Food photography with the Rotalux Go

Two Rotalux Go Sofboxes in action

FoodStill life

The Rotalux Go is a great range of Softboxes. It’s quick to set up and fun to use. With two Rotalux Go Recta, in combination with an Elinchrom ONE and an ELC 125, Anthony experimented a basic still life setup for food photography.

Why the Rotalux Go range?

The Rotalux Go is the perfect match between a quick setup like folding an umbrella and the quality of the renowned Rotalux range.
It’s by far the best option for my daily work. Light, foldable with traveling bags, and fully equipped with diffusion layers and grid.
I’m ready to shoot quickly, and I can adjust my setup easily myself and gain a lot of time and energy.

Easy to carry, easy to set, and easy to use!

The Rotalux Go Softbox product line

The challenge:
Doing something I never did

To achieve that journey, I had to go out of my comfort zone and try something new to me, something exciting I’d never done before: Still life photography, and especially food photography!
As you may understand, I have nearly zero experience in that type of field. But I have wanted to try this for many years, and here we have the opportunity to do it, so let’s go.

Before moving too quickly into this project, I asked for tips and basics from some guys who master food photography. With this in mind, I was ready to create good content for my first experience in food photography.

The rule of this challenge was to use a couple of Rotalux Go Recta, with an ELC 125 and a ONE.
I also had the chance to get three different meals to shoot and a whole museum at my disposal for three hours.

The unpacking of the Recta was a child’s play; you pull the softbox out of its traveling bag, put the metal rods in the corners, and push the center part to unfold the Rotalux Go. In the traveling bag, you also have two diffusion layers (inner and outer) and a grid, so everything you need is already there.

First meal, first set:
A salad of gravlax salmon and smoked eel

For that kind of set, the Recta, stuck to the table, on the side to enhance contrast, can be very efficient. With the two diffusion layers to avoid any hot spots and high enough to light the top of the salad.

After a few tests, the lighting works fine on the meal and plate, but I need to work things out for the background; it was too dark.
I used an Elinchrom ONE with the second Rotalux Go Recta in the back to resolve this. And it allowed me to create a darker atmosphere than my subject, but where you can still see details such as glasses, knives, and several tables.

“New domain, new gear, a new adventure.​”

Second meal, second set:
A colorful salad with mango, grapefruit, avocado, etc.

For this setup, I looked for a different mood, so we’ve put the table close to a window to have a nice bright background.
I placed the ELC 125 with the Rotalux Go Recta high above the plate at 45° with the two diffusion layers for a nice and diffused light with fewer contrasts and the ONE in the background to keep the scene bright.

The difficulty with this meal was the brick pastry sheet surrounding it was high enough to mask light coming from the side. I decided to put my light quite high because of that.

The result speaks for itself, and the client was happy to see his meals highlighted like this!

Third and final meal, third and final set:
A hot meal of octopus and asparagus

For that meal, I looked for a delicate but contrasty light. But, to keep the food’s brightness, I needed to get rid of the inner diffusion layer; very easy to do. Thanks to its velcro strips, you have to open the outer layer and pull out the inner layer.

After a few shots, I found the perfect framing and light to reveal the meal and its details, but my background was a bit dark, especially the inside of an old chimney, which is fascinating with its artistic gold details!
I grabbed the ONE with the second Rotalux Go Recta to reveal the background, et voila, the set was like I imagined!

Once again, the chef was thrilled to see the images, and I was happy to succeed in that difficult assignment.
New domain, new gear, a new adventure, but I managed to make everything work!