Over time a number of people have asked me about my food photos and what sort of lighting, placement, setup etc I use?
As an easy example then is some Crème Caramel shot’s I did a while back, now, this isn’t the most exciting dessert in the world, but I thought I could take a few images for stock (+ eat them after) and see what I could come up with. Keeping it very simple, I ‘dressed’ them up with strawberries, bought that morning peppered on a blue wooden background to add some colour pop to the images and using terracotta ramekins to complement the tones of the caramels. All shots were done using natural light and I just used a large white sheet of card to bounce the light & soften out any shadows.
I mounted my camera on a tripod for all shots and positioned this over head for the shot in the middle & I used a 24-70mm @ 50mm, ISO 100 & 1/80s shutter. F-stop 3.5 (looking back, wish I’d used something like 7.1+ to get more focus). For the close ups I got in quite tight to fill the frame, this time using a 105mm prime lens, ISO 100, F-stop 3.5 (again) & 1/60s shutter.
Some points of note in respect to the lighting, I was lucky on the day as it was bright yet cloudy, so I didn’t have to contend with any direct and sharp light, it was all softened out by the cloud base. If you’re planning on similar setup next to a large window for that nice, natural side lighting and it’s a bright sunny day, consider using a diffuser panel to soften out the light and prevent harsh shadows, failing that plain white curtains can also work but you don’t want them too thin (or thick for that matter). Also, with natural daylight and especially on a cloudy day, the volume of light can vary minute to minute so be conscious of this when shooting in manual as you’ll need to vary settings to ensure enough light is being captured.
In respect to the styling, this is/was an extremely simple set up with minimal ‘props’ so not too many elements to think about. With any food shoots, it helps to pick out your ‘hero’ elements (in this case I picked out the best shaped and nicest strawberries) and keep these for areas where you going to have focus, you’ll probably get away with a slightly poorer looking piece of fruit in the background as it will be significantly out of focus and you’ll benefit from the colour/shape in the frame.