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Instructional Series – Photo 3 Prawn Salad

Burmese Lime Juice and Prawn Salad Photography

This time, I did the cooking, styling, and photos – consider that as a warning :).

Careful color planning was required for this shot as I really wanted a nice, colorful dish that instills a summery, Oriental feel. I specifically bought that purple dish for salads as purple, greens, and red/oranges work really well together.


As usual, the dish is edible and no stand-ins were used for this image. The shot would’ve worked better if a) I had bigger prawns; b) if I had more prawns to stack higher (or used a piece of styro underneath the lettuce leaves to prop the shrimpt tower higher – but I didn’t want to as we’ll be eating the dish right after). A light coat of olive oil was brushed over the shrimps before the shot was taken.

Moving to the lighting and setup:


Lighting was rather complex (for a DIY studio) on this one. Certainly easier to do with proper reflector-holding tools and panels, but we’ll make do with only one flash and lots of reflectors again.

The main light source is a 1/4-powered flash fired towards a medium-sized white foam board at an angle. This was specifically done to replicate a rear-lit, directional soft light pattern entering through a window pane.

The secondary light was a silver reflector held close to add a sheen on upper edges of the shrimps and the plates. The reflector had to be held as close as possible to create a large reflection on the dish, otherwise, unattractive, small specular highlights will appear as reflections. The two water glasses didn’t have enough shadow edges so I added a piece of black foam to absorb some of the rear light to add some shape to the glass edges.

Another large white fill board was held opposite the main light source to fill in the shadows under the purple plate and the lettuce leaves.

A small porcelain cup was placed just at the edge of the upper left frame to fill the negative space while two glasses with a little water acted as specular highlights to break the pure-white monotony caused by the main light.

EXIF: 1/60, f/2.8, ISO 100, 50mm lens.

Now since I was the one who prepared this, I can share the recipe…

(For every 6pcs of tiger prawns…)


1) 6 pcs tiger prawns (duh) de-veined and washed.
2) 2 tspn of ginger puree (just keep mashing the damn ginger root)
3) 3 limes or 6tbsp of fresh lime juice
4) 2pcs lime leaf, chopped thinly, or use lime rinds, 1tspn
5) 2 tspn chopped garlic (raw)
6) 3-5pcs of red chili pepper, chopped and seeded.
7) 2 tbsp of caster (superfine) sugar
8 ) salt to taste.


1) Mash the ginger till you get the required puree/juice
2) Mix the puree with the everything <b>except</b> the prawns.
3) Boil a pot of water, make sure it’s bubbling. Drop the prawns in for 10 seconds or until the tail turns pink. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Drain thoroughly and place on paper towel.
4) Toss the prawns into the liquid mixture for 5-10 mins. Then place in ziplock bag or air-tight plastic container. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.
5) Serve chilled.

Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe!

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