Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   Tips & Tricks (
-   -   Food Shots (

master Nov 17, 2004 7:47 AM

Could anyone pls. tell me some tips or links for taking food shots? I need to use them for for packaging/labels. I'm using Finepix S5100. All I have are 3 regular desk lamps and 1 slave flash. I also would like to know the settings of shutter speed, aperture, flash, iso, etc... thanks...

calr Nov 17, 2004 3:51 PM

Shooting food, especially prepared food, is difficult. I am not experienced in that area but I've learned a few things about it over the years.

With prepared foods, you have a very short time in which to work. Under the hot lights, the food will lose its appeal very quickly. This also applies to things like salads with fresh greens. The greens will wilt very quickly.

Keep salads in the refrigerator, covered in plastic, until ready to shoot. Have several duplicate dishes and only take one out of the refrigerator at a time. With entrees and cooked side dishes, don't place the food on the plate or bowl until immediately prior to shooting.

If you are shooting cold foods or beverages, spraying or misting with water helps achieve the fresh, appealing look. Ice cubes will melt very quickly. Consider using plastic fake ice cubes.

Many of the photographs you see in magazines or frozen food boxes do not show real food. Often, very realistic plastic or wax models are used. That order of French Fries you see on the menu at the local fast food joint is probably fake.

Check your local bookstore or for books on photographing food. You will probably find several.

Good luck.

Cal Rasmussen

Nov 17, 2004 5:16 PM

Another trick (that Chefs use in food competitions) is to spray the food item with a clear shellac. This gives it a shiny finish & keeps the colors brighter for a longer period of time.

PeterP Nov 17, 2004 8:37 PM

Yes, also varnish and spraying things with glycerin/water mix to get a just out of the oven shine, using mashed potatoes for ice cream,acrylic ice cubes(expensive), dry ice or a fog machine to the the steam rising effect. There are a lot of tricks to make food and drink shots look good.Generally food is not edible after it has been workedover for a shoot.

BUT, if the final product is to be used for food product advertising and POP's there are a lot ofregulations(country dependent)about faking and adding things that were not in the original package/product. "Truth in advertising", hard to imagine using both those words in the same sentence :?

For instance this can cause Food-Stylists to spend time opening cans of peas&corn untilthey find one withjust the right mix of peas&corn wanted for the shot. You can't modify the contents coming out of a can, but it is OK if youmanage find one with just the contents mix you need.

Or for restaurant POPsthe image is supposed to represent the final product, say a hamburger as it is delivered to the customer. No additional shiny tomatoes sticking out ifthey are not normally there.

The best thing you can do to do to learn, is start making setups and shooting them. :-)Also examine food shots in magazines and try to reproduce them, not so easy but you learn a lot.

master Nov 17, 2004 10:39 PM

thanks guys. and what about lighting? some say to use more natural light and no flash. if i use desk lamps, what iso setting should i use?

PeterP Nov 17, 2004 10:46 PM

with constant lighting like desk lamps, put the camera on a tripod as the exposure will be longish, pick your F-stop and let the camera figure outwhat to set the shutter speed to. Maybe use the +/- ev setting to slightly adjust the exposure if your camera has it.

The good thing about constant lighting is you see the effect you will get in the viewfinder in real-time, and can move the lights around until it looks the way you want.

Placeand adjust one light at a time.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:56 PM.