Café and restaurant

The importance of light

Whether you photograph food in a professional capacity, or like to capture your restaurant dining experiences for visual mementos to be shared on social media, shooting in a restaurant can pose challenges. However, regardless of the occasion, the lighting on the venue has a really large impact on the outcome. Food photographer, Paul Lindqvist, and food content creator and stylist, Marisa Alvarsson, share some thoughts about their work processes, plus a few tips for capturing images that faithfully illustrate the appeal of restaurant food.

MissMarzipan

For the food content creator/stylist

"My name is Marisa Alvarsson, also known as “Miss Marzipan” online. I have created, styled and shot numerous homemade dishes as a cookbook author, food blogger, content creator for social media and editorial publications. For me, the authenticity of the dish portrayed is really crucial, i.e. as it is presented to me, or in the setting where it would naturally be served."

Paul Lindqvist, photographer

"In my work, no matter the object I am portraying, I am constantly aware of the importance of light, or the lack thereof."

For the photographer

"My name is Paul Lindqvist and I am a commercial photographer who specialises  in food, product and portraits. I am based in Stockholm, but my work takes me all over Sweden. I have been working actively as photographer since 2007."

Paul
Dish

Ambient light

Above you see the same dish photographed in two different light settings. The soft, warm ambient lighting above illuminates the texture and details in food, revealing form and dimension. Within the soft light spectre, there can be different types of mood and degrees of shadows, but they are all close to the natural light.

Dish

Flash light

When the dish is photographed in an artificial light with a sharp flash, you get a different mood. This type of hard and cold light brings out the cool and clean feeling from the plates and glasses, but the food might be perceived as a bit flat. Sharp artificial light can lose detail but add drama, dimension, and depth to compositions.