Behind The Scenes With A Food Photographer

BUSINESS
EQUIPMENT
PHOTOGRAPHY
TIPS

I'm your food photography guru sharing photography tips, equipment ideas and business advice to help you improve your photography skills and strengthen your business mindset.

Hey, I'm Regan.

I love to turn ordinary things into something unexpected. But, rather than just show you the final images, I want to show you some behind the scenes shots too. I hope it inspires you to grab your camera and just start playing.

This post contains affiliate links. Read the affiliate disclosure.

food photography behind the scenes

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. There is definitely a technical side to photography, but the creative side drives it all.

Photography Equipment

For the demonstrations in this post, I took pictures of the ordinary objects and used a variety of my equipment to capture the final images. I am sharing the different equipment I used for the final images below:

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 Demonstration: 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 then created the final image. 

READ MORE ABOUT: MY CURRENT GEAR FOR FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY

white foam board
white plate
garlic cloves
See how I transform ordinary ingredients like garlic into something beautiful for food photography. Click to see behind the scenes.

Drink Photography Demonstration: Fake Bourbon

For the second demonstration, I used the following materials:

For the fake bourbon, I mixed maple syrup and water to create the look of bourbon. I think it looks pretty real. 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 a softer light, I wanted to create a direct, sunlight look with stronger shadows. 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 produced stronger shadows. Then, I added a white V-flat opposite the light to bounce light back to the image. This helped the far side from becoming too dark and helped create a more evenly lit image.

Below are some pictures of how people might normally see the materials, as well as my behind the scenes setup for how I shot the final image.

READ MORE ABOUT: ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING FOR FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY

yellow foam board for photography
glassware for drink photography
fake ice for drink photography
maple syrup and water
See how I transform ordinary ingredients like fake bourbon into something beautiful for food photography. Click to see behind the scenes.
See how I transform ordinary ingredients like fake bourbon into something beautiful for food photography. Click to see behind the scenes.

Food 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, a 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 some pictures of the materials and a behind the scenes setup for how I shot the final image.

READ MORE ABOUT: DARK AND MOODY FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

wood board food photography surface
tarnished baking sheet for food photography
black bowl prop for food photography
brown scarf
tomatoes on the vine
canned tomato soup
TOMATO SOUP EXPERIMENT
See how I transform ordinary ingredients like tomato soup into something beautiful for food photography. Click to see behind the scenes.

Food Photography Demonstration: Cherries

For the fourth experiment, I used the following materials:

This setup uses natural light only. I wanted to create a light image, but with some depth. I adjusted my camera settings to help me achieve this. I used more neutral props and boards so the colors of the cherries would really pop and 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 more visual interest.

I shot the materials and 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 boards
pink bowl for food photography
white linen for food photography
bag of cherries for food photography
camera setup with cherries
food photography behind the scenes with cherries

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 shoot another dark and moody image, but this time used natural light only. My camera settings helped me achieve a more dark and moody look. The two boards were dark gray and dark brown. I didn’t use any props, because the pears looked so artistic 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

food photography boardwood board for food photographypears in a bagcamera setup with pairsthree pears on a dark background

I hope this post demonstrates that there is a process behind food photography. It’s never a quick “point and shoot” experience. And, while there is a technical side to photography, don’t get hung up on the gear. Just use the camera you have and natural light from a window. Take an ordinary object and experiment with how you can turn it into something beautiful.

I’d love to see what you come up with!

Happy Shooting!

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.

Comments +

  1. Mark says:

    I LOVE this post Regan!!! It’s positive, educational and inspiring. Improvising to create is one of the foundations of great art, and you’ve achieved it here!

    • Regan says:

      Thank you so much, Mark!

  2. Barbara Chamberlin Daugherty says:

    What a creative, artistic individual you are! It has been so much fun watching the progress of your interests, skills, and career.

    • Regan says:

      Awwww, thank you so much! xo

  3. Wholebitelover says:

    Simple yet beautiful!! no words to explain the beauty of the clicks!! Thanks for this inspiring post! Really motivating.

    • Regan says:

      Thank you so much for this sweet comment! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

FREEBIE

If you want to improve your iPhone food images, start with these 5 essential tips.