Lighting Techniques for Professional Food Photography

For William Brinson, it’s all about the details. In fact, it’s the attention he innately gives the details that made him one of the country’s premier food photographers. Having graduated Savannah School of Design, Brinson moved to New York City to pursue a dream of becoming a fashion photographer. However, after working in the industry for a while, Brinson realized that his favorite part of the job was setting up and paying attention to what was going on in the background of his photographs. This revelation moved Brinson into becoming a food photographer and he hasn’t looked back since. Listen to him speak about his passion in this short clip:

Brinson enjoys recreating his favorite types of natural light, such as the morning sun or the light of rainy day at his grandparents’ beach house. In an effort to control the light in the perfect way, Brinson introduced frosted plexiglass which he lit from behind and placed cards around the scene for ultimate control of the ¬†light.

food photography techniques

In the above photo we see Brinson at work with one of his more commonly used setups. Note the tall black folded cards strategically placed around the food. This style of setup helps him create photos such as this one we see below.

lighting for food photography

“I really love to think about…these different times of day how I can achieve that. So in my lighting I use a lot of plexi and a lot of white and black cards to kind of take away light or add a little bit of light here and there. By taking the reflectors and just having them skim plexi here and there just allows you just a sliver of light in just the right spots.”

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