Let me start by saying that I'm by no means an expert in the area of food photography, but I am trying to improve my photos, and that means trying to improve my food styling.
I've found the perfect spot for taking photos in my kitchen but as it's not backing onto a wall it's not always easy getting that perfect shot without some kind of kitchen appliance or clutter in the background.
I browsed the internet to get ideas for backdrops and various surfaces and found that backdrop stands can be quite pricey so decided to improvise buy buying a cheap clothing rail, for just £8.99. I found a roll of wood effect wallpaper for £11.99 and a pair of jumbo clips for £2.95, and that is all I needed for my makeshift studio. I already had a roll of white wood effect sticky back plastic to use as the backdrop, although I need to replace it as it's looking a little creased now (£5 from Wilko's), and a sheet of white polystyrene which I use as a reflector.
A couple of behind the scenes shots..
It's amazing how something so simple can make such a huge difference to your photos. As all the light comes in from the conservatory side of the kitchen it can create shadows on one side of the subject. I have overcome this by using a piece of polystyrene packaging that came in a parcel, which I propped up against a bottle of water, but you can buy a set of collapsable reflectors from Ebay for around £8. The pictures below of a bowl of nectarines (and a loom band nestling between) were taken on exactly the same camera settings with the only difference being the reflector, which was used in the second shot, reducing the shadow on the right of the fruit.
I still need to do something about the reflection of the conservatory roof but I'm working on that.
I am amazed at how a couple of little changes, has improved the look of my photos, and since I started blogging they have gone from this (2011)
to this (2012)
and this (2013)
It goes to show that you don't need to spend a lot of money kitting out a studio when you could have everything you need around your home - old rolls of wallpaper in the loft, a clothes rail in the spare room, a few clothes pegs.
I now need to visit a few charity shops and car boot sales to pick up some props to add to my small collection of plates that I recently bought from John Lewis.
Where to buy
Clothes rail : Argos or Ebay £8.99
Wallpaper : Ebay £11.99
Pair of clips : Ebay £2.95
Reflectors : Ebay £8.00
Roll of white wood effect plastic : Wilkos £5.00
so, for under £40 you could set up your own little food photography studio. Don't ask me what I'm going to do when the nights start drawing in though, other than photograph everything during daylight hours.