On a recent post, I suggested using the constant LED flash from two Samsung Galaxy phones. What if you have only one light source or phone? Get your opposite sitting partner to hold the light at about 1 feet above and behind the plate, around the 2 o’clock position. Food always looks better with light skimming above it to bring out the texture.
When working with a single light for food, think of it as early morning sunlight from a kitchen window. It is low, directional and it caresses. Since there is no light from the front, it may be a bit dark. No worries. Put a white napkin under your chin and it should reflect enough light to fill the shadows. I usually use a sheet of folded white A4 paper I carry in my bag.
A single LitePanels mobile unit was used here but your phone LED light should work just as well. While waiting for food you can play with your phone or talk to your partner (who is probably also busy checking his or her phone). Or you can study the ambient lighting and start imagining how you would use additional lights, if necessary.
This shot took only about 15 seconds to shoot from the time the ‘fish and chips’ arrived on the table. Don’t sweat it if you can’t seem to get it right. Remember; you are not aiming for perfection. Just a decent pic for social media. Some dishes are just not photogenic even though it may be tasty. If you encounter such, just put your camera away and focus on the eating.
Olympus OM-D, ISO 200, f5, 1/50 sec.