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How to use Backlighting for Food Photography
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How to use Backlighting for Food Photography

Backlighting is one of those beautiful lighting techniques that is so easy to achieve, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it before. All you really need are some good windows with some nice light, a reflector & the right angle!

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Place your subject with the window light behind it. The light should be spilling in enough that if you placed a reflective surface under the window you’d see a reflection.

Place yourself on the opposite side of the subject & get at a level where you can see the light on the back of your subject. Getting right about the same level as your subject will be a great place to start shooting.

Use a reflector to bounce the light back onto the front of the subject so the front isn’t shadowed. The reflector I’m using actually came from my table lamp.

Backlighting for Food PhotographyYou can see this image is perfectly fine, but it doesn’t have the glow of the backlighting because of the angle I was at. Backlighting for Food PhotographyIn this image I was low enough the back could really let that light shine in.

Backlighting for Food PhotographyHave you ever attempted backlighting in food photography? Was it easier than you originally thought?

9 Comments
  • February 6, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    I love your posts, Trisha! I’m convinced you need to start a blog all about food photography ;)

    • February 6, 2015 at 10:44 PM

      Awwww, you’re the sweetest Hannah! :)

  • Tanya Monroe
    February 6, 2015 at 6:59 PM

    this was what I needed to finally ” get it”. It clicked!!! Thank you. Can you please tell me what around the house things can be used as reflectors?

    • February 6, 2015 at 10:48 PM

      Tanya! I love hearing that. Thank you! When you asked, what can be used as a reflector were you referring to the white board I use to bounce light back into my frame or the part where I mentioned placing a reflective surface under the window? If you were asking about what is a good reflector, I use white foam boards you can get anywhere. What I’m using in this shot is a plastic reflector that came with my EGO lamp. If you were referring to the ‘reflective surface’ I mentioned that will help you find that good light, I would use anything that is an even surface. I actually just position myself low enough where I can see light on my dining room table. Then I wiggle the table in just the right spot so I know I’ll have that direct light. You could also use a plate to show that the light will be hitting just where you want. Hope this helps!

  • February 8, 2015 at 12:18 AM

    Trisha your images look amazing. The lighting is absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the tips.

  • Julie
    February 11, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    I love the wood too. Where did you find it?

  • February 11, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    Ohmygoooosh yes! Please write more posts like this! I’m terrible at backlighting and it’s one of the most gorgeous food shots when I can pull it off. I never know what angle to do the shots from, how close to get to the subject, how to manually set my settings and overall just flail at foodie backlighting. Any other tips you have would rock my world! Thanks!

  • Dami
    February 11, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    It really helps to see your set up. I like your use of the foam boards. Will have to give those a try! I really like your finished version.

  • Erin
    September 8, 2015 at 12:14 AM

    love the wood! Where do you find stuff like that?

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