You may remember I bought myself a small studio strobe kit just after Christmas. For the last three months, I've been trying to teach myself how to make artificial light look like natural light and let me tell you - it ain't easy. Sure, I own some great books on the subject, and have Pinterest boards full of inspiration, but the only thing that seems to really work for me is practice.
I practice almost every day.
Some of the photos I take with my strobes look like absolute shit.
Some look like the egg photo above (inspired by this). I am pretty happy with this shot.
I'm still at the very early stages of learning, but I do have a few tips for anyone else that is trying to learn food photography with strobes:
- Keep a notebook - I have a thick, spiral bound ruled notebook that is PACKED with notes and diagrams of what has worked, and what hasn't worked for me, for every set-up - I use it as a reference and a starting point for every shot
- It's all about the shadows - You can buy a big beautiful softbox and get some really nice clean light on your subject, but if there aren't any shadows your photo will look dull and lifeless - shadows add depth which makes artificial light look more natural
- Study light everywhere you go - Seriously. Everywhere. The way sunlight streams onto your table in the restaurant at brunch, the way the gloom of a rainy day settles into your living room when you're reading a book in the afternoon, the way the sunset breaks through the trees in the park at dusk. Look at it. See it. It will change the way you look at lighting.
But of course, none of it matters if you don't practice.