Updated: Feb 18
Bright and Airy is a very popular style in food photography, besides the continuous growing of Dark and Moody food photos on the social medias. I am a huge fan of it and this is my photography's style even when I am shooting family photos.
So, first things first, if you want to make a bright and airy food photo you need to get the right light. You light needs to be bright and soft, that means you need a large light source. If you’re shooting with natural light, find a big window with a diffuser panel to stay close with, and if you’re using artificial light, you are going to need to use big soft boxes.
Now that you have your best light, let’s thinking about the shadows. Food photography claims for shadows, that’s why sidelight and backlight are the best schemes. But, we are talking about bright and airy food photos, and what we want soft shadows for this.
If you started with a big light source with a diffuser panel, probably the shadows are quite soft already, but you should use a reflector (also called bouncing board) to make them perfect for bright and airy food photography. It is possible to use a silver reflector, but I prefer the white one, and I like to use the simple one, made with a poster board (there is a free DIY guide for you ).
So, you have the light and you are controlling the shadows, the next step is set up the props in your scene. Personally I use a lot of white props in my food photography, but you don’t need to keep just the white ones. Remember that light colours matches well with bright and airy photos and play with them.
The final step is editing your photo. Yes, all photos are edited and we can not fight against it.
You can follow my step by step edition for bright and airy photography, but there is no recipe to do it and, as everything in photography, you should try it and see what works better for your photo.
Wherever I am using Lightroom or my phone edition app, I always start increasing the exposure and removing a lithe bit of the contrast, than I check the white balance, highlights and shadows. Depending on the kind of photo, sometimes I remove one or two point of saturation.
My last advice, don’t be afraid to slide the editing tools up and down on each photo. Do it until you reach your desired result.
See you soon.
Marielen - Pixel of Sugar