Artificial Lighting for Food Photography

The best lights for food photography are those that allow you to capture the true colors and textures of your ingredients, without the need for additional lighting. With the right light, your photos will be vibrant and healthy.
Best lights for food photography

When you’re seeking to transition your meals images lighting from pure to synthetic, this publish will assist you to make the change. It may possibly appear intimidating, overwhelming, and you might simply not know the place to begin. Belief me, I’ve been there! However by way of tons of analysis and experimentation, I’ve discovered a possible synthetic lighting arrange that carefully mimics pure mild. A lot in order that I now want synthetic lighting and it’s the one mild I take advantage of for my meals images!

artificial lighting for food photography pinterest graphic

Why make the change from pure to synthetic lighting?

That is one thing I toyed with for a really very long time. I had turn out to be so used to pure mild that I started making excuses as to why I ought to simply keep it up. It’s one thing I already know very effectively, so why change it?

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However the extra I realized about synthetic lighting, the extra I spotted that it was a greater match for me. Particularly as a result of I started to develop pissed off with pure mild and needed to discover different choices. So in case you’re nonetheless on the fence or want some convincing, right here’s just a few essential explanation why I now want synthetic lighting over pure mild.

  1. Consistency – With pure mild, I might have a lot variation within the temperature and brightness of my pictures. I might be taking pictures a plate of cookies and in a single shot it will be effectively balanced and one other it may present up very heat or means too shiny. The pure mild exterior displays off of buildings, grass, and vehicles which might replicate in in your scene. Now with synthetic lighting, my pictures come out rather more constant as a result of there’s no variability within the temperature or brightness of my mild supply.
  2. Modifying – Due to this consistency, modifying my pictures has turn out to be rather more pleasing. Earlier than, I must tediously return into my naturally lit pictures to steadiness the temperature and brightness. With synthetic lighting, I can now simply copy and paste my edits from one photograph to the subsequent with only a few further edits wanted.
  3. Timing – Synthetic lighting presents a lot flexibility so far as when and the place I wish to shoot. With pure mild, it was a race in opposition to the clock. I must begin and finish my shoots at very particular occasions as a way to seize the BEST lighting of the day. Now, I can arrange and shoot each time I need. I may even shoot course of photographs at some point and last photographs the subsequent, realizing that each shoots can be accomplished underneath the very same lighting.
  4. Manipulation – It’s so a lot simpler to regulate and manipulate my mild to my liking. I can bodily transfer round my mild supply and even modify the power of my mild. This provides me a lot extra flexibility not solely in my last shoots, but additionally with experimentation. It’s not till you possibly can absolutely management your mild that you simply start to know how mild works.

This checklist may go on and on, particularly due to how a lot I LOVE synthetic lighting now. However to be trustworthy, I heard all of those execs earlier than making the change and I used to be STILL hesitant to strive it out. Primarily as a result of I believed…these factors are coming from individuals who have work with synthetic lighting for years. It’s going to take me so lengthy to make it look pure. Spoiler alert – it solely took me 2 shoots earlier than I began to turn out to be comfy with my new synthetic lighting arrange. And the identical can occur for you!

pouring butterscotch sauce on top of a pumpkin bundt cake

The right way to make synthetic lighting look pure

Are you able to imagine the photograph above was taken with synthetic mild? It’s shiny, heat, and has a superb steadiness of highlights and shadows. Are you able to additionally imagine it was solely my third time utilizing my synthetic lighting arrange? With the proper gear, it actually does many of the give you the results you want. Right here’s what you have to perceive as a way to make synthetic mild look as pure as potential:

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Take into consideration pure mild first – What makes pure mild look…pure? It’s how massive the sunshine supply is, illuminating your complete arrange. It’s how heat the temperature is, because it’s hardly ever ever too orange or too blue. It’s the way it bounces off the highlights of your dish, whereas additionally cascading muddled shadows. It’s how smooth and glowy it may be, particularly when used with diffusers. That is all excellent for meals images, and may simply be mimicked by manmade lighting.

The right way to apply to synthetic lighting – First, pure mild usually offers an enormous mild supply. So, a big softbox is used to supply a large glow to your pictures (we’ll get into the technical phrases like “softbox” under). As for the temperature, synthetic lighting will get a nasty repute for giving off too blue of a lightweight, however not in case you search for the correct of sunshine. Many lights at the moment are made to look similar to pure daylight, and I’m sharing my favourite one down under. And since synthetic lighting can generally be too sturdy or harsh, mild diffusers are used to melt the sunshine and evenly disperse that glow throughout your meals scene.

a large softbox on an LED light

What’s the finest synthetic mild gear for meals images?

Now, there are MANY several types of mild you should use which fall into two essential classes – flash or steady mild. With flash, you possibly can’t bodily see the sunshine in your meals till you snap a photograph. Steady mild, as proven right here, acts like pure mild because it’s always shining in your meals. I want this feature because it’s one thing I’m extra comfy with and I can put it to use for meals movies as effectively. However if you wish to dive in even additional, I HIGHLY suggest watching The Chunk Shot on YouTube. She breaks down the whole lot you have to find out about synthetic lighting in easy-to-digest movies.

Here’s what I take advantage of for my synthetic lighting arrange and I completely find it irresistible. It’s fast to arrange and tear down, can simply be saved away, and doesn’t require a steep studying curve.

Godox SL-150W Daylight Balanced LED Steady Video Gentle – This mild may be very cheap in comparison with most top quality synthetic lights, as some can price hundreds of {dollars}. It’s designed to work at an identical temperature to sunlight, so it received’t learn too blue or too orange in your pictures. I personally use the 200W however I discover I don’t want a lightweight practically that sturdy (right here is my precise one). The 150W will do exactly tremendous and is a bit cheaper.

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Octagon Softbox 48″ – The larger the softbox, the higher. This attaches on to your mild as a way to soften and diffuse. The rationale why I really like this 48″ softbox is as a result of it’s mainly the scale of a giant window. This can assist you to evenly glow your complete meals arrange, whereas additionally making it seem pure. Whichever softbox you go along with, be sure that it comes with a bowens mount. That is the most typical mounting system for many lights because it simply clicks proper on. The sunshine additionally comes with 2 diffusers, one for inside and outdoors of the sunshine. These are obligatory as a way to additional soften and disperse your mild, similar to pure mild.

Gentle Stand – When utilizing a big softbox, you’ll additionally want a tall mild stand to carry its measurement. For me, this mild stand is the proper peak. At its lowest, it’s stage with my meals images desk which offers me with the proper quantity of aspect mild. But when wanted, it could actually additionally attain as much as 13 ft.

For any extra details about my digicam gear and images arrange, take a look at this publish.

  • a godox led light without a softbox
  • showing layers of diffusing panels inside a softbox
  • close up on a bowens mount softbox

Suggestions for taking pictures with synthetic mild

  1. Flip off all different overhead lights earlier than taking pictures. Even when it’s within the subsequent room, that refined heat glow can have an effect on your pictures.
  2. Don’t shoot close to one other window, as that mild may even have an effect on your scene. I are likely to shoot with some home windows within the distance and I haven’t had any points, however you might or might not determine to dam them out utterly when taking pictures. All of it depends upon your choice.
  3. Run just a few check shoots. Seize some cupcakes from the grocery retailer and experiment together with your new arrange. Play with the gap wherein the sunshine is out of your scene, or at which peak and tilt the sunshine sits at. However bear in mind the positioning of pure mild, as copying that place will probably provide the finest outcomes.
  4. Be careful in your shadows, as they might be a bit darker than you’re used to. I discovered this was the case for me, however I additionally most popular it. When you nonetheless need that mild and shiny look, use a big white board and place it reverse of your mild supply. This can assist lighten these darkish shadows.
the top of a sliced apple butter pie

Now that you simply’ve realized the fundamentals and perceive which gear works finest, you’re in your strategy to absolutely changing to synthetic lighting. As somebody who shot with pure mild for two years, the brief time I’ve been taking pictures with synthetic mild has supplied me with polished {and professional} pictures that I at all times struggled to get with pure.

It has simply leveled up my images sport and made the complete taking pictures course of rather more pleasing. No extra chasing down that late morning mild, no extra cramming shoots into just a few hours, and no extra time wasted balancing my pictures in modifying. It has been life altering for me and I do know it’ll do the identical for you!

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