Tuesday, September 26, 2006

[photography] Using flash

I'm starting (I believe) to get the hang of food photography, after reading many guides around the internet and on your sites. My cheap camera is still an issue, however I am wondering how you guys work around this problem...

I would like to take an indoor, set table photograph, however the flash from my camera shows as being too "shiny" on the end picture. I understand that for individual dishes I can use a light box, however for general indoor photos what do you guys do?

Thanks in advance for any response.

This Post was written by Scott from Real Epicurean.


cybele said...

The key is a tripod. It really eliminates the shakes which can give you grainy/blurry photos and lets you take longer exposures in low light.

Also a camera with a manual white balance will really help - if not, then one that lets you select "indoor". Some color adjustments may need to be made after.

A cheap way to mitigate some of that "flash shininess" is to simply hold a piece of white office paper in front of the flash to diffuse it a bit.

What sort of camera/flash are you using?

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

cybele: My (cheap and nasty) camera is a Nikon L4, with built in flash.

The white paper idea is one I will try, thanks for that.

L said...

You'll want to do anything you can to avoid using your on camera flash. The flash will not only create undesired shine, but it alter the color and flatten the image. Using a tripod is definitely the best thing you can do.

For a really cheap light box solution, try a desk lamp set to the side, and a bit behind your dish (but out of the frame) and tape a piece of paper over it (watching it carefully in case it gets hot). You'll get much better results than shooting with your flash.

If you are shooting a whole room, try using a couple of lamps on either side of the table and pointing them at the ceiling (if you have a white ceiling). That should give you some nice diffused light. You'll still need to color correct for the type of light you used, but most hardware stores carry bulbs that give close to natural light, so you might look for those.

paul said...

You should avoid on camera flash at all costs, the light (in the sense of 'temperature') is harsh, the direct on light causes nasty shadows and flatenning of details and perspestive. built-in flashes that are close to the lens are hard to modify, but bouncing or diffusing them with opaque or translucent materials could create less harsh effects.

The hardware store will also have clip on lights with those metal reflectors for a simple two light set-up you can play with.

Cate said...

I bought this from Amazon and it works well, complete with tripod, and even a travel bag to take it with you. Hope this helps. Think I might even bring it with us on vacation next week...