Simple Food Photography Setup: Croissants

Two croissants. Two lights. One delicious image.

In this food photography class, Karl and Anna cover the easy studio lighting setup behind this bright, fresh image.

Using only two studio lights, they demonstrate how to photograph food at home using a simple lighting setup with affordable modifiers. Karl also explains the advantages of using studio light over natural light and shows how to control the light to maximise shape, form and three dimensionality of an image.

In this class:

  • Show how to photograph food at home
  • How to photograph food using studio light
  • Two light food photography setup
  • Affordable modifiers for food photography
  • How to control studio light to enhance shape and form

If you have any questions about this class, please post in the comment section below.

Once you’ve mastered natural light photography, one of the next steps is to try photographing with studio lights. This class, where Karl and Anna photograph an image of croissants, demonstrates a simple lighting setup ideal for those who are new to studio lighting or only have minimal studio equipment.

For this shot Karl uses studio lights with affordable accessories to re-create the feel of early morning light, showing how to achieve this using one or two lights.

Lighting setup for food photography

The lighting setup for this shoot required two lights with basic modifiers.

The advantages of using studio light instead of natural light is that it allows you to work at any time of day. As Anna explains, this is a huge advantage for her as she does a lot of her work in the evenings. Studio lights also allow for extra creative opportunities compared to when using only natural light.

Two important points to consider when working with studio lights is the balance and position of your lights.

Karl starts by discussing the balance of the lights and how, by simply adjusting the power of the fill light, you can either increase or decrease three dimensionality in an image.

Lighting for food photography

Important considerations when it comes to lighting is the balance of your lights and how this impacts the shape and three dimensionality of the subject.

The second point to consider is the position of the light. The direction and height of your lights can have a big impact on the overall image. The direction of the light can help add shape, form and texture while the position (distance and height) of the lights will influence the contrast and shadows. You can see from the video that lights in a lower position will produce more shadows and give the feeling of early morning or late evening, while lights in a higher position will have shorter shadows.

These two points are important to consider whenever you’re using studio lighting. Regardless of whether you’re photographing a portrait with one light or a product with five lights — understanding how to control your lights will allow you to create the best possible image.

Food photography croissant image

The final croissant image.


  1. These are great but can we have more live on-location classes say in a restaurant or bar? Because everything goes for a toss when you’re shooting in a high-pressure environment with quick turnovers, factoring in the ambiance, and working with food coming right out of the kitchen. Would love to gain insights from your expertise in such situations please!

    1. Hi, our food photography section has a great range of classes and the pace of the classes are set so that people can absorb the information. If we working for a client then of course the process would be much shorter because we wouldn’t be explaining what we are doing and I’d expect it would take about half the time compared to these demonstrations. My experience shooting on location for many top hotels and restaurants has not been the same as yours, often I’ve requested that shoots on location take place after or before service and I’m given space to set up and I dictate the pace of the shoot to get the shots required so that the client gets the best possible results. I’ve always explained to clients that if they want the best then it takes time and it’s best to have an assistant. I’ve never accepted work from anyone who has insisted ‘i need it done in an hour’. In various professions in life it is the same, the dentist isn’t told he has to be finished in 10mins etc – to do a job properly takes a certain amount of time and if the clients respect the quality of your portfolio and that’s why they booked you then they also have to accept your rates and your recommendations. High pressure environments and quick turn overs doesn’t help you or the client in getting the results and clients who think that somehow that will be better for the results or budget are not the sort of clients that I would want. To do something well always takes a certain amount of time and nothing less.

      1. Love every word of that! I’ve been letting myself become too rushed and letting the kitchen dictate the pace the food come out and it results in not enough time to light properly , or all of the dishes having the same feel or position as there’s no time to play around with new angles and lighting. It would be great if the opportunity arose to see a few more two light setups in the home or on location. In any case these classes are invaluable and I’ve loved watching all of them.

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