Did We Have a Moment?: A Trio of Classic Restaurant Photography Food Lighting Setups

One Photography Lighting Tool, Three Tasty Angles

Let’s face it, restaurant photography can be a real pain in the apron strings. It can be fraught with poorly lit locations and photoshoot scheduling more uncertain than the vibe you are getting from your girlfriend’s mom on bikini pool day. But fear not, fellow photographers, for I have discovered the secret sauce to capturing drool-worthy images that will leave your clients begging for more. Halumin, our new food photography BFF, is here to save the day with three easy lighting setups that will have your taste buds tingling.

Setup 1 – The Dinner With Mommy

Let’s dive right in, shall we? First up is the classic 45-degree angle shot, or as I like to call it, “The second best view from dinner with Sally’s mom.” This bad boy is all about this classic front view with mouthwatering close-ups that have us reaching for our stretchy pants.

Setting up the freestyle Halumin H18 with accessory legs, powered by two speedlights, is a breeze. With your dish on the edge of the table and Halumin hanging over the edge, use the accessory legs to hold Halumin at a slant over the plate. Want to control your background lighting? No problem! Halumin’s got you covered with adjustable light control rings. Flip the upstage light control ring outward to illuminate your background or keep it pointed inward to keep the background dark. 

Voilà! Here’s what the real-world image looks like.

45 degree front restaurant food photography angle
45 degree front restaurant food photography angle

Setup 2 – Daddy’s Little Social Media Star

Next on our culinary adventure is the ever-popular flat lay, perfect for making your social media followers want to place the order. The best part? There’s no need to change anything from the previous setup.

Just hold your camera above the plate and let Halumin work its magic, banishing unsightly hard shadows while accenting textures. Feast your eyes on this real-world example.

Flat lay restaurant photography food composition.

Setup 3 – Portrait of Wine Goggle’s End

Finally, we come to my personal favorite, the portrait shot complete with a delectable beverage, one that could be to blame for an occasional misreading of the situation  (wine, anyone?). This setup lets you capture the ambiance of the restaurant while showcasing the tantalizing plate of food. Is that your dinner guests hastily leaving thru the door in the background?

To set this image when working solo, reconfigure the Halumin ACLs so that they are like legs for it to stand on. Then prop it against the table, and get ready to unleash your inner food photographer once more. Don’t forget to add a blackout strip on Halumin near the wine glass to reduce the reflection on it’s edge.

Check out the real-world image.

Food and restaurant photography portrait image of wine glass and plate.

Restaurant Photography Success (Not Relationship Advice)

And there you have it, folks – a menage e trois of quick lighting setups with Halumin that’ll have any restaurant clamoring for your talents. Halumin makes photography lighting faster and easier with less gear, putting you in the position to be more versatile with your clients schedules. That’s going to make your client relationships easier but should have not correlation to your personal ones.  Who knew restaurant photography could be this effortless and as satisfying as knowing you never loved each other anyway?

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