Creative Lighting For Food Photography Using Glass Blocks

Lighting in food photography can be very challenging, but sometimes you just need to think differently. When using natural lighting for food photography glass blocks can help light the food / beverage that is being photographed. We use the glass to diffuse and direct the light in a different way than traditional reflectors or soft boxes. When using natural light, the common challenge is controlling the intensity of the light. Instead you have to use modifiers like mirrors to either decrease or increase the intensity of the light shining on the food product. Glass blocks work wonders as modifiers as they can control the intensity of the light and soften the lighting on the product. This technique is the closest thing to lowering the dimmer switch down on the sun without putting up black out curtains.

We also use glass blocks to create streaks of light across a food product set when using strobes. This helps to break up the light and creates light highlights and shadows on the backdrop. As you can see in the two images below, the shadows have drastically changed by using a glass block from the first “without glass blocks” and the second “with glass blocks.” Here is an example we did for a photo shoot for pizza:

Without Glass Block

BP imaging Food Photography Lighting Technique Without Glass Blocks

With Glass Block

BP imaging Food Photography Lighting Technique With Glass Blocks

As you can see the shadows surrounding the plate and on the pizza in the first photo are much more defined and hard. When using the glass blocks in the second picture, it is apparent that the shadows are softer and lighter. Diffusing the natural light can make a huge difference in any photo and can be the difference when shooting a product. For our work at BP imaging, the glass blocks are a must when photographing food to manipulate the hard directional main light from burning out the product in areas. We also use them in the background on a reflective surface to breakup the smoothness of the surface.

Grab a few glass blocks and see what they can do for you when photographing with natural lighting.

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