Soup (293/365)

by Lee Santiva October. 20, 2019 344 views
Butternut squash soup - close up

Butternut squash soup - close up

I made this soup last weekend in 30 minutes and spent 4 times that amount of time (2 hours total) on the photoshooting today, there's some lessons learned I will share at the end of the blog.

The recipe isn't mine to share, I found it on Pinterest.

Butternut squash soup 2

Butternut squash soup 2

Here's a great "hack" I read about on the Internet: instead of peeling and cubing the squash, just cook it for 6-8 hours on low in a Crockpot. Just wash it and put it in whole (on a rack!! very important).

It comes out fully cooked and soft. First scoop out seeds and then the flesh, puree it, add coconut milk or cream or whatever you use in your soup, add your spices and you're done. Very easy, much easier than this photo shoot.

Cook the squash in the crockpot to save effort

Cook the squash in the crockpot to save effort

For the inexperienced photographers reading the blog, here's what I learned about capturing food:

  • Don’t cook and capture at the same time. Prepare the food then if necessary “reinact” the cooking part for the photoshoot
  • If you take a long time (over one hour) on your photoshooting, make sure the food is very cold to start with so it doesn't start "sweating" in the sun or lights
  • Change the image size ratio to 1:1, ratios 16:9 will have more "background"
  • Decorations, decorations, decorations
  • Sunlight, nothing is better than natural light from a window
  • Metal spoons reflect

Now I'm sharing my first capture from today's session. It's not bad, definitely "minimal" however the parsley seems too big in relation to the soup bowl, part of the bowl is cut off and there's too much grey of the dishes in the frame. Nonetheless, the soup looks better than in the first 2 photos probably because it was still fresh.

Initial capture of butternut squash soup

Initial capture of butternut squash soup

I set up on a 110 cm x 70cm x 1 cm board made of birchwood, which is light enough for me to carry up from the basement by myself yet stable enough to balance on the small coffee table. I place the board on the table which has wheels which allows me to flexibly position it. We only have good sunlight in the living room - no way to do a photoshooting in the basement or kitchen until I invest in high-quality photo lighting.

I use grey dishes because white is too harsh and grey is a neutral color which will work with almost all colors of food. The dishes are glazed which isn't optimal, as you can see in the reflections in photo #4. So I ran outside and gathered the huge leaves from the plantan trees directly across the street and placed them on and around the plates in #1 and #2.

The set up

The set up

I'm so glad I'm participating in the 365 photo challenge although it is a lot of work. My first attempt at food photography in January was an epic fail but today I'm trying to get over my embarassment to see it as a way to measure how far I have come in less than a year in improving my photography skills. Probably next year I'll look back at today's shooting and be embarassed as well.

I thank all of you for your tips and comments and by writing up my lessons learned in today's blog, I hope to pay it forward to all of you who are just starting out.

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There are 11 comments , add yours!
Helen Hooker 1 year, 4 months ago

You did a fantastic job there Lee, and the soup looks delicious too! I've tried this myself and food photography is undoubtedly harder than it looks.

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Helen Hooker 1 year, 4 months ago

Thank you so much Helen! At first I thought all the decorations were unnecessary but now I realize with food photography you are no longer passively documenting what you see, but you must actively design and stylize what is to be seen

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Russell Smith 1 year, 4 months ago

I love the composition and styling in #2. Looks like it was quite delicious.

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Russell Smith 1 year, 4 months ago

Thanks Russell what a great compliment coming from a foodie photographer like yourself! It‘s a great first course lunch soup not too filling (well, if you used cream it would be I guess)

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Benny Law 1 year, 4 months ago

Lovely composition and presentation, Lee. I feel like treating myself to a good lunch now :)

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Benny Law 1 year, 4 months ago

Thank you very much Benny, it must be good if it makes you hungry smile  😋

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Lynn F Medley 1 year, 4 months ago

Thanks for the tip on the crockpot versus trying to peel and cut the squash,, sounds soo much easier than trying to cut into a squash,, love the first image!! Love the composition, decorations and colors.  And your tips too, it takes awhile to photo food I have found and sometimes it just does not work. 🙁

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Lynn F Medley 1 year, 4 months ago

Thanks Lynn! You just reminded me that I forgot my biggest tip of all: don’t try to cook and capture at the same time, neither will turn out well. Your feedback means a lot because you are so good at indoor photography

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 1 year, 4 months ago

#4 the parsley is essential for a mouthwatering touch!

Thanks for the cooking tips and the interesting settings!

grinning+1

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Jay Boggess 1 year, 4 months ago

Thank you Jay, indeed I had taken a lot of photos with just the dab of cream and the effect wasn’t as good as with parsley

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Lee Santiva 1 year, 4 months ago

Always a pleasure, my friend!

+1 grinning +1

1 year, 4 months ago Edited
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