How I Set Up the Duffey Roll Cafe Food Photography Shoot

For photographers reading this blog or anyone interested, I am going to talk a little bit about how I set up a recent food photography shoot.  Hit Read the Rest of the Story if interested. :) Equipment used:

  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon 60mm 2.8 Micro
  • Nikon 105mm 2.8 Micro
  • Nikon SB-900 Speedlight flash
  • Nikon SB-600 Speedlight flash
  • Ebay-bought umbrella softbox
  • Lastolite collapsible reflector
  • Home-made flash clamp

First off, we chose to use the awesome exposed brick wall as a background because it made an good looking backdrop.  However, if I did this again, I would move the table much farther away from the wall and throw the background out of focus so it is less distracting.

The one problem I had was light coming in from the large window in the right side of the shot.  My reflector blocked most of this but I had to tape up a piece of newspaper to try to block out as much as possible.  I wanted this shot to be almost entirely lit with artificial light so that I could control it.

I started with just my SB-900 flash in an umbrella softbox on the left and a large white reflector on the right side.  This did not give me the exact look I wanted because the white reflector did not pick up enough light to fill in the right side.  A silver reflector would have been better here, but I did not have one with me.  My solution was to take another flash and aim it at the reflector as a fill light.  This opened up the shadows a bit on the right side of the dishes.

My flashes were in manual mode which is always recommended in a setting where you have control.  The main large light was set brighter than the light used for fill.  I used a tripod for most of the shots to get ultimate sharpness.  My camera settings were around 1/125 second at f/2.8 to 5.6 depending on the particular effect desired.  Thats about it.  Leave any questions in the comments and I'll try to answer them.