Oftentimes the food we photograph loses its steam pretty quickly, even if it’s still hot. That little puff of steam adds so much to the photo … it plays with our senses and makes hot food look appetizing. There are some weird methods to add steam (microwaving cotton balls and other cotton products that should go nowhere near food) but I discovered another way that is actually pretty simple (thanks to a food stylist from a Kelby Training course I saw a while back). So, heres’s an easy way to add realistic steam to food photographs:
Behind-the-scenes photo …
- Gear used:
- Canon 430EX speedlight as the main light shooting through a diffusion panel (the inside of a five-in-one reflector).
- Black foam core in front of the light to serve as the background
- Fork taped to a set of wooden chopsticks that are taped to a Manfrotto Magic Arm
- White foam core to the left for front fill-light
- Reflector/white foam core underneath shrimp on fork to add white color bounce
- Camera set on a tripod with cable-release to trip the shutter
To add steam to the shrimp, I used a hand steamer (this one was only $15 at Bed Bath & Beyond).
Photograph the shrimp with steam using the hand steamer (it took a lot of trial-and-error to get the “perfect” steamy look).
Photograph the shrimp with no steam.