Tips & Tutorials

Take Mouth-watering, Juicy-looking Pastry Pictures With These Light Control Techniques

The fruit tart looks so delicious I want to lay my hands on it. How do you make cakes and confectionary look moist and fresh like this? From a professional’s perspective, the key point lies in the subtle control of light. In this article, we see how this can be done. (Reported by: Hiroyuki Yamamoto)

EOS 5D Mark III/ EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM/ Aperture-priority AE (f/6.3, 1/50 sec.)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto

A delicious-looking tart topped with different types of berries. Unlike cakes with a sponge base, tarts are flatter and tend to lack impact when you photograph them. To make the photo more vibrant and colourful, I used a round plate and placed mint leaves under the tart.

Step 1: Direct a 100mm macro lens at the subject from diagonally above

Step 2: Direct diffuse light from a fluorescent lamp from the top left direction

Step 3: Reflect light from the fluorescent lamp with a silver reflector to brighten the dark areas


Step 1: Direct a 100mm macro lens at the subject from diagonally above

Cakes may not stay fresh when they are left in the open and subject to factors such as heat from the light, so it is best to keep the duration of the shoot as short as possible. If time is needed to prepare the shoot, use only the plate without the cake, and determine the position and lighting while visualising details such as the shape of the cake and composition within the plate.

Compose a shot from an angle of about 60 degrees diagonally above to bring out the round shape at the top edge of the plate. I positioned the camera at a distance of 60cm from the plate to capture the cake in its entirety.

Step 2: Direct diffuse light from a fluorescent lamp from the top left direction

The light I used has a metal, semi-circular reflector with a 32W spiral fluorescent lamp attached to it. Fluorescent lamps emit little heat and therefore have less impact on the freshness of the subject. Also, choosing a lamp with a neutral white colour temperature enables you to carry out the shoot without having to worry about the white balance. I attached a cream-white colour diffuser in front of the lamp to diffuse and soften the light. I directed light from the top left direction to create oblique backlight and used it as the main light source.

Step 3: Reflect light from the fluorescent lamp with a silver reflector to brighten the dark areas

In addition to the above lighting, I placed a twofold silver reflector on the right before the plate to brighten the dark areas using light reflected from the main light source. After fixing the camera position and light, I set the cake on the plate and completed the shoot as soon as possible.

Must-have Item
Fujimac Spiral Fluorescent Lamp (Third party product)

I attached a 32W spiral fluorescent lamp to a metal reflector (sold separately), and attached a cream-white colour diffuser in front of it. I made the silver reflector for this shoot myself by gluing a piece of aluminium foil for home use to one side of a polystyrene foam board.

Hiroyuki Yamamoto

Born in 1944 in Tokyo. Graduated from Tokyo College of Photography, Yamamoto engages actively in advertisement production as one of the leading figures in food photography in Japan. He has undertaken a wide variety food-related shoots, including those for product packages. A member of the Japan Advertising Photographers' Association (APA).

http://www.y-p-st.com/

Digital Camera Magazine

A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.

Published by Impress Corporation

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