Photographing Food Issue 1

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Text of Photographing Food Issue 1

  • photographingfood

    issue 1


    Buyer: Patraporn Tardtong ( ID: 5PK966686A454951S

  • WindoW LightingIn ThIs Issue

    A doughnut 2 Ways 2 different looks on one subject.

    directing your Lighting A closer look at changing your lights direction.

    A Bloody and BlockingControlling where your light falls with a bunch of Bloody Marys

    the Big Stack An introduction to the tungsten countertop studio and shooting pancakes

    22the Picture Frame diffuser An inexpensive, small, and portable diffuser that fits on your counter

    the tungSten Studio

    3 Light Makes Shadows introduCtion

    5 Light & onions An exploration of hard and soft light.the dAyLight Studio

    8 Light & Carrots digging deeper and further understanding quality of light .the table top reflector

    Portable, lightweight, and perfect for the shooter without a free hand.

    White on White understanding why what you and your camera see are


    Shaded Window Light exploring reflective surfaces and qulaity of light.

    Backlighting Beerexecuting a theme and trying a new lighting style




    An introduction to the Window Light Set-up

    Photographing Food is written and shot by taylor Mathis. taylor is a food and lifestyle photographer

    based in Charlotte, nC. he blogs about food and food photography on taylor takes a taste and is the owner

    of taylor Mathis Photography.

    Any questions, comments and concerns can be sent to



    Buyer: Patraporn Tardtong ( ID: 5PK966686A454951S

  • the window on the right is our key light. notice how the shadow falls on the left side of the orange. With a one light set up, the shadows will always appear on the opposite side of the key light.

    notice how the left side of the orange has a shadow on it. With no fill card, this shadow is prominent and dark.

    this orange has a reflector placed close to it. the white foam board reflects light back in and fills in the shadows. notice how there is less contrast than with no fill.

    the lighting examples in this issue are all done with what i call a window light set up. you dont always have to use a window. it can be an open garage door or an artificial light source. in a window light set there will be only one light source called the key light. this key light will come from only one direction and the light source will be perpendicular to your set. this set up will always create one set of shadows that fall opposite the lit side of your subject. if your light is on the left then your shadows will fall on the right. if the light is on the right, your shadows will fall on the left. if the light is behind the subject you will see shadows in front of the subject. And if the light source is in front of the subject? you guessed it, the shadows will fall

    behind the subject. these shadows can be very harsh. to lighten them up, you can use a reflector to reflect light back onto the subject and fill in the shadows. this will lower the contrast of your image. you dont need anything fancy; a piece of white foam board is perfect. experiment with the distance between the reflector and the subject. the closer the reflector is, the

    more fill and the lighter the shadows will be. the amount of fill you add is up to you. Move the reflector closer or farther from the subject until you find the right amount of fill for your image. every example in this volume will have different shadows. Look closely at how they behave in different situations and with different subjects.

    Light Makes

    shadowsunderstanding and learning how to control these shadows is the goal.

    photographing f o o d i s s u e 1 w i n d o w L i g h t 3

    All Images and Content Taylor MathisBuyer: Patraporn Tardtong ( ID: 5PK966686A454951S

  • ou dont need expensive lighting gear to take beautiful pictures of your food. using the power of the sun, you can

    create captivating and mouthwatering images. A daylight studio can be created in a variety of locations. your daylight studio should have light coming in from one direction. A window in your kitchen, living room, or bedroom are

    great options. Look for a window that has an unobstructed view and lets plenty of light in. ideally, you would want a north or south facing window, but any window light can work. the quality of light will depend on the time of year and time of day, where you are in the world, the direction that your window faces, and the weather. the light available to you will change throughout the day, so experiment and try different windows at different times

    of the day. if you dont have a window available to you, dont worry. try your garage! When a garage door is open, a large directional light source has been created. this directional light is perfect for an instant studio. the large area of a garage will give you plenty of room in which to work. in the following examples, i will demonstrate how to take beautiful pictures using a daylight studio.


    photographing f o o d i s s u e 1 w i n d o w L i g h t 4

    All Images and Content Taylor Mathis



    opening your garage door creates a beautiful daylight studio.

    Buyer: Patraporn Tardtong ( ID: 5PK966686A454951S

  • hARD LIghT& OnIOns harsh shadows, edges, specular quality, over exposed hilights, not appetizing not all light is the same. Some light will have a hard quality to it while other light will have a softer quality. you can determine the quality of the light by looking at the shadows cast by your subject. if the shadows have sharp defined edges, then you are dealing with a hard light source. As you can see from the pictures, this direct sunlight entering the garage creates hard shadows, blown out highlights, and an un-appetizing look to the food. When dealing with foods, glassware, or other props that have a reflective quality to them, hard light will leave you with small specular highlights that can blow out very quickly. With a blown out highlight, the camera records the highlight as pure white with no information. these blown out highlights can cause problems with exposing the image properly especially in images with a large tonal range. if a hard light source is causing your food to look unappetizing, you need to change it! dont worry, this is easy and inexpensive to do. Flip the page to find out how.

    When shooting with daylight, use the daylight white balance mode.

    notice the blown out highlights and harsh shadows on the onions.

    photographing f o o d i s s u e 1 w i n d o w L i g h t 5

    All Images and Content Taylor MathisBuyer: Patraporn Tardtong ( ID: 5PK966686A454951S

  • A soft light source will make your dishes look delicious! Soft undefined shadow edges are a sign that you are working with a soft light source. on an overcast day, the sun shining through the clouds will create a soft diffused light source. if there are no clouds in the sky, you can make diffused light by placing diffusion material between your subject and light source. this will create a nice soft diffused light source. on the next page, you will see what the onions look like with a white bed sheet used as a diffuser.

    sOfT LIghT& OnIOnsSoft shadow edges, diffused quality, controlled hilights, beautiful food

    i like using a thin white bed sheet as diffusion material. experiment with different materials such as wax paper,

    parchment paper, or other white translucent fabrics. Any white and translucent material will work. to avoid adding a colorcast to your subject, only use white diffusion material.

    Find your diFFuSion MAteriAL

    1raise the garage door.

    Attach the diffusion material to the bottom of the garage door

    using A clamps. if photographing next to window, attach the fabric to a curtain rod or tape over the window.

    hAng your diFFuSion MAteriAL

    2 take a step back and see that your material is covering your set evenly. As you work, the sun will move across

    the sky and may fall outside of your diffusion area. Make any adjustments necessary to ensure that your set is covered evenly.

    MAke Any AdjuStMentS


    photographing f o o d i s s u e 1 w i n d o w L i g h t 6

    All Images and Content Taylor MathisBuyer: Patraporn Tardtong ( ID: 5PK966686A454951S

  • f I n A Ls h O T

    photographing f o o d i s s u e 1 w i n d o w L i g h t 7

    All Images and Content Taylor Mathis

    Camera settings iso: 1600

    aperture: f/5 shutter speed: 1/1600 second

    Lens: Canon ef 100mm f/2.8L is usM Macro

    Buyer: Patraporn Tardtong ( ID: 5PK966686A454951S

  • When working in a daylight studio the quality of light will change throughout the day. As i have mentioned before, there are factors like time of year, weather, direction that your window faces, and time of day that will effect the quality of your light. in this example, i am using the same garage door and set up as in the hard Light & onions example. the difference is that it is now later in the day and the sun has c