My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!

 

 

Baked Doughnuts for Everyone {From Sweet to Savory to Everything in Between, 101 Delicious Recipes, All Gluten-Free} 

For the latest details be sure to check my book page!  

                               

Baked Doughnuts For Everyone: From Sweet to Savory to Everything in Between, 101 Delicious Recipes, All Gluten-Free

 

Monday
Apr142014

Food Photography Tip of the Week |6|

Food Photography Tip of the Week |6|

How do you capture steam in photos?

Things are gettin’ hot over here today with a little bit of steam action. Have you ever wanted to learn how to capture those pretty clouds of steam coming from your mug of coffee or bowl of soup? It’s actually pretty simple!

Steps to capturing steam:

  1. Keep your shutter at a minimum of 1/200 to capture the movement of the steam without being too blurred. The faster your shutter the more detailed the steam will be.
  2. Set up the shot exactly how you want it before placing the hot liquid in the mug/bowl/etc. Take a few test shots to make sure you like the styling.
  3. Use a tripod. Even though you’re shooting with a high shutter speed with less chance for an out of focus image, I find it very helpful to use a tripod. It will allow you to fully set up the shot before you take it. You’ll have to work quickly to capture the steam and not having to hold the camera will make your job easier.
  4. Use side-light and a dark, contrasting background. This will make the steam pop in the photo.
  5. Or, use back-light and shoot on a dark surface if you want the steam to have a softer, creamier feel.

Simple as that! And I have a super easy method to practice this trick which you’ll see below.

Food Photography Tip of the Week |6| edibleperspective.com

I really had to crank the ISO to get these photos properly exposed with a high shutter speed.

Above // ISO: 1250 SS: 1/400 f: 3.2

Below // ISO: 1250 SS: 1/800 f: 1.8

The main difference between the two images is the sharpness of the steam and mug. The photo below is much more wide open [smaller f-stop], causing the steam to have a bit more of a hazy, out of focus appearance.

You’ll also notice the shutter speed was much faster in the image below. You would think with a shutter that high it would capture more detail but it still is quite hazy due to the wide f-stop of 1.8. If the shutter speed would have been slowed down to 1/200 it would have had an even blurrier look. But here, the main reason for the blur was the shallow depth of field.

Let’s do a quick aperture/f-stop review for a moment:

  • the smaller the f-stop -> the wider the opening -> the narrower the depth of field -> less in focus
  • the larger the f-stop ->the tighter the opening -> the wider the depth of field –> more in focus

It can be confusing because the phrase “wide open” refers to a small f-stop number and not a wider depth of field.

Food Photography Tip of the Week |6| edibleperspective.com

To practice steam photography:

Boil a pot of water and keep it boiling during this exercise. Grab a mug or whatever you want the liquid to steam from. Get your tripod, camera, and steam set while you’re waiting for the water to boil. Add boiling water to your mug and start shooting. Replace the water when the steam starts to dissipate. Test different shutter speeds and apertures then note the difference between the settings and how the photos look when you bring them in for editing.

What not to do:

Using a white [or lightly colored] background with side-light does not get the job done. You can see the steam creeping out at the very top of the mug and then it disappears into the white abyss.

Food Photography Tip of the Week |6| edibleperspective.com

And now for a little backlit action. I have light coming in from behind the mug and to the left of the mug. I originally had a black board blocking the light to the left but much preferred the image with light coming from both angles.

Food Photography Tip of the Week |6| edibleperspective.com

This approach has a more real-life quality to it and doesn’t feel as staged. I kept the depth of field very shallow to produce a super soft image.

ISO: 640 SS: 1/400 f: 1.8

Food Photography Tip of the Week |6| edibleperspective.com

I just love the soft, milky quality of the steam.

ISO: 1250 SS: 1/800 f:2.0

Food Photography Tip of the Week |6| edibleperspective.com

And zoomed out just a bit I gently blew towards the hot water as the steam was starting to die and it gave a brief burst of steam.

I imagine if you actually had coffee or a dark liquid in the mug the steam would show up even stronger.

ISO: 1250 SS: 1/800 f:2.0

Food Photography Tip of the Week |6| edibleperspective.com

It’s definitely something I need to keep practicing and not just in the moment when I’m making and photographing a recipe. I always get frazzled when experimenting during a photo shoot where I actually need the photos to come out.

Have you mastered the steam photography technique or have any other tips to add?

Ashley

Sunday
Apr132014

5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups

 

Let’s talk Easter candy.

I distinctly remember my childhood favorites, despite my typically terrible memory.

5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups | edibleperspective.com #vegan #glutenfree

First. The mini malted milk chocolate eggs. That crispy shell and creamy, malty center. Mmmhm

Definitely Cadbury Crème Eggs. Oh my gosh. Those were the Easter basket jackpot.

The tiny carton of egg gum. Still to this day my mom sends me a couple of those packs around this time. I have no idea why I like them so much, seeing that their flavor disappears in about 10 seconds. I think it’s because they are tiny + adorable.

And in later years Starburst Jellybeans stole the show.

However, I was never a huge fan of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs or the plan PB cups. No clue why.

5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups | edibleperspective.com #vegan #glutenfree

So what about now? I think if I had a handful of those malted milk eggs I would fall over from sugar shock. Way too sugar sensitive these days!

But I still get candy cravings that have to be filled. I typically go for either a super dark chocolate bar or homemade peanut butter or almond butter cups. Not too sweet and super satisfying.

5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups | edibleperspective.com #vegan #glutenfree

But once in a while the peanut butter center just isn’t enough for me, so I’ll scoop a dollop of peanut butter on top of the cup.

Oy.

5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups | edibleperspective.com #vegan #glutenfree

And that is where this recipe was born. It’s for the extreme peanut butter lover.

The flaked sea salt topping is a MUST and the chocolate-date center is fudgy and perfect. I could have used melted chocolate for the center but I wanted it to be soft like a traditional peanut butter cup. I also wanted them to be fully homemade.

5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups | edibleperspective.com #vegan #glutenfree

These can be sweetened to any level you like and are made with just 5, whole-food ingredients. I ground raw coconut sugar until powdered and mixed that in with melted peanut butter and coconut oil. 

The coconut oil is crucial so the cups actually solidify. It also adds an extra layer of coconutty flavor.

5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups | edibleperspective.com #vegan #glutenfree

Because we’re making these so au-naturel they must be kept in the fridge or freezer to remain solid. If you happen to have cacao butter, I think using that in place of the coconut oil would make them much more stable at room temp. That is an ingredient I have yet to play with, so let me know if you give it a shot.

5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups | edibleperspective.com #vegan #glutenfree

Print this!

5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups gluten-free, vegan // yields 10-12 large cups

  • 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 3-5 tablespoons powdered coconut sugar, sifted
  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • topping: large flaked sea salt

Line a standard muffin tin with 12 liners.

Melt the coconut oil over low heat and stir in the peanut butter until fully combined. Whisk in the powdered coconut sugar until smooth. Taste and whisk in more if desired.

Pour a scant 1 1/2 tablespoons into the bottom of eat liner. Place muffin tin in the freezer for about 10 minutes until almost fully hardened.

While in the freezer, place the pitted dates in a large food processor with the cocoa powder and turn on until it comes together and forms a sticky ball [refer to photo 3]. About 20 seconds.

Remove the cups from the freezer. Flatten about 2 teaspoons of the date mixture into an 1/8-inch thick disk and place on top of the cup. Leave about an 1/8-inch border around the edge.

Top with 1 tablespoon or so of the melted peanut butter mixture to cover the chocolate. Press down on the chocolate center if needed.

Place in the freezer for 8-10 minutes until nearly set. Sprinkle with sea salt and place back in the freezer until hardened. Keep stored in a sealed container in the freezer.

notes: To make coconut sugar, simply place 1/2 - 1 cup in your blender and blend until fully powdered. Store excess in a sealed jar. I used homemade peanut butter but the more stiff/stabilized peanut butter will also work [and possibly remain more stable at room temp]. If making homemade PB I highly recommend using dry roasted unsalted peanuts for the best flavor. No need to roast! If using store-bought drippy peanut butter be sure to stir it together extremely well. If you didn’t use all of the date mixture keep stored in the fridge and eat as a pre-workout snack or add to smoothies.

5 Ingredient Inside-Out Peanut Butter Cups | edibleperspective.com #vegan #glutenfree

I love chopping them into 1/4 pieces and storing them in a glass container in the freezer. It’s the perfect little satisfying snack with no resulting sugar shock.

Aaaand another new week has begun.

Cheers!

Ashley

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