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 love to think about different times of day and think how to achieve that. So in my lighting I use a lot of plexiglass and a lot of white and black cards to add a little light or take away here and there. By taking the reflectors and having them skim plexi allows you to have a sliver of light in just the right spot. Bringing in the black card can do anything from taking you from that first break of dawn in the morning to that hazy light at two in the afternoon.”

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