Camera Settings For Food Photography – Of course, some settings control lighting and DoF, freeze and blur motion, and capture sharp, focused, quality photos. But what those exact settings are depends on a number of things. Unless you’re shooting in the same location as me, at the same distance, with the same light, the same …

Camera Settings For Food Photography

Camera Settings For Food Photography – Of course, some settings control lighting and DoF, freeze and blur motion, and capture sharp, focused, quality photos. But what those exact settings are depends on a number of things.

Unless you’re shooting in the same location as me, at the same distance, with the same light, the same lens, and going for the same creative elements as me, your setup will be different.

Camera Settings For Food Photography

Camera Settings For Food Photography

Instead, it is important to understand the relationship between the concept and the desired effect. This will help you discover the best camera settings for food photography.

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In this ultimate guide to camera settings for food photography, I’ll cover each one with images and example settings.

It is important to understand that the relationship between our creative concept is determined by the settings that bring us the optimal, desired effect.

Since settings are related to the above, these are not hard and fast rules, but rather general guidelines for settings. However, when it comes to still life, we can mostly change the shutter speed because the objects are not moving.

For the best quality images, we need to shoot in good quality light with a quality lens. Assuming we’re shooting in good quality light, in general:

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This is certainly reflected in the use of artificial light, strobes or flashes, and is one of the reasons why photographers love artificial light. Our ability to change light intensity allows you to choose a low or prime ISO and a faster shutter speed.

Lowering the ISO to base ISO gives us the least amount of noise or grain. Faster shutter speeds help increase sharp focus and reduce camera shake.

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We want to aim for the lowest possible ISO and the fastest shutter speed possible, which will give us the exposure we need for the concept.

Camera Settings For Food Photography

It is the combination of settings, quality lens and flash that can give the image a quality look. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get quality images out of flash photography.

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One of the main reasons for shooting in manual mode is to have control over every setting to bring our creative imagination to life. Optimal exposure is a relationship between shutter speed, ISO and aperture.

Increasing the aperture or ISO or lowering the shutter speed to allow more light into our camera results in an increased exposure.

Lowering the aperture or ISO or increasing the shutter speed to reduce the amount of light entering our camera reduces the exposure.

This photo was taken at sunset this fall. Since the light was out, I chose to lower the shutter speed

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To let in more light for the effect I want. I was able to do this thanks to shooting on a tripod.

Then I decided to shoot a shallower field and changed the aperture to f/2.8. Because I wanted the same desired exposure, I lowered the ISO quality (instead of increasing the shutter speed).

Freezing action requires a fast shutter speed. By fast, I’m talking about 1/800 sec and above.

Camera Settings For Food Photography

When freezing motion, it’s important to focus on a fast shutter speed. Other settings will depend on the type of light we use.

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When using natural light, we cannot easily control its strength (unlike artificial light). Because we need a fast shutter speed, we change the ISO and/or aperture to get the exposure we want.

A higher aperture (smaller f-stop) lets in more light. Or you can increase the ISO to increase the ISO of the final image.

I shot this baked brie dish on a mild fall day with my 105mm macro. Since I wanted to capture action in the focal plane, I decided to use a smaller (larger number) aperture of f/8.

With the combination of the smaller aperture and fast shutter speed needed to capture the honey shower (1/800 sec), I had to increase the ISO to 6400.

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With more light to work with, I knew that having a deeper aperture would help capture drops in focus. No matter how fast your shutter speed is, if the subject you’re moving is outside the focal plane, it won’t be *in* focus. It will be fuzzy or soft, but not due to movement.

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ISO 6400 is not always an option for everyone, depending on the type of camera and how new it is. Older cropped sensors don’t handle ISO as well as newer technology on full-frame cameras.

Now, if you need additional control over aperture and DoF, there are two things you can do here that allow me to lower the ISO.

Camera Settings For Food Photography

You can move farther and use narrower focal lengths (lenses). This puts more distance between the camera and the subject. A larger aperture (smaller f-stop) appears to have more depth the closer you are to the subject.

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When shooting artificial light, the choice of settings is different, because we can now control the strength of the light.

Most flashes or strobes have what is called a maximum shutter sync speed. This means there is a limit to the shutter speed we can use. This limit is usually 1/200 sec.

1/200 second may not be fast enough to freeze motion, but 1/200 second does indeed freeze motion due to the very short duration of the flash. When I want to freeze action with my strobe, my camera settings for food photography are set to 1/200 second.

Since we can control the flash/strobe power, we don’t have to increase the ISO to get the desired effect as we would with natural light.

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For bright shots using artificial light, I lower the ISO to ISO or close to it whenever possible and keep the aperture at an f-stop that matches my creative vision. Then change the intensity of the light.

The caveat here is that if you use fast continuous shooting, you may need to lower your flash/strobe power and adjust your settings to accommodate. So the strobe can still sync (usually not at full power) and account for any processing time.

When I need to use high-speed photography, I lower the light output to keep it in sync. Then increase the ISO as it is usually at or near the base ISO.

Camera Settings For Food Photography

The exposure for this French onion soup was quite high at base ISO. I had to increase the ISO so that I could reduce the light output by about half to use the high-speed continuous mode and still sync the strobe.

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Blurring motion or motion in an image is a little easier than freezing the motion. For motion blur, we need to have a slow shutter speed, usually 1/200 sec. The slower the shutter speed, the more motion blur we see.

To capture blur in a moody shot, I usually work with less light, so I may need to increase the ISO and/or aperture. This is where I think about the highest f-stop I can work with my concept and how far away I am from my subject. Then I increase the ISO to where I feel comfortable.

The Nikon Z6 I shoot with holds the ISO very well, so I can usually push the ISO more than other cameras or older cropped sensors.

You can see the difference between the blurred motion above, on the left we have a low shutter speed that blurs the falling sugar candy. On the right, a very fast flash freezes the fallen gem dust at about the same shutter speed.

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Motion blur is possible with artificial light, and you can get this look most easily by using a continuous artificial light source.

A continuous artificial source can be continuous light, such as the modeling light on my Aputure Light Storm 120D or B10 Profoto Strobe.

The main difference between artificial and natural light continuous light is that we can control both our settings and the light intensity. Most of the time this means that we are able to change the lighting because we don’t have to use relatively high ISO values.

Camera Settings For Food Photography

To blur this cast shot, I set the shutter speed to 1/60 second so that the motion is blurred. I used the modeling light on my strobe, which is not as powerful as my constant light.

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You can use shutter speed to give your action a creative effect. For example, this is a carbonated liquid, and due to the amount of motion blur, you can hardly see any bubbles in the liquid.

A higher f-stop (smaller number) will have a shallower DoF. Conversely, a lower f-stop (larger number) gives more depth of focus. But nothing is simple in photography. There are always relationships.

The amount of depth in your photos depends on the aperture we shoot with, the distance from the subject, and the plane of focus.

Because depth of field is affected by aperture and distance, narrow macro lenses (90mm/100mm/105mm) can appear shallower than normal lenses.

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This is not the case. There are many macro lenses

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