Radu Dumitrescu on Using Natural Light to Photograph Food

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All images by Radu Dumitrescu. Used with permission.

Radu Dumitrescu is a photographer based in Bucharest who recently undertook a fairly challenging gig–photographing food and making it look incredible. A local bakery by the name of PlayBake hired him to make their food look amazing. “They make these delicious products with very good ingredients, and they all have a rough, almost unfinished, home-made aspect.” says Mr. Dumitrescu. “My purpose was to shoot with an editorial approach.” This means that he needed more of a lifestyle product photography frame of mind to deliver the images to his client.

“I wanted to make people feel the same way I did when I was there, just by watching the photos.”

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Radu explains that he had limited time and very limited space due to the spot having only two tables and the fact that it can barely fit 6 people. “All of the sudden, there were cakes everywhere around me. I focused around a couple of products I liked most and treated them as hero products.”

“I was free to decide what to shoot. That can be both good and bad, but in this case it was good. I saw the cakes I connected with most and focused around them. There were some extra shots that I did to cover what my client needed, but I focused my time and energy on the ones I liked. My goal was to produce simple, natural looking photos that transmit the vibrant aromas and quality of the cakes.”

Grabbing a Nikon D3s and a 105mm Micro VR lens, he got to working with the natural light in the environment. What helped him is the fact that the window in the bakery is a north facing window and has no direct sunlight. But it’s a large window, it’s a big source of diffused light. As many food photographers will tell you, diffused light is a wonderful source of key lighting for your images. To full in the shadows, he used a large silver reflector. “It was one of the places that would have felt wrong not to use the ambient light.” explains Radu. He continues to state that he placed the products so the window light would come from the side and / or the back of the frame.

“I use a pretty natural way of editing my photos. I’m not looking to follow a certain processing style or trend.” explains Radu. “I just want to get the images to look the way I feel they should look. That is my whole approach to editing: getting your images to look as you imagined they should look.”

“My client was very happy with the results.” More of Radu’s beautiful images are after the jump. Be sure to check out Radu’s Facebook page and blog for even more.



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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.