How to Take a Picture of the Steam From Your Meals

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Introduction: How to Take a Picture of the Steam From Your Meals

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Many of you saw my scrambled eggs Instructable and commented on the main picture. You might be wondering how I did that. So here is my Instructable to teach you one way to take a picture similar to it. This is just my method, if anybody else has their own, please comment!

Step 1: Materials

Here is what you will need:

  • Window/door where the light shines through
  • Hot food/beverage
  • Spot to place your food where it is in direct range of the sunlight
  • Camera
  • Morning/Evening time slot.

Step 2: Find a Window

Find a window in your house that lets the light in well. I have a door near my kitchen table, so the light flows in nicely. Find a time when it is either morning, or evening. This way, you can catch the sun's direct rays as it is rising or setting.

Step 3: Grab Your Camera

Once you have a good window of light shining through to where your food it, walk to the opposite side of the food from where it is getting the direct light.

So if the window is shining on the right side of the plate, move to the left side to take the picture: and vice versa.

Take your picture with a decent camera that can focus pretty well. If you can see the steam rising from the hot platter of food; you are in the right spot.

Take the snapshot, and there you go.

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85 Comments

what shutter speed?

its the time it takes for the camera to close the shutter... if the shutter is open for a long time, you let more light in, and the other way around.

Pretty sure he meant what shutter speed to shoot at.
I'd say any under 1/50 is okay since the steam is slow, with the lower the better.

WOW! I can not believe it! I have taken pics of my moms hot foods but even though they were steamy hot,no steam showed up but now I know why! THANKS!

 there are so many ways this could be twisted into a dirty joke, it's not even funny.

It helps also to have a background that contrasts to the steam ("vapor", fine). I'd also heard a trick for really getting the steamy look - take a tampon soaked in boiling water and hide it behind the food - supposedly a trade secret of pro food photogs.

I've heard of that trick too! If the idea of a tampon kinda grosses you out, a cotton ball soaked in water and microwaved is supposed to work just as well. :P

That's the one I've heard of as well. What can really get gross is how a lot of the meat you see photos of is actually 100% raw, and just painted to look freshly cooked. Sometimes they'll use a blow torch and just cook the outside edges to give it a nice grilled look. And white glue for milk...ew

yes, the world of food photography is...umm...interesting. One time I looked up how much the special glass/plastic ice cubes they use in their drink shots cost and some of them are $50 or more! I've also heard that they put eyeliner on "grilled" veggies, lipstick on strawberries, waterproofing spray or hairspray on cake, spray-on deodorant for the frost on grapes or cold glasses, frosting mixed with more powdered sugar for ice cream, dish soap in milk to make it bubbly...the list goes on and on! you definately do NOT want to eat the food from a big photo shoot.