Feeling rushed during photoshoots trying to make the most of daylight hours? Finding yourself preoccupied about where the sun is in the sky? Stressed out when you see the weather report for the day? Worried that the pie won’t be done baking before the sun sets?
Or maybe you’re like a lot of food photographers, struggling with inconsistent color. When you sit down to edit photos after a photoshoot is the white balance totally different from the first shot to the last?
With artificial lighting, you can shoot any time, anywhere, getting professional, natural-looking, consistent results.
From “light and airy” to “dark and moody” and everything in between, save yourself time in editing and avoid anxiety during photoshoots.
WHAT DO I NEED?
Artificial lighting for food photography doesn’t require a studio full of clunky gear. To make it easy, I have created some artificial lighting gear bundles down below of all the exact gear you’d need to get started. These show you a complete set of gear based on the kind of camera you’re shooting, your budget and the work you’re doing.
Most of the bundles list a speedlight, since that is generally going to get you great quality for a low price and they’re easily portable. However, if you’re planning larger scenes or longer shoots, you might want to consider a monolight strobe instead. I have options in both categories below.
Before buying, double check that your trigger (the remote for your artificial lights) is compatible with your camera. The triggers are made specifically to work with particular brands. Keep in mind too, some entry level DSLR cameras or older cameras have limitations. Ensuring your camera’s compatibility before buying will save you a headache.
The mounting bracket that I list in each of the packages is my current favorite because it will be compatible with a wide variety of speedlights and modifiers (the thing that modifies how the light looks).
When it comes to modifiers, in each of the packages I recommend starting with a simple, affordable, softbox for flattering, natural-looking lighting. But, if you are looking for a very particular style of lighting, check out the “Other Modifiers” and styles section at the bottom.
Note to members of Artificial Academy. Feel free to reach out in the course community and we’ll be happy to help answer questions and confirm the best purchase based on your unique needs.
Artificial lighting for food photography isn’t all about flash! Yes, I’m a flash fanatic, but I also own continuous lights which provide consistent lighting. I use continuous lights primarily for shooting video, like in this example below. You can also shoot stills with continuous lights, however, you’ll want to make sure you’re working in an environment where you have total control over other lighting sources, like overhead lights. Unlike flash, which can cancel out other lighting, continuous lighting cannot.
When I shoot with my continuous lights, I have all of the overhead room lights off and have blackout curtains drawn over the windows. Otherwise, other sources of light can have a negative impact on the final images. For example if an overhead room light is a different color temperature compared to my photography lighting, it can interfere with the colors being captured. Or if light is entering the scene from too many directions, it can cause a feeling of flatness in the images.
If you’re looking for a continuous light, I’d recommend going with an LED. There are affordable options in the LED category, quality ones will render colors accurately and they run cool so you don’t run the risk of your food melting due to heat from your lights.
One important spec to pay attention to in terms of continuous lights is the CRI, the Color Rendering Index. Make sure to select a light with a CRI rating of 92 or higher in order to ensure accurately portrayed color in your images.
The LEDs I recommend below have a Bowens mount so that the same softboxes that I use with my flashes can be used with my LEDs. I love versatility! Most of them come with a built in bracket that can attach to a standard light stand.
Curious about our other food photography courses? Check them out here!
Want to learn more about other gear I use in studio? Here’s my gear guide for all things food photography and videography!
Want to see more awesome examples of artificial lighting for food photography? Check out The Bite Shot on Youtube!
Please see more list about Best led light for food photography