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    • My daughter @amacbean16 is starting a blog about raising 5 kids on healthy food. And I R gonna do some YouTube episodes about it.

      Here's my problem: I love the photos Greg Segall took about what kids eat around the world.

      So I bought a wood-looking laminate from Home Depot and converted my living room to a photo studio. Perhaps I goofed because the matte finish is a little big shiny. So... two lights to the sides at 45 degrees to the laminate?

      πŸ‘† It looks like Greg has a light down low shining from the upper right to show texture on her dress and some shadow action, no?

      Any advice on making food photos pop and avoiding unnecessary glare from shiny things like the plates?

    • Think you’re getting there with the light location but think it’s actually a bit higher than you think, but certainly from the direction you said you can see the glare in the plates so the light is the opposite side, plus the items in the top right have shadows cast. To cut down the reflections try a circular polariser, that may do the trick otherwise it will be a matter of adjusting the location of the light to avoid the reflection as much as possible. Looks like you have plenty of windows there so some great light coming in, maybe hang some white paper to get some reflected light back as well. So, you don’t get shadows from the window light, well not as harsh shadows as you may get. Maybe even bounce a speedlight off the roof back down at a low power. One more trick often used in food flat lays is the food is not always flat on the table but raised up on little supports of various kinds, so the plates are a little bit elevated off the table. Apart from that take a few shots and work the light locations reflector locations etc around a little to cut down refection etc, maybe start with a few empty plates before you have a subject that will get bored or food that may go off / melt etc depending what your shooting but try with empty plates as they will reflect the most, the Polariser may do the trick with luck. Looks like fun. Enjoy.Β 

    • Are you 100% tied to the wood for a background? It should work and Glenn gave some good starting tips on how to test it out. But different materials should give you a bit more freedom especially since things like the polarizer while getting rid of any reflections will leave those areas mostly just blown out.

      On top of that going for less reflective plating/coverings for the table would provide another avenue for a creativity with this. We see standard plates on wooden tables all the time with instagram/foodie culture. So this could help you stand out from the very start and maybe even give your videos a signature look.

    • I also found an example to go with my last post, these were my first food photos and while the shots themselves aren't the best technically* it does show off the difference that the types of dishes you use can have with the same lighting. While a polarizer filter would take away some of the reflections of the surrounding area in the bottom plate you still would see those light sources as big white areas. Compare this to the top bowl where only the lip is reflective and you just get small hints of the lighting which kinda act more as accent marks.



      *Looking at your early work in any field can really bring up those "WHY DIDN'T I DO X BACK THEN!?" head desk moments.

    • It looks like your floor laminate is curved, rather than truly flat - I see more reflections along the edge, but not the center of the panel

      I wonder if you would glue the laminate to a really flat piece of 3/4 in plywood if that might solve a lot of your issues with reflections.

      A polarizing filter might help also, as might some white reflecting panels, or a black flag as other have already suggested,

      I notice in your second image that the light is coming from the upper right with shadows pointing to the viewer's lower left, and low angled light should not cause unwanted highlight reflections from a truly flat surface.

    • This is such a basic question that I hesitate to ask it, but do you have a gray card?

      If not, you'll need one to get the color balance right.

    • Huh, I was in the mindset of blocking off the windows and adding my own light, but using the windows is an interesting idea. I might be able to move the laminate into the dining room, which has bigger windows and a hard tile floor So I can flatten the laminate. I’ll try it.

    • is it really not flat, I thought it had rounded edges and the light hitting the edges was from the windows on either side?

    • Good idea. I’m thinking the garage with its cement floor may be the place to do this. The food on top should make it flat.

      Why didn’t I think of a polarizer?

    • That's the tough part. I do have one idea, she could have her kids paint different parts of the wood you have. If you got matte paints that would take care of the glare and with 5 kids and their unique styles all across it it would be a constant visual representation of who she's cooking for and something that other parents and kids could relate to.

      If that doesn't work the rest of my advice is more general ideas, like if it could be something else tied to the content linking back to her/your family's history since there's already a generational aspect to this. Or there's the food itself, if she mostly cooks a certain way like for example vegetarian or vegan that would open up a lot of plant based motifs. Or simply just let her style shine through with it. Textiles would be an good choice lighting wise just clean up might be problem so I'd look to get 2-3 of whatever you use with that. And it could be a big ask but changing it up if not every episodes then every few (like every week or month) that could be another potential point of engagement if this takes off as people want to know what will be next.

    • I don't have any experience with food photography, but I was reminded of this video I saw a while back that may or may not have some helpful tips in it.

    • Well this is turning into a much bigger project than I figured I was getting into. What has happened to my living room? Wife thinks I may have lost it.

      The camera is up so high (lens barely visible way up high) because I only have a 50mm lens for the Nikon. You can’t see the ceiling, but it’s flat in the middle and slanted on the sides toward the backdrop. I have the lights pointed at the slanted bits.

      The tall pics in the foreground have white backs pointed in the direction of the backdrop.

    • Or there's the Nikon 20mm, I love mine because it is light :)

      It can be a bit much though, the 24mm f1.8 is similar in terms of image quality but the distortion isn't nearly as bad if you don't NEED that wide of a field of view.