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How to Photograph – Creamy Chicken Pasta Soup

Another lighting and setup food shot to share this month, this time, it’s a pack of instant Campbell’s Chicken Pasta Soup and the photo is nearly as simple as preparing the soup itself.


The choice of place mat took the longest to decide as I wanted a bright, summery-feel to the image and a mat that complement the bright colors of the pasta itself. I ended up with a polka-dot cyan place mat eventually.

The cup/saucers were placed on top of a clear acrylic tray to make the subject appear floating on top of the place mat as I didn’t want to see much shadows in the shot apart from the 2-saucer stack itself.

A false-floor was placed inside the mug using an inverted white plastic container. The false floor was used to to raise the surface nearer to the lip of the mug so that when I place the pasta strips, they would appear to be floating at the surface instead of sinking to the bottom. It also minimizes the amount of liquid used for the shot, in this case, only about 1/4 cup of soup was used.

Practically all soup-based dishes can utilize this optical illusion to showcase the heavy/solid ingredients, otherwise, all the heavy ingredients will just sink to the bottom.

Lighting was rather simple and quick as well.


A bare flash with wide-angle diffuser flipped down was fired onto a large, white wall to create a really large light source. The soup was placed about 3ft from the wall and a small white reflector board reduced the shadows opposite the light source.

A standard 50mm lens was used with a large aperture to limit depth-of-field.

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