If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I prefer dark and moody settings for my food photography because I always wanted to create a drama around my food which can boost any ordinary image . For me dark is associated with a dramatic effect Which I simply Love. There is no secrets, just a lot of trial and error and you end up with a perfect setting.
If you are familiar with some of the technical aspects of photography, such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO, I do not think it will be a great problem for you to understand this. I shoot all my pictures with the basic Nikon D3200 camera with 50mm Prime Lense and take all my photographs in Manual Mode because it allows me to have total control over the scene. Sine I shoot my images mostly in daylight, in RAW and manual mode, I let my White Balance to be on Sunlight mode., but you can also keep it in Auto mode.
You need to understand and manipulate your lighting then, this job is not going to be very tough for you.Contrary to what many people may think, even the darker images need light.Your light source might be artificial or it can be natural, but I shoot only in natural light. Light is the most important factor and the manipulation of it is the key to mystic light photography.
Here is the place where I mostly shoot my pics.
Morning and late afternoon lighting is the time best for taking food photographs as the light at that time is glowing and gorgeous and allows the food to really be showed off beautifully.and it mostly suits my time as I have to leave for office .I personally tend to favour shooting in the middle to late afternoon on weekends when I am at home. My windows face east and I have learnt over trial and error that what time is the best time for me. So I encourage you to pick a window and work out the time of the day to shoot.
My windows have dark shades on them but sometimes they come in quite handy when I want to create a “shadowed” look to a picture. Again, I don’t always do this but it does come in handy when needed. For moody Photography you need some darker backgrounds. I always paint my own board or use old wooden boards.To manipulation light,I also use a selection of black and white foam boards which are basically thick pieces of cardboard that can be found in shop.Depending on the light coming through the window, I use either of these. If the light is too strong, I place the black one to the side to take away some of that light. And when I need to give the food a little “lift” I reflect with the white one.
Now since you have understood the basic principle, all You need to have is
- a DSLR camera to shoot in a raw format.
- a tripod
- a light source
- some dark backdrops
- a white and black board
- a post processing program for editing pictures like Adobe’s Lightroom
I always try to keep my ISO as low as 200 to get a crisp picture and since there is plenty of daylight , it will not be a problem, but if you have low light you can increase your ISO to a higher level which will allow more light but the picture will be grainy also. There are no hard and fast rules for camera setting and I keep changing my settings to suit the lighting. If I need more focus area I keep my aperture around 5.6 to 7.1 and accordingly my shutter speed . has to be 1/30 to 1/15. When you keep your shutter speed like this you definitely need a Tripod to handle.
In this photos, I have not used any reflector nor diffuser, yet I have able to achieve the moody effect I want to create. I usually do my post processing in Lightroom, which is very easy and effective to correct my White balance, touch up etc.I will be addressing this at a later post.If you have any queries you can definitely mail me so that I can address in a separate post.
Thanks for reading.