Photo Lab – Direct Light vs. Diffused Light

Between feeding two kids and a dog and getting them ready for church this morning (the kids, not the dog), I was able to get in some practice with lighting to share with y’all.

This is the second installment in a new series intended for food bloggers who have little to no photographic training and are trying their best to take gorgeous photos for their sites.

I definitely fall into this category, so I am not claiming to be an expert (not even close). I am at the bottom of the totem pole as far as food photographers go, but am working on my craft everyday. If you are new to food photography too, I hope this series is a quick and easy tool to help you get better photos up on your sites until you can invest the time in a class with a professional.

In my first post I showed you a couple of photos that I took in my kitchen with indoor lighting, then a couple of photos that I took in the same room with just natural light coming from french doors. It’s crazy how different they turned out.

Today I want to glean from the expertise at Cooking without Limits once again from her post Food lighting I. If you have a minute, you should really check out her blog.

Remember, you don’t want direct sunlight falling on your subject. If you feel the window light is too harsh, drape a white bed sheet over the window to mellow and diffuse the light. Place a table close to your window and 2 white reflectors for front fill and you’re ready to go. Have fun! | Cooking without Limits

I don’t have white reflectors yet, but I took her advice literally this morning and draped a white bed sheet over my french doors to see how it would affect my photos.

Here are unedited photos of what we had for breakast, my Acai Bowl recipe, taken in light coming in directly from my north facing french window. They look okay, but they are surprisingly dark, a little sharp, and have a blueish tint to them. Plus you can see the refection of the window on the plate on the right.


Here are unedited photos taken in the same spot but with a white bed sheet draped over the windows. As you can clearly see, the lighting is a lot softer and surprisingly brighter, even before editing.


And here’s the final product after some tweaking with iPhoto.



The sheet really did make a difference! I’d love to see what the white reflectors would have done to these photos.

I don’t think that’s too shabby for someone who doesn’t know their way around a camera yet, do you? You can do it too!

So go out and get yourself an inexpensive white bed sheet, turn off those lights and have some fun! Those are the first two pieces of advise I have for you guys so far. Wait, what kind of blog is this anyways, lol 😉


8 replies »

  1. Great tip and photos! I’ve just begun putting together a website about veggies, but never thought about photos. I haven’t taken pictures since my kids were young and had to borrow my daughter’s point-and-shoot camera. It’s going to take me a little while to get started, so I really appreciate your explanations for beginners.


    • I’m so glad it helps. I realize the irony of someone like me who doesn’t know much about photography having a blog sharing photo tips. It’s kind of like the blind leading the blind:-) But when I look online for photo tips most of them are written for people who already know the terminology and have some experience, so the tips go way over my head. I’m in the same boat sat you, learning as I go. So I decided to blog about it!

      BTW, I am so excited to have the time to comb through your website. I love all the recipes I’ve looked at so far, especially the rice cakes (appam?). The cuisine of Goa is so different than the west which makes it totally intriguing to me. I’ll probably be posting photos of my Goan efforts on my blog and will definitely credit you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the great tips and illustrations Cecile. You have really great pictures on your blog :-). I too am new to all the photography stuff and I do not own a professional camera. I Photoshop my images that have been taken with my Note 2. I will try your suggestions next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure if my camera is considered professional either. It’s an Olympus OM-D E-M10 digital mirrorless, not a DSLR. Several photographers have told me, and I’ve read, that many professional photographer are using digital mirrorless cameras now. They are more compact and take very good photos. I need to get Photoshop. I’ll ask for it for Christmas or a new lens 🙂 I am just using iPhoto right now. Look forward to seeing the photos on your blog!


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