DIY Window Light Food & Product Photography Tips

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window-light-photography-tips-lemonWindow Light Food photography tip

Here’s a quick easy tip that’ll give you big results for you all! So please try this at home. If you get this concept, you can apply this in so many different scenarios.

One of the best places to photograph is near a window using soft natural light. Food photography is no exception and with these easy tips you can produce professional looking photos.

Also, the absence of clutter is often what separates a professional looking photo vs. an amateur looking photo in my opinion. So this is what we’ll achieve with this tip.

For this tip, I’m only using simple window light and a sheet of white paper. The only thing you’d need is one large sheet of paper and an optional second sheet of paper if you’d like. I’ll explain later. Also something to lean the paper on, and a small piece of tape to hold the paper in its place.

Step 1

Find a spot in your home where you get soft window light.

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Step 2

Turn off any lamp or overhead lights nearby. We’re using window light for this photo, so mixing window light with any artificial light will mess up your colors.

Step 3

Lean your large sheet of paper against something like a wall and tape the bottom so it won’t slide. Position the paper at a slight angle facing the window. Also make sure the paper curves down a little to avoid showing any folding lines in the photo.

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Step 4

Position your food or product on the paper

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Step 5

Take your photo!

-Crop out edges of the paper by zooming in or moving in closer.

-Use a wide aperture and focus on your food or product. A wide aperture will blur the background so the texture of the background paper won’t show much.

-Zooming in with your lens will also help blur the background

-Set your White Balance on Daylight or adjust the white balance after if you’ve taken the photos

-Try different angles

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Photos are not edited: Nikon D90, 35mm f/2.0 lens, Aperture Priority Mode, ISO 800, f/2.0, 1/320, White Balance: Daylight. Left photo: No fill light, Right photo: Fill light with white paper.

 

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You can use any camera and get good results.

If you’re using a point & shoot camera, turn auto flash off and use Macro Mode(the flower icon). This allows you to get closer to the subject and focus on your product or food at a closer distance. Being able to focus closer to the subject helps blur the background even more.

The next two photos are take with my iPhone3. You can certainly use any editing tool to adjust colors or white balance to make the background color more white, if that is your preference.

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Step 6 (Optional)

You may use some sort of reflector on the opposite side of the window light to bounce light into the product. This will help soften up shadows.

This second source of light is called “fill light”, because you’re filling shadows with a light source that is not as strong as the main light.

The window light in this case is your “main light” since that is what’s mainly lighting your subject.

As for a fill-light source, you can use something you already might have such as a sheet of large white paper, a white dry erase board, a white pillow, a white bed sheet, or a white foam core.

If you regularly food photos like these for a blog or product photography for your online shop, you might want to invest in actual photography reflector for as little as less than $10.

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What do you think? Super easy, right?

This applies to product photography as well. If you sell any products online on places like Etsy, using this tip will make your products stand out with professional looking photos.

Although white background is commonly used as it’s a clean look, you can use any color you’d like.

product photography tips

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This same concept is used in portrait photography and fashion photography, just on a larger scale with a larger backdrop.

There you have it. Hope you find this useful!
You may also check out my article on using window light for portraits.

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2 Responses to DIY Window Light Food & Product Photography Tips

  1. emma 05/10/2014 at 10:00 am #

    Great tip –
    I’m so in need of basic tips like this
    thank you hugely!!
    Emma 🙂

    • Peter Bang 05/10/2014 at 1:17 pm #

      Happy to hear that Emma. Thanks again!

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