What isn’t to love about new potatoes? The easiest and arguably tastiest way to enjoy them is roasting!
All you need are potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme and time (sorry couldn’t resist the food pun). What I want to talk about is how to photograph them. More importantly, how easy it is to quickly take great food pictures! Roasted new potatoes is a very common side dish in my family; so it’s no surprise when I am over at my Mom’s house for dinner and she is making them. On this occasion, I had my camera with me and wanted to take a few quick pictured of the potatoes. Like most kitchens, my mom’s doesn’t have the best lighting for food photography. Tungsten recessed lights in the ceiling mixed with daylight can be a disaster. The only window is over the sink, so that wouldn’t work for the picture. I was going to have to find better light.
With the assistance of my brother (who is an excellent hand model) I went to the room outside the kitchen and stood next to a glass door. This is perfect! I glass door full of windows will give the same window light as a regular window.
Notice how the glass door is on the left. My brother’s left shoulder is lit while his right is darker. If I wanted to brighten up his right shoulder, I could have used a fill card. Remember, when taking pictures of your food, there are few things better than using window light. Look around your house and find a window of your own. Just because you cooking in the kitchen, it doesn’t mean you have to take all of your food pictures in the kitchen.
After the potatoes were done, I decided to take a few finished shots outside.
Above is the final picture, but the lighting wasn’t originally like that. I had to make it that way. It was a beautiful day outside, but not ideal weather for taking food pictures. Lets review the specular and diffused concept.
Yikes! Harsh shadows! Remember direct sun with no clouds creates specular light and can cause your food to look pretty awful! Here is what happens when a diffusion panel is added.
Much better. Notice the diffused light creates softer shadows on the plate and the food. This picture does the tasty potatoes justice.
Remember, even if you just want to get a few quick pictures of your food, you don’t have to let your photography suffer. Step out of the kitchen and find the right lighting! You will be glad you did. It would be tragic to leave a delicious meal remembered with an unappetizing photo.