Lighting for Food Photography and Other Tips – Interview with Liz Vidyarthi

Liz Vidyarthi Light is the most important element of photography. Without light there is no photography. Understanding light and how to use it is important not just for food photographer, but any type of photographer. In this interview, we talk with Liz Vidyarthi about lighting, what she uses for lighting for night photo shoots and her tips on taking food pictures.

Let’s  Welcome Liz Vidyarthi

Liz Vidyarthi is the person behind Zested blog. You’ve also seen her in Food Photographers to Watch list (which needs to be updated and I need to add some other awesome photographers).

In this interview we talk about lot of interesting food photography topics. We talk about some light, shooting food at night, her photography gear and her favorite food photographers. Listen this interview to learn how she got started, what lighting tricks she uses and how she shot that photo at the top.

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How Liz got started into Food Photography

Liz talks about how she got started and how she collects the clippings from food magazine to improve her photography.

  • She started in food photography as “after work” hobby
  • She is self-learnt photographer.
  • To improve her skills,. she observes and studies wide variety of photos.
  • Reading and analyzing a photo helps her update her own photography skills
  • Her other photography interests are in the areas of photojournalism, culture, travel and people

Lighting for Food Photography

Liz talked about her lighting preference. She prefers natural light when it is available. If not she tries artificial light and starts lighting it from the back of food and uses reflectors to modify the light.

Photography Tricks for Shooting Food at Night

Liz explained her tricks for shooting at night. After work she likes to shoot as quickly as possible. This requires a quick set up and lighting at night. She uses a flash through an umbrella and has at least one flash set up and may be a reflector or a second flash. For background she uses, white background or napkin. This is the basic food photo shoot set up that she uses. She sets up the table and everything before even starting to cook. This saves her a lot of time and keep the food fresh.

Her Photography Gear

Liz first tests her lenses and then purchases the lens. Below is Liz’s photography gear.

  • Camera Body: Canon 5D Mark II
  • Lenses: 24-70mm lens, Tamaron 50mm Macro, 85mm 1.2

Other Food Photo Topics

There were other topics that we touched upon.

  • Lighting with an Umbrella
  • How Liz got started
  • How to make food presentation
  • How she shot the photo at the top

Liz’s Advice For Aspiring Food Photographers

  • Practice, Practice, Practice.
  • Feedback is hard to get but very important for growth. Get feedback on your photos (Neel’s notes: Several readers have started sending me their photos for getting feedback. If you would like feedback on your photo, please leave a comment here.)

Links We Talked In This Interview

  • A La Mode Journals – Currently one of my favorite blogs, both travel and food
  • Souvlaki for the Soul – I love that Peter makes interesting dishes, and has a distinctive style of rich blues and textures
  • Sunday Suppers — Karen’s styling is beautiful, and she works with a lot of great local vendors
  • Sprouted Kitchen – Healthy food, and a very fresh unfussy style
  • Photography Blog that talks about how to go pro and issues with that.
  • Strobist a Blog about lighting and using strobes and flash


Thanks Liz

Thank you Liz for your time and for talking to us about your food photography tips and lighting at night.

Please give your feedback by leaving a comment below or visit her Food Photo and Recipe Blog and give feedback.

Interview with TasteSpotting…

…that’ll be published next Wednesday. Recently did interview with editor of Tastespotting and will be posting that on 6/16.  Don’t miss that post. If you are here first time, get future food photography interviews by subscribing to the RSS feed or get email updates. Read more interviews with food photographers

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  1. Great interview! Thanks so much to both of you!

  2. It’s amazing how she’s self-taught. I would never have thought that it was so. Great interview, Neel!

  3. Lighting is indeed a big part of photography. When I was a newbie in this field, I was amazed at how much of a difference lighting can do. Insufficient lighting can make drab photos. However, given the same subjects but coupled with adequate and creative writing, photos can be stunning.

  4. I have never heard of Liz Vidyarthi before and I have been in the food photography field for a few months now. After watching the video though, I think she is brilliant! Do you know where I can find out more about her?

  5. I agree, lighting is an important part of photography. Without the right lighting your pictures will not come out nearly as good as they could have. I am still new to photography, but you provided some great tips that I want to try to increase my picture quality. Thanks!

  6. It is my first time hear the term “food photography”. I always think that photography must be related to animal, nature, and woman. Nice interview, anyway. :p

  7. Such great insights from this interview! I’m pretty glad I’m not into food photography. Losing my baby weight would be so much more difficult then! ;)

  8. Very interesting post. I love food photography…thanks to both of you. hugs.

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