So after two days of photography-focused posts, we thought we’d keep the train rolling by showing you Team TBP’s photography set-up!
Today’s post is our photography set-up for food or product photos. Of course our lifestyle and travel photos are taken outside of the home and a lot of different factors play into those (oftentimes we’re not the ones shooting), but when it comes to those pretty images of food or whatever our daily inspiration is, this is our go-to set-up.
Below you’ll find a video and images that show exactly what our set-ups look like, as well as some specifics on why we’ve chosen to shoot this way, along with some helpful tips to get you started. Enjoy!
1. Find the light
Lee and I both live in small apartments so our light options are pretty limited. We’re fortunate that they both have one large window that brings in enough light for our pictures, but if we didn’t have these then trust us that we would probably scavenge the entire building to find the best light.
For you, that might be your kitchen, or your living room. Maybe it’s your bathroom! Play around with different locations and times of day to determine the area where you’re most comfortable shooting.
From there get to know your light. Lee and I both shoot with a combination of sidelit and backlit (as you can see in the pictures above). This means that light is coming in from the side of the object, and from the back. Then we both place a piece of white foam board to act as a “bounce” aka the light that’s coming in bounces off of it to remove shadows. If you’re looking for a moodier shot, you’d likely remove the bounce to keep the shadows, but Lee and I both like bright photos so we almost always use a bounce. Everyone has their own preferences for lighting style, and this is what works for us.
I would say that if you’re new, go for sidelit. It’s a lot easier to manipulate. For those of you wanting to try backlit, try hanging a bed sheet from the back window to diffuse the light. It will make the light a little softer and easier to work with (see video below).
2. Buy or make some boards
Having a variety of photography boards can really help spruce things up! It’s also a great way to brand your images i.e. shooting on all white boards or wood etc…Lee and I have a selection to choose from but usual default to a white painted board. My boyfriend helped to build them using “tongue and groove” wood from Home Depot, which we then painted white (we actually owe Lee some boards for her birthday from last year…whoops).
I also have a couple of pieces of hardwood and tiles which I picked up from Home Depot. Sometimes you’re able to buy tiles individually and they can actually make a great base for photography. But if all else fails, pick up some foam boards from your local craft store and start playing around!
3. Go small or go home
This surprises a lot of people, but most of the props we use in pictures are actually quite tiny! The smaller the better. It allows you to get more in the frame and you can then choose to crop in if you want to. This is especially important for crop body cameras (like most entry level DSLRs i.e. Canon Rebels) that are already cropping your frame. For food this may mean smaller bowls, forks, cups etc..
4. Time to edit!
Truthfully, editing is what transforms our pictures. Because we cannot control the sun, there are days when we have to shoot in harsh summer light or struggle to get any light in the dead of winter. Such is the case when you depend on natural light (which we highly recommend even if it’s struggle city!). But editing can help fix all of that. It can help add brightness to dull looking images and saturation when the object doesn’t quite translate color-wise on camera.
If our last two posts didn’t emphasize this point enough, invest in some editing software! The Adobe Creative Cloud grants you access to photoshop and lightroom, both of which are amazing for transforming your photography. Head back to our posts on photography equipment and photography style to learn more.
P.S. if you’d like to see more of our editing process, comment below or in the TBP Community!
Here’s a little video of what our set-ups look like!
New and Experienced Bloggers– Take the next couple of days to figure out your photography set-up and then shoot a picture! We’d love to see both your set-up as well as a finalized image taken with that set-up. If you’re happy with yours, that’s awesome! Share it with us in the TBP Community. If you’re still working on it, share some of your struggles or some changes you’ve made to improve it.