While I was at a photography conference, I ran into my good friend, Lou Manna. Lou’s award-winning photographs have appeared in over 40 cookbooks, in marketing campaigns for Kraft Foods, Dannon and the Culinary Institute of America, as well as leading industry publications such as Wine Enthusiast and Food Arts. I’ve been impressed with his photography skills over the years and asked him to share a few lighting tips. Here are his tips to make your next food shoot look even better:

Having the ability to control the light on a subject is the key to successful photography—especially in the case of food photography. It is what truly creates a great photo that will make your mouth water!

Here are some lighting tips to keep in mind:

  • Take a custom white-balance reading off of a white or grey card for accurate color rendition.
  • Avoid using direct flash or any light source close to your camera angle, since it flattens the subject.
  • Bounce the flash or light off to the side and slightly behind the subject to give it more dimension and some shadow.
  • Use wax or parchment paper as a diffuser to soften the light source.
  • Put some detail back in the shadows by bouncing the light off household items—such as white paper and aluminum foil. You can create specular highlights by bouncing the light off small mirrors.

For additional tips, check out Lou’s blog/social network at www.digitalfoodphotography.com