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Chapter 7. The Recipe for Light > Lighting for Digital Food Photography

Lighting for Digital Food Photography

Basic Lighting Tools: Low Budget

If you don’t have much of a budget for lighting equipment or access to any lights, you can shoot a nice photo of food utilizing window light. Use reflectors made out of aluminum foil, mirrors, white cardboard, and even the lids from takeout food containers to fill in the shadows and achieve an appetizing effect. To soften harsh shadows from direct sunlight, have a friend hold wax paper or a sheer white cloth approximately a foot above the food.

Depending on how much light is coming in the window, you may need a tripod. A basic rule of thumb is to avoid handholding a camera at a shutter speed below 1/30th of a second, assuming you are using a 30mm lens. To figure out the slowest recommended shutter speed for other types of lenses, just make a fraction out of the lens’s focal length in millimeters. For example, a 100mm lens shouldn’t be used without a tripod at a shutter speed below 1/100th of a second.


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