No matter what you may have read, what you may have heard or what you have been told a standard flash or speed light is not suitable for food photography. When taking photos of food you have to work quick and that means nailing the composition and the exposure as fast as possible.
There is a time when the food will be past its best and will not look good in a photo, i.e. there is a finite time limit. Spend too long and the food will cool down and stop steaming, wilt, start leaking etc. obviously depending on what it is you’re trying to photography of course.
For example, if you spend too long trying to photograph a shepherd’s pie the potato is likely to sink. If you spend too long trying to photograph a plate of steaming greens they will cool down, the steam will dissipate and the greens will look boring. Spend too long trying to photograph a chicken and mushroom pie cut in half and the filling will leak. I’m sure you get the picture.
When you use a flash it is impossible to tell where the light falls, whether the light is too bright or not, where the shadows are, how dark the shadows are, whether the scene will be over exposed with the shutter speed/aperture selected, whether the scene will be under exposed with the speed/aperture etc. until you press the shutter button and review the photo. If you don’t nail it the first time, you won’t have much time to have another go, and if you don’t nail it on the second (or if you’re lucky, third) attempt it’s going to be game over.
The best lighting solution for food photography is a continuous LED light. With a continuous light you can move the light or lights around the subject and get them in the best location for the type of shot you are trying to get. With a continuous light you can check the brightness of the light and increase or decrease the intensity as required. Using LED lights you can check the scene isn’t going to be over or underexposed and make the necessary amendments. When using continuous LED lights you can set everything up and make sure it’s exactly how you want it before you press the shutter button.
Using LED lights you can get everything set up before you even place the food in the scene, just to make sure you have everything nailed. Now you can’t do this using a speed light.
The continuous LED lights I use for my food photography is the Yongnuo YN300II LED lights, and whilst they are classed as video lights they are perfect for food product, and this is what I bought them for. Rather than write about how good the Yongnuo YN300II LED lights are I thought it would be quicker, easier and not to mention less painful to make a short unboxing clip, giving my thoughts and opinion as I went, as below:-
The Yongnuo YN300II LED lights are very easy to use, intuitive and very user friendly. They are completely fool proof and if I can figure out how everything works, without reverting to the user guide, then anyone can. For a quick demonstration on how easy the Yongnuo YN300II is to use check out the following clip:-
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.