You won’t believe what type of lighting this beautiful chips and salsa photo was shot with

If you think photography lighting is expensive, this chips and salsa picture is going to give you the surprise of your life. Here Ron Goldman explains how to get a professional lighting look with things you probably already have at home.

A Cheaper Approach to Lighting

Ron Goldman: This photograph of chips and salsa was done in my kitchen with a single halogen light. I used some aluminum foil similar to barn doors where I could really concentrate the light from this one single light source. (click the image for a larger version)

This was taken as an example for a food photography class to prove that you can have successful lighting without spending a lot of money on expensive studio equipment. A halogen work light, while not easy to set up and use, can get you the results you’re looking for.

You have to make some homemade modifiers. Things like aluminum foil work great because of the heat these lights put out. You’re able to concentrate all of that lighting into a fairly small area, which again brings out lots of texture and contrast on the image.

You have to be very careful about background. There are a couple of different ways to get rid of backgrounds. One is changing your camera angle and the other is using a fairly large aperture so that you have a very shallow depth of field and you can blur out any distracting elements in the background. That’s what I’ve done here with this picture of the chips and salsa.

This was shot at f2.8 with a 28-70mm lens. You can see this is a fairly shallow depth of field. You can still tell what the chips are in the background, even though they’re blurry. Anything else farther behind that would be so out of focus that you really can’t see what it is back there.

In Summary

Ron Goldman proves that It doesn’t take expensive equipment to create a great food photograph. Something as simple as aluminum foil and a halogen lamp helped create this beautiful chips and salsa image.