I love to take everyday things in my home studio and turn them into something beautiful and unexpected. But, rather than just show you the final images, I want to show you the process of food photography behind the scenes. I hope it sheds some light into the creative process and inspires you to grab your camera and just start shooting.
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Food Photography Behind The Scenes
As a food photographer, I am always trying to find a connection between food and art. Beautiful food photography requires having a creative vision over everything else. The process includes planning, equipment, lighting and editing software. The more you practice the process, the more you’ll develop your creative vision and figure out different ways to accomplish the types of images you want.
For the demonstrations in this post, I used my smartphone to capture the materials and then used a variety of my equipment to capture the final images. I am sharing the equipment I used for the final images below:
- NIKON D750
- 105mm 2.8
- 24-70mm 2.8
- MY OVERHEAD SETUP
- TWO STROBES
- POCKET WIZARDS
- FOAM BOARDS
- TETHER CABLES
Don’t worry if you don’t have all of this equipment. You can also practice food photography using your smartphone and natural light from a window. In fact, that’s exactly how I got started in food photography and I have a post that shares iPhone Photography Tips that you might find helpful.
Food Photography: Garlic
For the first demonstration, I used the following materials:
I wanted to create a monochrome image focusing on white so the image would be bright and fresh. I used two strobes with soft boxes on each side of the image. This helped me create even light that was soft without causing harsh shadows. I took quick cell pictures of each of the materials to demonstrate how people might normally see these things and used my equipment to create the final image.
Read More About: My Current Gear For Food Photography
Photography Demonstration: Fake Bourbon
For the second demonstration, I used the following materials:
For the fake bourbon, I just mixed maple syrup and water to create the look of bourbon. I think it looks pretty real. But, why fake bourbon? I did this, because I wanted to save the real bourbon for sipping… not shooting. Good call, right? 😉
For the final image, I wanted it to be bright and colorful. The yellow foam board was a perfect compliment to the amber color of the “bourbon.” I only used one light for this shot. Instead of creating softer light, I wanted to create a direct, sunlight look. To do this, I removed the soft box from my strobe and completely exposed the bulb. I adjusted the position of my light to hit the glassware in a way that exposed stronger shadows.
Below are some quick cell pictures of how people might normally see the materials I listed above, as well as my behind the scenes setup for how I shot the final image.
Read More About: Artificial Lighting For Food Photography
Photography Demonstration: Tomato Soup
For the third experiment, I used the following materials:
- WOOD BOARD
- TARNISHED BAKING SHEET
- BLACK SOUP BOWL
- DARK BROWN SCARF
- CHERRY TOMATOES ON THE VINE
- CANNED TOMATO SOUP
I decided to go with a more dark and moody look for the soup image using a dark wood board, a tarnished baking sheet, black bowl and a dark brown scarf. Using dark surfaces and props is a good way to experiment with a dark and moody look in your food photography. I took quick cell pictures of the materials again to show how we might normally see these things and a behind the scenes setup for how I shot the final image.
Read More About: Dark & Moody Food Photography Tips
Photography Demonstration: Cherries
For the fourth experiment, I used the following materials:
- BOARD FROM TEXTURIT (USE CODE: REGANBARONI10 FOR 10% OFF YOUR ORDER)
- WHITE WOOD BOARD FROM ERICKSON SURFACES
- PINK BOWL
- WHITE FRAYED LINEN
This setup uses natural light only. I wanted to create a light image, but with some mood. I adjusted my camera settings to help me achieve this. I used more neutral props and boards so the colors of the cherries would shine and be get your attention. The pink bowl tied in nicely with the subtle pinks in the background board and the frayed linen added some texture to the scene. I styled the stems to be going different directions in an effort to create a visual interest.
I shot the materials separately as well as a behind the scenes image to show you how I shot the final image.
Read More About: How To Shoot In Manual Mode
Food Photography: Pears
For the final demonstration, I used the following materials:
- GRAY BOARD FROM TEXTURIT (USE CODE: REGANBARONI10 FOR 10% OFF YOUR ORDER)
- DARK WOOD BOARD
- THREE PEARS
I decided to end with another dark and moody image, but this time used natural light instead of my strobes. My camera settings helped me achieve a more dark and moody look. The two boards were a dark gray and a dark brown wood. I didn’t use any props, because the pears looked so good on their own. I took pictures of the materials I used and a behind the scenes image of how I shot the final image.
Read More About: Natural Light Food Photography Tips
In conclusion, the secret to beautiful food photography is lots of practice. The process of food photography behind the scenes takes planning and experimenting. It’s never a quick point and shoot experience. My advice is don’t get hung up on the equipment or gear. Use the camera you have. Use the light you have. Get some ingredients and just start shooting so you can develop your creative vision and style. Reach out with questions anytime!
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click or make a purchase through my site, I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I actually use and support.
All images ©Regan Baroni 2020.