In this food photography class Karl and Russian food photographer Anna Pustynnikova demonstrate how to creatively use one studio light to create a beautiful image of ginger and lime tea.
This class provides a simple one light setup that you can quickly and easily try yourself, while also demonstrating how to incorporate alternative lighting solutions (such as reflectors and specialist lights) that can be used to enhance the shot.
- Learn how to photograph food
- Demonstrate how to light and style food for photography
- Identify the best modifiers for food photography
- Finding props and backgrounds for food photography
- Learn how to use reflectors as an alternative light source
- Explain & demonstrate how to photograph glass objects
To begin, Anna and I first had to determine the composition of our shot. This included selecting and background and choosing what items we would include as props. After your product, the background is the second most important element of your shot. We experimented with different backgrounds, testing color, texture and depth of each option.
Once we’d made our final decision we started working on the styling of the shot. Again, we experimented with the placement of the props, such as the bowls, teacup and saucer, as well as the ingredients.
Here you can view our tests and choices for the bowls we used as props:
And here you can see Anna’s styling in progress:
Once Anna was largely satisfied with the styling, it was time to focus on the lighting. Shooting with a single softbox placed behind the setup, the initial results were very pleasing.
To take it one step further, I added additional lights and reflectors to add pockets of light and create interest on certain elements of the shot, such as the mint and lemon slices in the foreground, the spout of the teapot and face of the cut lemon in the background.
In the image below you can see the effect of the additional picolite on the mint leaf.
We also used a reflector to separate the teapot from the bowl behind it.
The final shot was achieved using three lights (two of which were picolites), but it’s important to remember that a great result was achieved using only the softbox. If you don’t have specialist lights such as picolites, reflectors are a powerful tool that you can use too.
The final image:
If you’d like to learn more about food photography, browse our selection of food photography courses in our Product section. I’ve also put together a selection of our most popular modules below.
- Key skills for food photography and styling
- Berries on a wooden board
- Live cheese shoot with Anna Pustynnikova
If you have any questions, please post in the comment section below.