Simple Clicks: Food Photos

Been playing with some food photography setups lately, in a very informal, experimental way. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to work with and I greatly admire the folks who do it professionally. There’s a real talent to making something look so appetizing that people can’t resist it, and I think that although it would be a ton of work, it would also be a lot of fun to shoot promo or menu photos for a local restaurant or bakery.

Of course my shots here are the basest level of all that. My setups are small, my environment simple, and my food as-is. There’s no trickery here, I’m just shooting our own cooking in its fully-edible form before we sit down to dinner. Another instance of making the best of what I have, since I lack the time, skill, and resources of a professional food stylist.

All of this is happening on a 24”x24” end table from WalMart, which I’ve modified with a DIY backdrop brace constructed out of PVC. I’ve got sheets of poster board for seamless, Ikea and Target dishware and props, and am lighting it with my 460IIs in a combination of softboxes, umbrellas, and bounce cards.

At some point I’ll probably do a longer post on the process, from start to finish, but for now I’ll just add the the more you can get ready ahead of time, the better.

What’s with the sock in the bowl? It’s a place holder, something I knew would be similar in color and shape to the chili cooking in the other room. Food only looks its best for a short time at its ideal temperature, so it’s necessary to get the whole shot ready ahead of time, both composition and lighting. Then, when the food is ready, you can pop it in, get your shots, and (in my case, at least) go enjoy it. I used the sock to get everything dialed in, so when the chili was ready it only took five shots before I had what I wanted.

Don’t worry, the sock was brand new and just out of the washer.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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1 Comment

  1. I like the simplicity of the background being plane white. All too often people try to dress up the backdrops and end up creating something that looks too busy.

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