An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Learn By Example


So now we’ve talked about lighting for food photography and the general consensus is that more is better, right?  Most of the time it doesn’t hurt to brighten up your shots a bit, but there are times when the picture starts to become too “hot.”  This happens more often on professional sets since the lights are more powerful, but I’m sure you’ve noticed it when shooting primarily on white plates, too.  The edges become blown out and disappear into the background, or all-white objects loose their definition and become impossible to distinguish.  Before watching Lou in action, I was clueless as to how I should prevent this from happening, other than bringing all the lights down and darkening the entire picture (which often just led to a dark, unappealing shot.)

Just like you would set up mirrors or white bounce cards, these situations call for black bounce cards. Seeing these set up to bring a bit shadow into this shot of a date cake was one of those “ah-ha!” moments, when it the solution seemed so obvious and yet never occurred to me before seeing it work.

While a well-lit shot is always a necessity, it’s important to keep a balance of light and shadow in every picture, so it’s worth the investment of a few dollars to get a small piece of black foam core.

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

29 thoughts on “Learn By Example

  1. Very nice. You are really learning tons and applying it. For me, I’d have to see a Do and a Don’t photo side by side to really appreciate the difference. I have a definitely “untrained eye.” ;)

  2. Gorgeous photo! Who’d have ever thunk?

  3. Thank you for the tips! The photo is gorgeous.

  4. Again, you are amazing! The picture is beautiful and the cake looks even better =)

  5. Thank you for sharing all your wisdom with us! Really beautiful picture.

  6. another awesome tip, thanks Hannah! dan and i just ordered some “natural lights” to help us with our indoor photos during the dark winter evenings when we eat late. i’m going to look in to getting some black foam core – and i need to get a mirror(s), too! i am loving all these tips you’re sharing! ♥

  7. thanks for all the tips. You are so generous! It’s great to see the setup!

  8. The pictures look great and so do that date cake! I’m so hungry for an afternoon snack and that looks delicious!

  9. LOVE it. I’m learning more!! :0)

  10. that totally makes sense. not that any of my pictures are in the realm of photography but I am certainly catching the bug.

  11. I love all of your recent posts on food photography- I keep learning more and more! And that date cake looks really delicious, too.

  12. How awesome is this?!!! This is great information. Thank you. I love his book and I am making my way through it little by litlle. :-)

  13. I love reading all of your photo tips Hannah!

  14. Thanks, I just learned something new!!! I’m really getting into photography so those tips will definetly help.


  15. Great tip, Hannah. Thanks for sharing, you are very generous with your tips. :)

  16. Thank you for all these tips – I’m so green when it comes to photography and just have the basic equipment to get the job done; this helps so much!

  17. You are such a dear for sharing these tips with us, darling. Thank you!

  18. Oh! I’ve been looking for a good food photo book. Given that your shots are so lovely, I think I might follow your lead. And your tips are fabulous!

  19. Thanks for the tip! I’ve always had to Photoshop food pictures because I wasn’t sure how to fix the lighting.

  20. This is a great tip, thanks a lot :)

  21. thank you for this post…
    any pic taking advice comes in handy…
    you rock…

  22. I just had my own aha moment!

  23. Thanks for the great tip!

  24. Hannah
    I’m Nate and Paul’s dad
    I’m also a Photographer, some folks got in touch with me about a cook book and I’m trying to hook you up with them
    If you could give us a yell I will make the introductions
    By the way your work is beautiful
    I have also taught photography for 20 something years here in Ct also in Boston (NESOP & a bit at MIT)

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