This past weekend I enjoyed a slice of my wife’s homemade apple pie, caramel sauce and homemade ice-cream with fresh cream from the local farmer.  One of my all-time favorite combos!

When time allows and doesn’t disrupt family meal time, an interesting plate of food can provide an opportunity to experiment with the camera.   I thought I’d have plenty of time to experiment with different lighting options but I soon discovered that food isn’t the most patient of subjects as it’s quick to melt, juices begin to run, etc.. I need to plan everything out ahead of time with composition, camera settings, lights and reflectors all in place.

With food, I usually bounce the flash off a white card/wall, use natural window light or use a shoot-through umbrella/soft box to give the effect of natural light from a window.  For the pie and ice-cream I decided to try something different by using a reflective umbrella for comparison.  When looking at the final images, I immediately noticed the detailed reflection of the umbrella’s metal frame in the caramel sauce.  Not good.  Actually taking the time to experiment with different qualities of light and lighting setups on the same subject is a valuable learning experience that sticks with you more than just reading it from a book or website.  Sometimes it’s ok to play with your food.

[Fuji X-T1, 18-55mm, manual flash in large reflective umbrella – positioned just off frame, above and behind subject]

homemade apple pie, homemade caramel and homemade ice-cream.

homemade apple pie, homemade caramel and homemade ice-cream.


Several days ago I saw these wonderful ripe red tomatoes in the kitchen. They looked sooo good! Unfortunately, my stomach doesn’t appreciate fresh cut tomatoes, so the best I could do was have fun photographing them.  With the tomatoes I had plenty of time to work the lights and try different angles.  I then poured carbonated water in the glass.  The glass was placed on a piece of A3 sized white paper curved up in the back to create a seamless BG – no cost, nothing fancy.  With placement of the light to the subject and controlling light spill, you can make the BG as white or black as you need.

Tomatoes in a wine glass

tomatoes in carbonated water