Sam Oh and Adrian Agulto
Food photographer Adrian Agulto and host Sam Oh in a food styling and photography workshop hosted by Globe myBusiness at MercatoCentrale, Bonifacio Global City
Globe Telecom/Released

5 inexpensive but effective tools for food entrepreneurs

POSTSCRIPT - Charmaine De Lazo ( - October 22, 2016 - 10:56am

MANILA, Philippines – If you have a food business, you’d know how important great food shots are for your marketing collaterals.

But if you’re like some entrepreneurs, you might also be a bit worried about not having enough know-how on food photography. Maybe you have tried and your first few takes didn’t really have the quality that you need for your website, Facebook page or menu.

But don’t let that slow you down from pursuing your passion. Recently, Globe myBusiness, in partnership with Mercato Centrale, hosted a free food styling and photography workshop with food photographer Adrian Agulto of I Shoot Food Manila.

Agulto demonstrated how food entrepreneurs like you can take good-quality shots with inexpensive but effective tools. Time to take note!

1) Reliable smartphone or tablet

For starters in the food industry, you don’t have to spend so much yet on professional photography equipment. Since you want to keep your expenses modest at this stage of your business, you can invest in a reliable smartphone or tablet which can get the job done for you.

During the workshop, Agulto was only using a seven-inch Lenovo phablet as he demoed different food photography techniques. The shots weren’t bad at all. Here’s a sample:

A shot of slices of chocolate cake with emphasis on the layers Adrian Agulto/I Shoot Food Manila

When taking food photos with any smart device, zooming into the image one to two times could bring out a more focused, sharper shot, Agulto shared.

He also doesn’t recommend using flash when you already have some lighting set up. The flash would only overpower your lighting and could make the shot overexposed.

And one of the important points is doing away with filters to keep the actual appearance of your food.

2) Natural light for best lighting

The best things in life are free, they say. And the same goes with food photography. Natural light is your most important tool in nailing a great food shot.

Light is very important, according to Agulto. “Lighting actually gives vibrance to your food. It makes the color pop,” he said.

He recommends taking advantage of the hours where natural light is at its best—between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

3) Floor lamp for artificial light

But what if you have no other choice but to shoot late in the afternoon or at night or indoors?

Don’t’ worry. You can use your desk or floor lamp at home as artificial light to shoot. During the workshop, Agulto was just using a 60-watt floor lamp as the main source of light for his photos. 

But here’s an important hack:

“You don’t want to put your light directly on the food,” Agulto instructed. This is because the best kind of light for a simple yet appealing food shot is diffused or softened light. The same is true with using natural light.

4) Paper plate as a reflector

If you don’t have a light box or something to bounce off light and create some effects on your photo, you can actually use a paper plate to act as your reflector.

Agulto tried the trick on a serving of churros and chocolate. Here’s the outcome:

Churros and chocolate shot using paper plate as illuminatorAdrian Agulto/I Shoot Food Manila

5) Kitchen towels as backdrop

If you want to add some touch on your photo and save time on editing, you can use patterned or printed kitchen towels for a creative backdrop.

Shooting food on white, however, is actually recommended for beginners like you. And according to Agulto, it’s best when you want to crop the photo later on and run some edits.

But if you want to experiment on the best look for your food, using inexpensive and cute kitchen towels is a hack.

You can learn more from workshops like these that are designed for startups and small businesses with Globe myBusiness, who brings the essential tools and knowledge closer to entrepreneurs. You can sign up on their database to get special discounts and exclusive invites to their upcoming events.


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