How To Light Food With One Inexpensive Lamp

How To Light Food With One Inexpensive Lamp

Bouncing Light For A Professional Look

Shooting for food blogs doesn’t require expensive equipment.  I’ve posted about using inexpensive clamp lights before and today’s post is about utilizing one of these clamp lights to maximize the light in your next shoot.  If available, shooting under natural light is always the best.  But sometimes the natural light isn’t enough….or in this case is too much.  You see, when I was shooting this picture of lemons, the light from the window was very strong so it created harsh shadows.  I could have used a bounce card to bounce the light back onto the shadows, but even that wasn’t enough.  The solution?  My trusty clamp light.  This super easy tutorial is all about where to place the lamp to achieve maximum results.

What is Bounced Light?

Bounced light is an easy technique to understand.  Pointing light from a lamp directly onto the subject creates harsh, blown-out highlights and extremely dark shadows….not good for food photography.  The goal of lighting with lamps is to diffuse the light from the lamp so that it still hits the subject, but in a softer more subdued way.  There are many expensive gadgets and do-dads you can buy to attach to your lamp to achieve this, but why bother when you can simply bounce the light?!

Bouncing the light literally means that the light is pointed at angle and it “bounces” onto the subject.  By bouncing the light, the intensity of the light softens, therefore creating more even, softer light.

The Technique

Putting this technique into practice is really simple.  In the shot of the lemons above, I simple attached my clamp light to the back of a chair that was nearby my table.  I pointed the light up at the ceiling so that the light would hit the ceiling and bounce down onto the shadow side of the lemons.  That’s it!  The important thing to remember is that this light will only fill in the shadows…I’m not relying on it as my main light source…that’s what the window is for!  See the images below for more details:

How To Light Food With Lamp
Bouncing Light: food photography
Without Bounced Light
Technique: Light Food Lamp
With Bounced Light

Have you used a similar technique?