Using daylight for food photography

Carrot cake diptych
I love shooting food in daylight. But many people imagine that it is easier than shooting with proper photographic lighting. In fact there are as many things to get wrong when shooting in daylight as there are when controlling the light with studio lights. The decisions I make are much the same whichever way I am shooting and often the main reason to use flash is to maintain consistency through a day’s shoot in changeable weather.
This cake was about six feet from a window on a very dull morning and at first I though the daylight was sufficiently diffuse to give the effect I was looking for but as soon as I looked at it I realised that the shadows were far too pronounced for the image I had in mind. The window is quite narrow and had restricted the light in a way that could be really useful if that were what I needed!
My solution was simply to unfold a large Lastolite diffuserand position it between the window and the cake.
This allows about half the light through, but now it is gentle and wraps itself around the cake letting me see all the detail and making it look light and soft and inviting – at least that’s what I think!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy J says:

    That’s so simple but what a huge difference it makes. Thanks for sharing!


  2. John Ferdinand says:


    I was wondering what program you use to merge the photos in to one like this one ?

    Love your blog,



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