Haven’t heard of it? By the end of this segment, you’ll be rushing to get a can for yourself.
We’ve covered a number of unique objects in past Food Stylist Toolkit segments. However, dulling spray stands out as a product made specifically with photographers and videographers in mind. The name of the product explains exactly what it does. This chemical cocktail can reduce the shine or glare on anything capable picking up strong flares of light, thereby instantly “dulling” a material.
Unlike a permanent matte finisher, the dulling spray used in food photography is temporary. That means it can be easily wiped away after a shoot has concluded. It doesn’t leave marks or streaks behind, making it possible to reutilize sprayed objects for other purposes in the future.
If dulling spray is out of your budget, don’t sweat it. Often times, spray deodorants can produce a similar dulling effect. What’s more, the matte effect it produces is temporary and easy to clean away if you want to reuse the items being photographed. In this case, the cheapest options work the best. Clear sprays that leave little visible residue won’t block out the distracting reflections that a regular dulling spray would subdue.
Though it may seem like something of a niche product, several national retailers carry professional-grade dulling spray used in food photography. Retail craft stores carry it as well as hardware outlets usually keep a few aerosol cans in stock. Even auto repair shops sometimes keep dulling spray in stock. On that note, keep in mind that this trick doesn’t apply solely to food photography. Just about any shiny object that might prove to be problematic under heavy lighting can benefit from a little spritz.
Don’t waste your time bringing in clumsy reflectors or fussing with lights if you find that a fork is bringing a bit too much brightness to your table setting. While dulling spray may not be a resolution that comes to mind for the uninitiated, experienced food photographers can testify to its effectiveness. If you’re working in a bustling production environment where time is of the essence, this canned solution can work wonders.