How to Make Food Photography Look Delicious with Just One Light

It’s no secret that food can be one of the trickiest subjects to photograph. What looks delicious on our dinner plates simply doesn’t always translate to our cameras. Often times, photographers tasked with capturing an appetizing meal spend much of their precious time finessing their food and struggling to attain the perfect lighting setup.

Luckily, it’s not difficult to take the headache out of photographing hamburgers. This video tutorial demonstrates just how a few tools can be used to bathe any food with beautiful light and produce a mouth watering final image:

Sometimes, less is more. One constant light source (in this case, the Savage Location LED Light Kit equipped with the Phottix Luna 43″ Octa Softbox) placed at a decisive angle is all that’s necessary replicate Miguel Quiles studio set up. Using a small silver reflector to fill in any distracting shadows, the end product is a softly lit scene with just enough contrast.

food photography lighting set up

With the lighting set in place, the next step is to secure the camera’s focus and settings. Quiles uses the Sony A7II paired with a corresponding 90mm f/2.8 macro lens to ensure crystal clear details. Using the camera’s unique focus peaking capabilities, the LCD live view highlights exactly which elements are in focus to further guarantee that the most attractive features will be properly captured. By securing the camera to a tripod, you can lock in settings without having to make adjustments.

While photographing the scene, it is incredibly helpful to tether the camera to Lightroom. By doing so, it’s possible to see what the camera produces in great deal almost instantaneously. As each image appears on screen, you can then make adjustments to perfect your composition and quickly continue with the shoot.

Of course, each specific food item comes with its own set of challenges that you’ll have to face. However, following these steps can serve as a starting point and drastically improve the quality of your food photography in a fraction of the time.

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