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Instructional Series – Photo 2 Chocolate Brownies Photo

Brownies Photo Lighting and Setup

Here’s our second photo consisting of home-made brownies, shot in natural light.


The main challenge of the shot was to make a monotonously-coloured subject, in this case – brown, appear delicious and moist to the viewer. While the whole subject is brown in colour, there are several distinct and subtle variances on the surface of the brownies. The top crust is flaky and crunchy, the spongy middle is a little drier and softer and finally, melted chocolate chunks are mixed into the middle areas as well.

My task was to make sure all three variances are captured in the shot, and to do that, I’ve opted to use natural light instead of flash to maximize the softly-lit, summer afternoon effect that I’m after. Below is the setup shot.


The setup is quite simple actually, but all light sources have to be carefully placed. Both plates are placed on a piece of board wrapped with white sheet of paper

The main light comes from sunlight outside the balcony, the light is indirect so it’s really soft. The light is large enough to create large, even highlights on the crust of the brownies.

The main fill light comes from a flexible white foam board. The purpose of this reflector is to fill in the shadows cast by the sunlight. It also provides a broad, soft light that skims across the spongy center areas of the brownies as well as the shadow under the plates.

A small (purple LOL) mirror was used to reflect bright and hard light on the sides of the brownies facing the camera. The mirror allowed me to see exactly which areas of the brownies are lit, I specifically aimed the mirror to skim off the right-most, three-stack brownies. This mirror allowed me to show the different textures created by drier spongy center and the chunky melted chocolate.


Exposure:0.077 sec (1/13)


Focal Length:50 mm

ISO: 100

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