Did you know that what you wear may have a huge influence on the look or your images? In portrait, landscape, or sports photography, you will most likely be working far enough away from your subject that you won't notice the effects of your outfit on your subject. Let me show you what happened while shooting with a red shirt.
When shooting food or product, you will generally be working in a close proximity to your subject. Because of this, it isn't uncommon for your attire to reflect light from your light source back onto your subject. This reflection will cause a color cast onto your set and is most noticeable on light-colored or reflective backgrounds, props, and subjects. Below is an example of a white background with a metal reflective prop.
In both of these shots, I was shooting from an overhead camera angle with the light behind the subject. This camera position and lighting placement combined with my red shirt were the culprits of this color cast. Below are two set shots of my two different outfits.
I'm not bending over the subject like I was while taking the picture of the sausages, but you can still see how the metal pan picks up a colored highlight from my clothing.
So how can one fix this? Sure, you can place reflectors between you and the subject, or you can change your camera angle and lighting direction. You could shoot with an arm above the subject, or you could even fix the color cast in Photoshop, but the simplest option is to just change your outfit.
If you know that you will be working with food or a product at a shoot, avoid wearing bright colors that could leave color casts.
This color cast concept doesn't just apply to what you are wearing. There are other items on set that could introduce a cast. Restaurants often like to use bright and vibrant colors in their interior designs. Tables, drapes, booths, or other design elements could introduce a color cast into your dish shot. When finding the ideal location to shoot a restaurants dish, keep your surroundings in mind and find the location that will best prevent these color casts.
For more food photography tips, tricks, and techniques, check out photographing FOOD issues 1-8.