Beatrice Schuler: Lighting in Food Photography

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All images by Béatrice Schuler. Used with permission.

Béatrice Schuler hails from Nova Scotia, Canada) fell in love with photography, lab work, and film in her teenage years. After a successful career in a different field, she rediscovered her initial passion several years ago. She tells us that she’s in love with lots of genres–street photography, landscapes, animals, food photography, etc. What she likes above all is playing with shadows and light, and “catching” moments of life.

And more importantly for some of you, she’s a lover of natural light.

Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.

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Beatrice: I always take my camera with me everywhere I go, even at restaurants and this is how it started, “catching” the nice display of the food before eating it. I like to play with the environment (ambient lighting, table set up, food display, etc..) and compose from that.

Phoblographer: What got you into food photography?

Beatrice: One client for example, who knows me for my other work, asked me if I was interested in taking pictures of their menu and kitchen for their website and menu page. I accepted with pleasure and I spent a whole day in the kitchen with the chefs to take pictures of the food preparation and then the finished plate that will be offered. After the shooting, it was tasting time, a good part too!

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Phoblographer: To you, what makes for a good food photograph?

Beatrice: Mmh, it should make the viewer want to eat your food/meal, while showing the food as real as possible, in their environment like the restaurant or in an neutral environment. I would like to explore more other ways/angles to show specific food.

Phoblographer: What do you feel makes your work unique and a signature to what only you can do?

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Beatrice: I cannot say whether my work is unique or not. People are the best judges. If they come back to me, it means they like what I do. It makes me happy and want to explore further. But I think good food photography means creating an original composition.

Phoblographer: You work with all natural and ambient lighting. So does this mean that your shooting capabilities are really narrow in terms of time frames?

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Beatrice: It is a choice to work with what appears to me. It makes me develop ways to find the best light and environment. Also, I do not have any studio or studio lightings, but I would like to give it a try one day.

Phoblographer: Talk to us about some of your absolute favorite lighting conditions when it comes to natural light food photography.

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Beatrice: When I have a window closeby (that I cover with a white thin silk fabric) and the light comes sideways onto the food (I put a reflector on the opposite side. That way, the does not look flat and have some with light shadows.

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