Behind the Scenes: Pasta on a Fork

When photographing pasta or food in general, adding a utensil in the scene can imply the action of someone getting ready to eat the food. This can “humanize” your photograph and make it more relatable. However, in many cases, it is difficult to handhold the utensil in the frame and also keep it still (especially in low-light situations). And if you’re like me, you may even be doing everything solo. This makes it nearly impossible to set up and photograph without having any trouble. In these situations, I find that pre-positioning the utensil with a Manfrotto Magic Arm is the best way to set things up.

For this setup, I used an off-camera Speedlight to backlight the food with a diffusion panel in front of it to soften the light. I added a black foam board in the background. And, positioned a piece of white foam board off to the side to fill in shadows in the front. I used a hand steamer to add the steam to the pasta. And I was able to “freeze” the steam using a combination of a fast shutter speed and the light from the Speedlight.

Here’s the list of equipment used to get the pasta on a fork image:

  • figure_7_36cCamera: Canon 7D
  • Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS
  • Exposure: 1/250 sec at /7.1, ISO 100
  • Canon Speedlite 430EX
  • Lastolite TriGrip Diffuser
  • Black foam board for background
  • White foam board underneath and also to the left for fill light
  • Small reflector for fill light
  • Manfrotto Magic Arm to hold fork (w/ Gaffer tape)
  • Small clothes steamer to add steam to the food