Today we will take a picture using only artificial light like this. I’ll talk in another post about this type of light. The main subject (the “hero”) will be cheese (a local cheese that is called “telemea” – is very much like feta cheese just as much saltier). It can be eaten either alone or in salad, with polenta, or in sandwiches. This cheese is made from sheep, goat or cow milk. It goes well with tomatoes, which is why we will use them in our setup. To create an even more beautiful, more appetizing images, we will use ground pepper and wood for background. We will use a single light source, a strobe with one softbox. For light reflection, we will use white, black, and silver cards.
As seen in the diagram picture, we put the light in back left lateral, behind the subject, to create those beautiful highlights. This phenomenon occurs especially when photographing food that is either with oil or wet to reflect light from the back. This light gives our subject a feeling of freshness. However, using only the light from the side / back to our subject would create shadows too dark in the front, which is why we used these filling cards wrapped in aluminum foil which can be seen in the picture or you can buy form the Internet reflector cards like this.

In background we put some small-sized tomatoes (cherry tomatoes) but we did not want to put too much light on them to not distract attention from the hero. For this, we used a black card on the right side (to stop the light reflection from the silver cards), and, to stop the light coming from the softbox, we used a wooden board. First we sat cheese in front left and tomatoes in the right background, we did some tests and after we was satisfied with the result, we added cubes of tomatoes, chopped basil leaves and ground pepper over cheese. In the final shoot, we put between the main light and cheeses, a transparent bottle with water to create a more nice light effect. The focus was made on the first third of cheese. Finally, we open the raw file and post processing was very easy to do. No major adjustments were needed. We increased a little contrast and color vibrations, we applied 50% noise reduction just to be sure that everything is out of noise, and after, we made a very minor change to levels diagram. I will speak in another post with much more details about the post processing of images. Some recommendations:


  • use only fresh ingredients
  • do not use very much colors. In this post you can find more details about how to choose colors
  • try not to use more than three main colors to not distract attention from the main subject
  • when you adding spices or other ingredients (as we added ground black pepper, basil, tomato pieces) do it without appearing to be put with hand, simply throw them away. If you not like what happens with some small pieces, remove them or change them position. We use brushes and tweezers to be easier to do that.

Remember: details make the difference!

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