• Tina Witherspoon

Food Photography: Chilly Winter Soup Night


Personal projects are the thing that got me through the first year of the pandemic. I wasn't going anywhere which means I wasn't working, and I get a little restless when I don't have a subject in front of my camera. Tonight I got inspired to photograph a beautiful dinner so I planned the menu, shopped for the groceries and got to work.


This soup recipe I found on Pinterest looked so pretty and mouth-watering, I didn't just want to eat it, I wanted to photograph the whole meal. The feast in the photo above looks like I spent hours in the kitchen, but the soup cooked up pretty quick once the chopping was done. The focaccia bread is store bought but it looks homemade, and it took no time to chop the salad ingredients. I'm the ultimate toppings girl, so I also toasted some pumpkin seeds and chopped cilantro, and had a lemon and zester on hand to add a little bright note.

If I were to write a cookbook, every recipe would start like this: First, pour yourself a glass of red wine, then get out your knife and start chopping. Drinking wine while preparing a meal makes me feel like a character in a movie or a chef in a fancy restaurant — I've been known to pour a half cup into whatever I'm cooking, despite what the recipe calls for. I've had some happy accidents over the years.

The sun was already setting when I got around to creating the scene, but I embraced the darkness because I really like a moody vibe. I draped a gray cotton cloth over our outdoor table and grabbed my most recent props. I found these pink grooved drinking glasses at my local grocery store, the vase was $3 at Target and the beverage bottle was recycled from a pink lemonade I bought last summer. I can admit that I have a bit of a prop addiction, but I don't spend a lot on any one item.

I wanted the soup to have some personality and really be the star of the photo story, so to get that glistening glow, I drizzled olive oil on the top along with the cilantro and pepitas. It looks beautiful and tastes even better.

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