Artificial lighting used in food photography includes continuous lighting that stays on while you shoot, and strobe lighting (essentially an off-camera flash). Factors to consider when choosing artificial lights include portability, cost, and quality.


An advanced fluorescent photo bulb does away with the noisy, blue-tinged, flickering lights of the past.

Fluorescent photo bulbs have progressed to an advanced state these days. Today, the light from the daylight temperature fluorescent bulbs produces a nice, accurate daylight color, which is awesome for food photography.


A bounce umbrella on a light provides a soft, diffused light.

A bounce umbrella attaches to the light stand. The bulb is pointed away from the subject and straight into the reflective material inside the umbrella. The light bounces off the reflective interior and provides a soft, diffused light that falls on the subject.


A strobe light setup acts like an off-camera flash.

Strobe lighting is a system of lighting that essentially acts like an off-camera flash. The camera is synced with the lights via a sync cord, so when you press the shutter, the lights fire.


A soft box works with both continuous and strobe lighting setups.

Soft boxes are halogen, fluorescent, or tungsten lights contained within a flexible frame that can be used in both a continuous lighting and strobe lighting setup. The frame is covered with a flame-retardant material and anchored on a solid lighting stand.


Highlights from a soft box provide a close duplicate to natural lighting.

Soft box units replicate natural light but offer far more control for the photographer. You can position the lights to get exactly the right look for your foods, as opposed to natural light where you’re at the whim of the elements.


A Lowel Ego light is a type of soft box.

A Lowel Ego light is another soft box lighting setup that’s low cost, super portable, and really works well for food photography. This type of light isn’t your traditional soft box, but it’s a fluorescent photo light (daylight color) enveloped in a sheath of diffused plastic.