Bad light for food photography


Have you ever noticed that food photographers are always telling us that we should turn off the ambiance light before a shooting?


Maybe you are questioning this advice or thinking that it seems a little bit confusing, since we are always talking about a good light, big light, bright light, hard light... I understand you, I didn't get it at the beginning too.


So, does a bad light really exist in food photography? What is the best light for food photography?


When we shoot with flash, using high shutter speed, the ambiance light (probably) doesn't matter. But, when we are shooting with natural light, turns off the ceiling light is extremely important.


Let's check the photos below , both were made at the same time, but in one of them, the ceiling lights were on.


Window light - no edited

Window and ceiling light - no edited


When we comparing the two photos we can see how the plate has lots of bright spots and the food has no texture, loosing the volume.

Window light - edited

Window and ceiling light - edited


Could you see that the ceiling light causes bad reflections and changes the colors? Even after the edition, the photo made with the ceiling lights on is not good as the photo made using just the window light.


So, let's make an agreement: every time that we're going to shoot with natural light, we will use only the window light (side or back light), and never let the ceiling light on.


Be creative!


See you soon.


Marielen - Pixel of Sugar

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© 2021 food photography by Marielen Cestari Baldino