When I photograph food I do my best to use as much natural light as possible. The images above both have natural, diffused sunlight coming in from the right with a reflector to the left, but there is a slight difference between them.
Can you see it?
In the image on the left there isn’t enough fill-light hitting the subject. The reason for this is that the reflector wasn’t pointing to the part of the image that needed light. It was angled the wrong direction – completely parallel to the window (you can see that the background is a bit lighter in that shot). I needed the light to hit the glass at an angle, so I turned the reflector so it was facing the front-left part of the glass that was in my view. (See the diagram to the right for the final setup – click on it for a larger view.)
It’s important that you not only have your reflector filling in the subject opposite the main light, but also that you make sure it’s angled in a way that it’s pleasing to your photograph. You don’t need anything fancy to use as a reflector – a large piece of foam-core will do the trick. But if you do have a traditional reflector (this is the one I use) then you are also able to bend and warp it to wrap more light around your image.