Today, I will be teaching you how to shoot on a budget using natural light. Because we all know, having eye-catching photos is an excellent tool for marketing your food & product out there and increasing sales. Before we start, here is a sample photo I took using my camera phone…so you know what to expect from the blog post.
Note: All the sample photos in the tutorial were only taken by my phone. (I’m using an Iphone X)
Here are more photos I took using natural light, with my SLR, because we got to be honest, “iba naman talaga quality.”
WHAT YOU NEED:
-Phone with Camera or DSLR
-Window with sunlight coming in.
-2 Large Illustration board/ foam board
-Thin white cloth, or baking paper (anything you can use to make your light softer from the direct sunlight)
-Download Adobe Lightroom CC app on your phone (Free)
Tip #1: The Most Important Factor When Taking Photos is the Light.
The light can make or break a photo.
It doesn’t matter if you are using an slr or a phone camera if your light source is bad, the photo is ruined. Here’s a sample of good lighting and bad lighting for a photo I took using natural light.
It was a sunny day, when I was arranging the layout of the pizza, then the rain suddenly poured so hard with no hope of having the sun to return. As you can see, because there is no light, the image looks flat and unflattering.
(Pizza and crab photo are taken by my Iphone X)
While the other photo was taken during the “golden hour”, which is a photographer’s favorite time to shoot. Golden hour is the short window of time right after sunrise and right before sunset. As you can see the color of the photos really pop in at this time.
Tip #2: Always make sure your camera lens is clean.
You constantly take your phone everywhere. So make sure to wipe it with a cloth, or else your photos will be blurred.
MY SET UP: Shoot Beside A Window as your Lightsource
Look for a north facing or south facing window. But if you have a east or west and you see that sunlight coming in directly. Don’t worry, you can use any of my suggested makeshift diffusers (thin white cloth, baking sheet).
So, here’s how I position my food relative to the light source that I have available. Shoot at a 90 degree angle from that window. You don’t want to shoot direct, or else the light will be harsh, instead you want to use the diffused sunlight when shooting.
Shot this using NATURAL SUNLIGHT W/ Diffuser. (No Post-processing)
Remember to just play around and experiment, do what you think suits for your composition.
Tip #3: Make sure to turn off all the other lights in the house, because it will look messy and create weird shadows.
I shot this during a semi-cloudy day. This is probably not the best example.
Sample photo of a harsh lighting, without a diffuser.
Tip #4: How to Make Use of Bounce Light to Manipulate your Shadows.
The next technique I’m going to teach you is, how to make use of bounce light to manipulate your shadows.
So what happens is that the white side of the board will reflect a little bit of the sunlight coming in from the window making those shadows a little lighter.
Notice that there’s almost no shadow, when we use the white side of the illustration board.
While the black side of the illustration board, creates the opposite. Making the shadows darker and have a more dramatic look.
This ends part 1 of my tutorial. Remember, that lighting is everything. I want you guys to experiment and see what works and suits your brand. Enjoy taking photos and let that creative side of you shine!
For Part 2 of my tutorial, I’ll be teaching you how to shoot and edit your phone photos using your Lightroom App that mimics as a mini camera! (It has most of the setting from exposure, white balance, ISO, Focus and etc.)
About Abi Javellana:
Abigail is a multimedia artist who loves to travel and eat! She’s been blogging for 5 years with Our Awesome Planet about both food and travel, and is currently in the process of becoming a vlogger.
She is more of a travel writer as you can see, if you scroll down her feed they are all travel photos. During this pandemic, her assignments shifted to food deliveries, since the blog is more well known for food reviews.
She felt that she needed to capture good photos to help the restaurant owners and home-cooks. And discovered that she has a knack for shooting and styling food.
You can describe her as a hobbyist photographer who recently found the joy of taking food photos. Her friends have been pushing her and recommending her to other brands, that she finally decided to become an accidental freelance food photographer. As a way to help the community, she is offering her skills at a very friendly rate.
If you like what you see hit me up for your next photoshoot!
Live an Awesome Life,
ABI of Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights.