How to Light Food Photography

When you are taking a good food photography, the sun is your light source. However, if you are shooting indoors by a window, as most of our food photographers do when using natural light, then your light source can be the sun, windows, and fill lights. What is the best lighting for food photography?

best lighting for food photography

Tips to Light Your Food Photography?

Part 1: Natural Light

After you are sure of the creative style you like, looking the weather. If you want a high quality of natural light, you may need to plan your photo around weather. Natural light changes constantly, so you need to adjust camera settings more frequently to adapt to the light.

natural light for food photography

You may have different colors in the same photo at different shooting time. To understand the color temperature and how it affects the images you take, try shooting the same scene every hour of the day and compare the results.


Many food bloggers shoot at the same time every day. This allows them to obtain consistent results that match their style. You need to adjust the white balance setting on the camera to accommodate the color changes you will see in the white and neutral in the food image.


Part 2: Food Photography without Natural Light

You can carry additional equipment with you to compensate for it.

Fill ring light kit for food photography: If you have a budget and use an iPhone, then you need a complete solution for small food photography projects. You may find 10-inch LED ring light kits very useful because they come with soft light cover, light mode and brightness adjustment, desktop ring light with stand tripod suitable for iPhone. Meet all your needs for indoor food photography.


Buy the Suitable Ring Light with Stand

But just in case, please check the 10-inch ring light. It has adjustable brightness and temperature control, so you can turn up or down the amount of light you need (convenient when shooting), and it is very portable because the parts can be detached and put into your backpack at will.

ring light kit for food photography

Looking for the Location

Generally, it is best to place the camera on a tripod in the middle of the ring light for the most uniform lighting, but you can also use the ring light as a top light on the subject. It emits an angelic light, but it can also be a good place for food photography.


You can place your ingredients in the kitchen, by the window, in the garden, and start taking pictures under the sun. You will be able to try different ring lights and lighting settings.


Three-point Lighting

Add a lighting layer to your main light source, so if you are using a ring light, please add two more lights at the correct angle and distance, and you will find your photos become professional! 

In terms of food photography lighting, the role of three-point lighting is to add beautiful depth and dimension to your images, because you can better control the contrast of light and shadow.



The phone holder in the center of the ring light can clamp your smartphone and stabilize the camera lens without having to purchase an additional camera tripod. It can be charged via USB and has 3 levels of brightness intensity. It is very suitable when you are out.


Part 3: Auxiliary Tools for Food Photography


If the light shines directly on the subject, the light will be harder. If you use a diffuser, the reflector will reflect light back to your subject to help prevent certain parts of the image from becoming too dark. 

This produces a soft, low-contrast appearance with almost no shadows. Most photographers tend to like this kind of lighting. If you have a lot of direct light, a diffuser is recommended.

diffuser for food photography


When you post food photos on Instagram, you want to have a very balanced filter. So, choose your colors and use them to create a beautiful feed. People eat with their eyes first, so be sure to choose colors and balance to attract them! 

If you want to provide some good background for your food, use your laptop. Set the brightness according to your preference, find the wallpaper you want to use as the background, place the food in front of the screen and take a social food photo.

backdrop for food photography

Try to take photos from different angles. Some food plates (such as pizza) look better from above, while burgers look best from the side.


Part 4: Photo Editing Application

Some food photos can be restored in post-production like Instagram, but most food photographers prefer to shoot in neutral daylight so that the food maintains its natural color.

Editing Photo

Instagram photo editing

Editing is an important part of the photography process. When you view images from the camera on your computer, they may appear flat.


There are several different editing programs that can help alleviate some of the difficulties in using natural light, and you may not be able to solve these problems only with a camera. You can use Capture One, Lightroom and Photoshop for post-production.


You have mastered the lifestyle food photography lighting and the photography techniques, now it is time to put all this into action. Start preparing to photograph your meals or delicacy.

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