Food Photography Lighting: The Ultimate Guide to Food Lighting

If you use any form of social media or you're an avid art fan, or you're in the foodservice industry, then you've more than likely seen the amazing work of a 'Foodie Photographer'. Food photography is more than snapping a quick picture of your meals on your phone. It's considered an art and can skyrocket the attention surrounding a restaurant and its menu. Many restaurants gain traction and use artistic images to showcase what makes their business stand out, some even drawing attention worldwide if their menu items are trend worthy.

Why lighting in food photography is so important

By creating appealing food and showcasing it through aesthetic images, your marketability increases and the food you serve brings more attention to your restaurant just based on an attractive appearance. The trick to the art is having the best lighting for food photography. Lighting serves an incredible purpose in the food photography industry, and can be compared to a paintbrush. When taking images of food, you can use the lighting to paint and alter the way items stand out.

For example, if you're in a dark or dim room, the food you're photographing isn't going to stand out in comparison to a well-lit room that provides a stark view of the item. Using the lighting to change how food is perceived can help a customer visually decide on menu items they might want to order.

How to get the best lighting for your food

Changing the lighting in a room or the surrounding area to better highlight the food in front of the camera can help you manipulate the view to be what you want. Many food photographers rely on soft light mixed with natural light to spotlight the textures of food and drinks. By placing the focus on the hard to capture details of food, you can make your subject item appear in a dramatic way without looking too sharp or fake.

Using strobe lights, natural light, and modifiers to adjust your lighting can allow you to make an image appear the way it would to the human eye. This helps your images appear realistic and allows you to control the presentation.

Ways you can modify lighting to your benefit include but are not limited to:

  • Placing your setup next to a window
  • Using a diffuser between your subject and the natural light
  • Utilizing a reflector with your diffuser to control shadows
  • Setting up a food photography lightbox for back lighting and side lighting
  • Having the right editing software

Use PaintShop Pro to edit your photos

Once you've taken the images you need, the next step is editing them to your idea of perfection. Using tools in PaintShop Pro, you can adjust the lighting even more to focus on target areas of the image. Created with all of the graphic design tools you need, you'll have access to all of the editing features you need in order to enhance your food photography services.

With PaintShop Pro, you can correct small blemishes or colors with ease. Built in tools include:

  • AI Enhancement
  • Intuitive texts, brushes, textures, and patterns
  • Multiple workspace customization
  • Customizable filters


To sum things up, food photography lighting can be the difference in creating marketable material and looking like the average foodie instagrammer. With the right lighting, a calculative setup, and the right equipment you can set yourself up for success with the best lighting for food photography. Want to discover how PaintShop Pro can further give you an advantage with the best lighting for your food related images? Download the trial today and take advantage of all of the unique editing tools.

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