimeter focal length and maximum aperture of...
- Great for portraits, action, and nighttime...
- Minimum focusing distance of 1.15 feet (0.35...
- Stepping motor (STM) delivers near silent,...
Bestseller No. 2
Canon RF50mm F1.8 STM for Canon Full...
- Compact, Lightweight Fixed 50 millimeter Focal...
- Large F, 1.8 Aperture for Low-Light Photography...
- A Stepping Motor (Gear-Type STM) Provides Smooth...
- Control Ring for Direct Setting Changes
Bestseller No. 4
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens...
- 100 millimeter focal length and 1:2.8 maximum...
- Lens construction consists of 15 elements in 12...
- 23.4-Degree diagonal angle of view
- Inner focusing system with USM and full-time...
SaleBestseller No. 5
58MM 0.43x Altura Photo Professional HD...
- LENS ATTACHMENT: Easily screws on to the front of...
- LENS COMPATIBILITIES: Popular 58MM Lens models...
- CAMERA MODELS: Canon EOS Rebel T7 T7i T6i T6 T6s...
- NOTE: PLEASE VERIFY YOUR CAMERA'S LENS THREAD SIZE...
Food photography backdrops:
The background of the food is as important as its own decoration because it makes the food pop. So to help you get the bang for your buck, we have listed some good ones below:
Now you know about the best lights for food photography and the things to keep in mind before getting food photography lighting, you will be able to make a better decision and get the highest value for your money. Plus, using some of our tips for lights for indoor photography, you can achieve some pretty good results too, so best of luck!