I recently photographed a delicious BLT Michael made but my photo looked anything but delicious. I mixed light sources, as I often like to do, but for the BLT it wasn't the right choice. By back lighting a subject with white light (sun light through a window) and using yellow light (tungsten bulbs) as the main source, and selecting the white balance on the camera for the bulb light–the white light turns blue–which I like because food is rarely blue and blue can really bring out the warm tones of food with out using a background or table cloth. But the day I photographed the BLT was rainy and gray day so the light coming through the window was not white, but a cold blue gray. The bread looked muddy gray and the bacon looked more gray brown then red. So Michael will need to make me a new BLT (shucks!) and I'll shoot again using different light sources.

Here is an example of when this technique of mixing light sources; this photo of garlic that has little color on it's own.

 Garlic w-blue_2


11 Wonderful responses to “A Bad Choice of Light”

  • applehome

    I like this – please continue to interject some photo comments into that otherwise tiresome food stuff… 😉 Love that auto white balance on the D200 – easier than looking for my Wratten 85. Of course, the stuff we can do today in the digital darkroom (Adobe) makes some of this moot (not all).

    I do wonder about the juxtaposition of photography and food (real food, as to the faked stuff of the advertising world). As you say, if I got a Michael Ruhlman BLT for every time I “made a mistake”, I’d be making mistakes several times a day!

  • carri

    Thanks, Donna, for the beautiful photos…and the tips! It is a new medium for me… I get some pretty funny looks from people when I try to get a shot of some food thing at the bakery, moving it around and lighting from different angles. they think I’m crazy and all I’m thinking is: what would Donna do?

  • Andrew

    Donna–Excellent summary of your shots. I really like this little foray into photography here on the Ruhlman channel. I’d like to see more of your work along with your analysis and explanation of how you shot it.

    I especially like the lighting advice! Thanks!

  • John Jezl

    I agree. I’d love to see periodic interjections about tips on photographing food here. I’m photographically inept and can use all the help I can get.

    I recently learned my lesson about how difficult it is to avoid making fresh sausage look phallic after I got a Facebook full of teasing. 🙂 Fortunately it was MR’s Chicago-Style Hot Dogs from Charcuterie, so I just didn’t share with anyone that felt the need to abuse me. Their loss.

  • Natalie Sztern

    Donna one question: I have two very excellent Olymnpus and Nikon film cameras (yes i took a photo course and even learnt how to develop eons ago)… is film still being sold and developed on disks?

  • Natalie Sztern

    thank you applehome, i should mention i live across the border and don’t develop film myself; i am not a photographer just a point and click kinda girl…