Food, Photography and Lifestyle Blog

How to (or how not to) shoot and light a hamburger

Ok admittedly I think I am well overstepping myself here, however I know where I am, I know I fail often, but just want to share with you how I take my shots while I progress.

So here goes, first of all I placed a mirror on the table as for this shot I was hoping to get a nice effect with the reflection. In hindsight this wasn’t such a good idea. Nevertheless I didn’t know until I was finished and saw everything on the big screen.

So in order to deal with room reflections I had to use some sort of white foam board, which you can see partially suspended from the wall behind with scotch tape. I then added 2 soft-boxes, one at 2 o’clock behind subject and one at 8 o’clock of subject.

I used a total of 2 reflector boards and 1 mirror for fill and highlights, but had major problems with the fries they were in a sack of parchment paper and this paper seemed to soak up the light. So its constantly standing out too much.

For the Burger, on purpose I did NOT go for the ruffled lettuce style as I have never ever seen that anywhere and I want my shots to convey some sort of reality. with Bush gone and Obama now in place, this should be possible and welcomed. 🙂 I also didn’t use just one super-sized slice of Beef Tomato as none of the Burger Joints ever use these kind of tomatoes as they are to expensive for them. I guess you start to feel where I am coming from, a shot may be staged but it may not fool you into getting what you wont get, i.e. I hate to se a corn salad pictured with a ton of corn in it but when i order it i have to go scout for the corn!

I did resort to cooking the beef patty to only medium, then chilling it down to stop the cooking, then wrapping it with paper tissue to catch any drippings and coagulated blood, to make sure it looks clean and crisp, however that turned out looking a bit dry, I guess next time I should brush it with oil just before shooting.

The Cheese, the pickles, the bun to me look just perfect, but the parchment paper bag spoils everything for me as it soaked up all light and looks in all shots total washed out.

Here are the shots, don’t get hungry!


Set up shot

Set up shot

Burger, Fries and Coleslaw

Burger, Fries and Coleslaw

And another shot for you cravers!

And another shot for you cravers!


8 responses

  1. Don’t get hungry he tells me…. Well, that is too late now! As I said on Flickr; I love the freshness of the burger and the placement of the ingredients especially on the first burgershot. It is also my favorite as the mirror is less obvious there because it’s mostly hidden away. I think the reason why your parchment around the fries kept getting blown out is because the softbox is too close to the white paper. That would mean trouble in any situation…:)
    I don’t really find the meat looking too dry but a tiny bit of oil for next time would probably make it look even better still… Man, I’m hungry now!! I have got to go and make dinner!

    April 13, 2009 at 4:38 pm

  2. nice picture of the nutella!
    That looks fantastic, thanks for showing behind the scenes and for your explaination. I don’t have any extra equipment (yet)and need to use natural light, which luckily is not a problem where I live. That hamburger looks like it was beamed down from heaven.

    April 13, 2009 at 6:05 pm

  3. The second shot will probably entice more people as it looks like a doppelganager! LOL

    April 14, 2009 at 3:46 am

  4. cosmopolitanblog

    Thanks Simone, like Malcolm said on flickr perhaps i shouold have swithced my key light and fill light to avoid it.

    Thanks Sarah!

    Thanks Robert, indeed a doppelganger

    April 14, 2009 at 5:48 am

  5. Sorry for the typo!
    Great pic in any case! LOL

    April 14, 2009 at 6:08 am

  6. rita

    just when i’ve been craving for some good comfort food such as burgers… which is really quite difficult to find here in germany, especially from an american, then i see this. it looks so good! if only i can grab that through the screen.

    first time poster and on-and-off reader. awesome blog, by the way. i miss visiting HK.

    April 15, 2009 at 2:02 pm

  7. cosmopolitanblog

    sorry it cant come of the screen and onto your plate, but germany has a number fo good butchers and bakers so you could make your own!

    April 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm

  8. rita

    believe me, i make my own burgers all the time. but it’s just nice to sometimes say, “let’s go out for burgers,” knowing there’s a good place to go to without costing you an arm and a leg. sorry, i wasn’t too specific or clear about the last post.

    April 17, 2009 at 9:16 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s