Photography tips with Minna

natural light

Beautiful light will bring an image to life, so I think it is the most important thing to concentrate on when you are shooting food. I only shoot with natural light. Sometimes during the darker Winter months I’ve been close to buying an artificial lightning setup, but then Spring arrives and I’m again excited to play with natural light.

I have to clarify that there is no right or wrong when it comes to natural light versus artificial light. I’m just used to shooting with natural light and I think it takes a lot of skill to make artificial light look good and as natural as possible – especially in food photography. So if you want to start learning to take better food images with your camera or phone, I would say the first step is to turn off all lights and to place the food near a window. Then you can start exploring and you’ll be amazed what beautiful light will do to the image.

The direction of the light is important. You can place the food sideways in front of the window, so that the light will come from one side of the image. Backlight is another option. That means the light comes behind the food to your camera. This is a little more difficult light to capture, but it will bring out the shine very beautifully and therefore it’s great for photographing drinks for example. Most of the time I use sidelight in my food images.

An example of sidelight. A simple image comes to life because of beautiful light and use of shadows.

When shooting with natural light, there are some things to consider. One of them is of course that we can’t affect the weather. When shooting, I normally prefer an overcast day with beautiful soft light. That is naturally not always the case, so we need to be able to shape the light that is available. For this we can use diffusers, reflectors and black boards. I also prefer Northern faced windows, because the light doesn’t change that much even during a sunny or partly sunny day. Soft light is my go to lightning, but sometimes we might want to use hard light for a different feel in the image. That is then only possible during a sunny day.

On a sunny day we need to shape the light to achieve a softer look.

All images need highlights and shadows – without them an image will look flat. Even if we are shooting a bright and airy image, we need to make sure, there are some shadows in the image. I love to play with highlights and shadows. I consider them while shooting and also when editing my images. When shooting I look at the direction of light, it’s strength and how much light there is in the shooting space. Then I use diffusers like curtains and reflectors or blackboards to achieve the mood in the image I am aiming for.

Photography tips with Minna

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