I’ve been doing a lot of googling lately. I always feel like I need more gear, more props, and more gadgets, to get the images I drool over online. In particular the trend of dark food photography, and the lighting style dubbed ‘mystic light’. Achieving this is no small feat. A solid half day playing with set up, camera settings, and light manipulation: and you’re only half way there. Having taken the shot is half the battle, and your post processing/editing is the other half. I love food, and I love photography, together they’ve become a little obsession (note: not so little). Days off are spent trying, trying, trying. I still can’t figure out exactly how to adjust lighting to get the ‘mystic’ look, but I’ll get there. What I do know is that you don’t need much fancy gear to get your started, just a little ingenuity and a knack for seeing the details. Get a reflector, play with the bouncing and filtering of light, and eventually you’ll grasp it. Having a reflector, a few pieces of interesting material for background, and some basic Photoshop skills, has made a huge difference in the images I produce. And I’m only scratching the surface.
Today I’m attempting the dark food photography style a little more in depth than usual. Playing with shooting angles and reflecting light with darker items rather than high sheen ones, to get a softer look with less intense highlights.
For this shot I used a piece of scrap tile for the base and a black t-shirt stretched over a foot stool for the background. I diffused the light coming in from a window (on the right) and a cream coloured tile as a light bounce to bring up the shadows (from the left). Using a tripod I shot this image at f/5, 1/10 sec, ISO 100. Below shows the image OOC (out of camera) and how it looks after editing in Photoshop.
The set up here is as I mentioned above:
A great example of dark food photography that I aspire to is this image by Nadine Greeff, shot in the Chiaroscuro style, which uses the hight contrast of darkness and light to highlight specific subject matter in the frame. Similar to that of
You can see more of her work on her website here: www.epicureapeture.com
Beth Kirby at LocalMilkBlog is another photographer who’s ‘mystic light’ photos I enjoy:
So in the meantime, for those of you trying to take it up a notch- keep experimenting!
I’m also looking to find a good website highlighting some of the techniques used to capture these ‘mystic light’ images, and I haven’t come across anything yet. If any readers have helpful links, I’d gladly sift through!
So what do you think? What are your thoughts on dark food photography and food photography trends in general? I’d love to hear.
Ciao for now guys.