Food photography with natural light : Charcuterie Board

In this food photography class Karl and Anna work together to photograph a charcuterie board using only natural light at home.

Together the pair demonstrate a completely different setup to previously, showing how to use simple accessories to further control the light. In this class you’ll see how to reduce natural light to increase contrast and the change the mood of the shot, as well as how to use simple accessories to create focussed pockets of light.

Class objectives:

  • Show how to photograph food at home
  • How to photograph food using natural light
  • How to modify natural light to increase contrast
  • Useful accessories for food photography

If you have any questions about this class, please post in the comments section below.


Food photography at home

You can photograph food simply and easily in your own home using basic equipment and accessories.

One of the advantages of photographing food using studio light is being able to control that light using modifiers. However, using simple accessories you can find at home, it’s perfectly possible to modify natural light too, which is what Karl and Anna showed in this shoot.

Having demonstrated how to photograph food using natural light in the previous class, Karl took this shoot one step further and demonstrated how to reduce the size of the light source to create a higher contrast image with a totally different mood.

How to modify natural light:

  • Diffusers
  • Flags
  • Reflectors
Example of how to control natural light

You can use accessories such as diffusers, flags or reflectors to control natural light.

By modifying the light, Karl was able to control how much light he wanted for the image (the same way you would when working with studio lights). Methods of controlling natural light include using diffusers, flags or reflectors.

As the weather was overcast, the light for the shot was already quite soft, which meant there was no need for diffusers. However, had it been a bright sunny day, using diffusers (as was done in this portrait class) would have helped create a softer, more even light.

Flags, as was used for this shot, blocked the majority of the light. Anything from foamboard to pieces of paper can be used as flags and again, they’re a simple way of controlling the available light.

After flagging the majority of the available light, Karl then used small reflectors to focus little pockets of light into key areas of the shot. This is a common technique in product photography and one that can be seen throughout a number of our classes.

By using a combination of flags and reflectors, Karl and Anna were able to create an image very different from that achieved in the previous class and you can see how straightforward and simple the accessories and tools used to create it are.

Food photography example

The final charcuterie board food image.

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