I’m not a fan of dark and moody food photography. When I look at food, I want bright and warm imagery that I can sink my teeth into.
It just so happens that I’m not alone.
I have a “love-hate” relationship with Pinterest and Food Gawker, but the images I post up on these sites are telling. The bright and warm images are far and away the most “pinned” and “gawked.” In fact, if you take a look at the “I bake he shoots” most popular posts, everything falls within this visual vernacular.
Of course, with this knowledge in hand, I decided to shoot the onion burgers on a black background. BIG MISTAKE.
After struggling for awhile, I finally took Mondo’s advice to switch out the background for a nice shade of cerulean blue. With this bright new look, I got the shot I wanted within 10 exposures and called it a day.
Behind the Scenes
The lighting was very simple with a large light panel on the right and a white bounce card on the left. I used a large 60 inch softlighter directly behind the camera for on-axis fill.
When lighting these scenes, it’s important to start with one light and slowly fill out the shadows. The key is to create a highlight and shadow that is within the dynamic range of the camera. Most camera manufactures claim to have 12 stops range, but in reality, you’re usually working with about 5-6 usable stops.
In an unusual move, I shot these with a very shallow depth of field. I typically shoot food at higher f stops like f/11, but the photo I was working off of had a shallow DOF so I went with it. It’s nice to do something different, but I prefer a deep field of focus.
Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm 2.8
Strobes: White Lightning x1600
Focal Length: 50mm