I love to Shoot Food on White Background. Its my favourite choice any day.
One question I am often asked is How do you take food pictures on a White Background , absolutely seamless. Can you share your set up please ? Subject shot on White Background reflects absolute elegance,drama, Christmas-sy ,divine and what not.
This post will walk you through Backlighting Technique for achieving perfect White background images.
I am a part of various food photography forums, where there is a lot of mutual learning involved. Over the last 5 years, I have progressed in my food photography clicking really unpleasing pictures to nearly appealing pictures now. I am learning every single day with every new post, new images posted trying to understand how the image has been portrayed and why ?
Here is how I achieve it. There are two ways to do it. First method is Back lighting and the Second in Side lighting. For both the methods, we need to understand light and use reflectors and / or diffusers depending on the light. Side lighting is my absolute favourite method and this lighting technique hardly fails anyone. In this post I am going to share how to achieve this perfectly back lit image.
What do we need for this ?
- Subject | food you are going to Photograph
- A window covered with a white linen or a translucent sheet
- White Background – It can be a wooden board painted white or a white fabric/ linen or a white foam board
- Reflectors / Bounce – Two foam boards or cardboard’s wrapped with aluminium foils
- A camera placed on Tripod with Manual Settings
Here’s how my set up looks like to begin with .
Today’s weather was cloudy .A white bed sheet is draped on my window , as the light through the window is harsh. We are looking at a soft, toned light. Eggs tray loaded with eggs are sitting on the White wooden board , overlooking the window.
Basically when we call Back Lighting , our light source ( the window ) is behind the the subject. In this case the eggs.
How to Shoot Pictures with a White Background ?
Lets begin the fun,experimenting until we achieve the desired white background.
For the egg tray shots , I have picked an aperture setting of f/4 on my canon mm 1.8 lens. An aperture setting of f / 4 lets me sharp focus on the eggs in the first 2 rows , slowly getting shallow at the end of the tray.
EXIF info for Images below:
Lens : Canon 50 mm 1.8 lens
ISO: 500 for all photos
Aperture: f/4 for all photos
Shutter Speed :Varying
White Balance : Daylight ( you may leave it to Auto, if you are not sure how to adjust it)
For instructions on how operate manual mode , kindly read the camera manual .
Keeping the Aperture f/4 fixed , I fixed my camera on my tripod . Looking through the view finder, when the exposure value was right in the middle, I snapped the button .It was at 1/125 s, as in the first image. The image looked dark . Reducing your shutter speed further to 1/60 s – Slightly better than the previous one , but still dark.
Lets reduce the shutter speed further down to 1/ 40 s and we see the image getting brighter than before. Still not convinced .
I reduced the shutter speed further down to 1/25 s , looks much better with enough light in , isn’t it ?
Fixing my shutter speed at 1/25 s , I added a white board on to my left side to get rid of the dark area on the eggs . Much better and we are nearly there ain’t we ?
With a little shadow on the right side too , I have added one more white board on the right .
And here is how it looks like finally with shutter speed 1/25 s.
Keeping the foam boards in tact , Just to avoid any further doubt, if we could have gone any further, I lowered the shutter speed further – 1/20 s, 1/15 s and 1/ 13 s . Find the images below.
I found the image with 1 /13 s slightly over exposed.Hence eliminated it from my choice.While comparing the images with 1/ 25 s , 1/20 s & 1/15 s – I loved the little extra brightness I am obtaining at 1/15 s.