Skip to main content

Crash Photo Food Prep

Lesson 12 from: Capturing Food in Motion

Steve Hansen

Crash Photo Food Prep

Lesson 12 from: Capturing Food in Motion

Steve Hansen

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

12. Crash Photo Food Prep

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of the lesson is capturing food in motion, specifically focusing on crash photography and food preparation. The instructor demonstrates how to style and position various food components, such as pancakes, bacon, and eggs, in order to create dynamic and visually appealing images. He also provides tips and tricks for achieving desired effects, such as thinning out syrup to create splashes and basting eggs for the perfect yolk.


  1. What is the purpose of styling the food components in crash photography?

    The purpose of styling the food components is to create visually appealing images with dynamic and interesting compositions.

  2. How can syrup be thinned out for splashing effects?

    Syrup can be thinned out by adding water to it, which allows it to be more easily splashed and creates a better visual effect.

  3. What technique is used to poach the eggs?

    The instructor uses a technique of draining off the thin part of the egg white and gently placing the egg into warm oil to poach it.

  4. What is the key to achieving consistent results in crash photography?

    The key to achieving consistent results is to be consistent in lighting and positioning of the food components, as any movement or changes in lighting can create difficulties in post-processing.

  5. How does the instructor come up with ideas for crash photography?

    The instructor mentions that ideas for crash photography can come from various sources and may come to him randomly. He emphasizes the importance of thinking outside the box and finding unique ways to tell a story through the use of liquids or creative food arrangements.

Lesson Info

Crash Photo Food Prep

Let's get to it. We're gonna start off with the styling of all the components. So we're styling bacon. We're styling pancakes. Well actually I cheated on that. And we're gonna style an egg. So I'm gonna show that to the cameras and I'll kind of show you the final product here in the studio as we work. So we're gonna get everything done completely ready to go. We're gonna start to position food in certain areas that we know is gonna be a layout. So this layout I'm gonna follow really literally, whereas the other one was more of a suggestion to me. It's kind a direction to go in, but this one I'm dead set on having the position exactly where it is. So here we have syrup. We've got butter. We have a poached egg, sunny side up. We have three pancakes. It looks like I have two pieces of bacon and just a bunch of syrup. The syrup I'm gonna do second to last because when I do syrup or something really viscous, I actually get my hands in there. I'll put it in a tub on the bottom of the set and...

I'll get my hands in there and I'll just fling it up and that gets everywhere. That's nasty. And then when you put the plate on the ground, so actually let's break the plates first. We'll do the syrup last. It's like getting tarred and feathered. You have the syrup and then the glass and then it's just you have to walk away after you're done with that. You have to reset. So you're done. I don't know whether we do the chicken or the egg first, but I think breaking, because I need a surface to break the plate on that's clean we're start with that and then we'll do the syrup last. So it is a really messy procedure, whereas getting the food in position is not nearly messy at all. And because we have such a short (mumbles) I don't have to create these rigs of platforms to hold, whereas you saw an image earlier of me with vegetables hanging off 20 wires, we don't have to go that far because there isn't an art direction that is that complicated. We're not pouring something over it. The reason I did that is 'cause I want all in the waterfall image with all the milk coming over the vegetables, I wanted the vegetables to be in position so that the milk wouldn't affect it and I just spent hours and hours cutting out all those wires in Photoshop. But because I did that in one shot, I was able to get the splashes that happened between the vegetables and the color cast and everything naturally happened as it flowed over the vegetables to happen in real time and that saved me much more time than actually getting rid of all the wires 'cause we had a dark back plate in the back, so we just brushed it all out. Pretty quick procedure. It wasn't quick, but it was quick enough. So let's actually get started. Let's make a mess. The audio is going to suffer for this. It's gonna be loud. I'm gonna show you the different elements that we're gonna be using and how we got there and some tricks at home that you can use as far as styling goes to have some really interesting products. So these pancakes, these are... Let me pick a hero. These are all heroes, right? These are pancakes that I actually purchased in the frozen section and if you're doing stuff at home and you don't have a food stylist, which isn't as often for me, but for you, these are really good especially on the top. They're a little wonky if you look at 'em from the side, but we'll be looking at 'em like this. They're beautiful on the top. They're really well done. There's different techniques for actually making pancakes. I think there's a lace technique and there's also a technique that's more along these lines, very soft and flat. But the ratios, you have to really be a good food stylist to be able to produce these. Malina can do 'em in a heartbeat. But if you do go to the frozen section and you buy like the frozen pancakes. A funny story though, I bought these for a shoot and I bought the silver dollar pancakes and not big. They're not very big. So what I actually did is I just pulled the camera in further and they looked huge. And we had to flatten 'em in Photoshop and I'm like I cannot believe I did that. It wasn't for a client obviously. But I felt like such an idiot. So there's always ways to overcome obstacles. If you have a pancake this size, you just make that work and you make the smaller drips. I actually cut little pieces of butter and used a quail egg to make it look like, 'cause I had a quail egg. I was doing some hors d'oeuvres treats before and this was way back, but I actually had a quail egg and I had butter, so I cut the butter really small and then did a little quail egg for the top of the pancakes and nobody could tell the difference. It's hilarious. Let me get a spoon for this. This is the syrup I'm gonna be using. So when you splash syrup, syrup is really thick. A lot of people will use dark corn syrup and I'm actually adding water to this so I can actually splash it. So when you pull syrup out of a container with your fingers, it's just gonna stick to your fingers. It's not gonna fly. So when I do this, I want this to fly. So I have to thin this out quite a bit for that to actually happen. So you have to thank and kind of have a beat on the viscosity and what you're gonna get out of this when you fling it in the air. So I've gotta really stir this a lot. This is gonna be one of the components and then we've got the pancakes. We might forego the eggs, but do you have it ready? Yup. Awesome, thank you Jack. So the eggs I'm gonna show you in a second. If you wanna put that try on, that'd be awesome. Thank you. Thanks for grabbing that. See, something invariably fails and then we have to overcome it in a hurry sometimes. But thank you very much. So this is gonna be perfect. This is gonna fling in the air and it's not gonna be so thick like syrup that light won't transmit through it. So I got that stirred up nicely. So this cart right here, it's not only a cutting board, but it's also kind of a place for final heroes to go so that when I transfer, we can actually roll this to the set when we're doing packaging shoots or more basic shoots. If we just have our (mumbles) on here, when Malina's done, we can actually wheel it over to the studio or to the main area and shot. We need a spatula. We've got our syrup. We've got out bacon. Do you wanna kind of get that bacon torched up and then-- Do you want butter? Yeah, there's one stick of butter if you can just cut slices of it while it's still cold. There's pats of butter in there. No, let's do the actual slice. The pats get kind of wrinkly. So if you kinda wanna take a look at this. This is my technique for the egg. So what we do is we get oil in a fairly wide pan. I like to use nonstick. We don't happen to have that right now. But you crack the egg, you drain off the thin part of the white. There's a thick part of the white and a think part of the white. And when you're chefs you kinda drain off that so when you poach it, you don't get the murky water, it doesn't go everywhere 'cause that's all the thin white, so you don't need that at all. So you drain it off and then you just gently put it into the oil and hopefully the oil doesn't get too hot. You want the oil to be warm, but not hot. So we'll see. We'll do a test here. So I'm gonna drain, if we can get a camera on this. I'm gonna crack. I'm notorious in the culinary world for being the worst egg cracker ever. When I cracked a bunch of eggs when I was a pastry chef, there would just be like 40 pieces of shell in the bottom of the egg container. It hasn't come naturally for me. Now that was either a lot of thin white or I just got rid of all the (laughing). So I'll just take some of the thin white and I'll actually use it as a test to see if it coagulates. And we'll do a test on the oil and make sure 'cause you do not want it too hot 'cause it'll fry the egg. You don't want any fried edges. So what we're doing is because we have a little bit of oil in the pan, we're gonna drop the egg in and we're gonna measure it so that we feel that the level of the oil would not come over the yolk. We want the yolk to be completely uncooked essentially. And I'll spoon a little bit of oil over the yolk to cook it a little bit, but you're treating them as separate entities. So I'm actually turning this off now. I feels a little warm. And we're just gonna slowly pour that in. Yeah, I can already hear the sizzle, so that's hot. We'll let it cool down a little bit. Or I can actually put it in the bottom. But you're seeing there's no thin white. There's no white going everywhere on this. Let's do another one. I'll take any questions too that are coming up. And we can even go into food styling. If you have any food styling questions too. We haven't addressed that a whole lot. But I'm gonna put this more in the deep end and see if we can. There we go. A question had come in from Victoria Flowers about how do you actually come up with the initial crash image? Where does that inspiration come from and even before you get to that sketch point? It kinda comes to me. Can I get a pan with just a little bit of oil drizzled on it? It kinda comes to me in the shower or wherever. You know, it comes to me and these aren't major epiphanies that I'm changing the world with my splash image, but they're more of just kind of quirky ideas that I think haven't been approached in the same way. There's a lot of photography out there in general and there's a lot of splash photography out there. But to do it professionally, you have to be very consistent. That's the whole key with being a professional is being able to achieve. It's not just about making art at home and then posting it, it's about being able to achieve anything they ask you to do, but in regards to where it comes from internally, it's just kind of a random. There's no one answer. It really comes anywhere, but I have to be ready to take note on it and then sort of build on that and say how am I gonna tell this story using liquids or maybe it's just a regular food shot. But the inspiration really does come from ideas outside of just photography. It has to or else it becomes, you know. It'd be kinda cool to recreate Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup can using nothing but Campbell's Soup as to make the can or, I don't know, just warp it or do something. It doesn't have to be just these flowing splashes. So that's what happens. When you get an egg that's too hot, you'll get these little splotches on the side, so we kinda want to avoid that, although it's not too bad. I'm actually, for this image, I'm not looking for perfect, in fact, the bacon is kind of a funny shape and I like that. Malina asked me, you know, this is kind of a wide and scraggly and normally I would say, depending on the type of shoot, man maybe we should go with something else, but generally I like the fact that this is gonna be a little bit wild. The bacon's gonna be off and the eggs are gonna be a little fried. There we go, now we're getting somewhere. And I kinda push the yolk into the middle if it'll work. Alright, let me turn it on. There's definitely, if you go too low in temperature and you go too high in temperature, it'll either stick to the bottom or it'll fry. So there's a sweet spot and this egg actually looks like it's gonna be a good hero. I'm gonna grab a spoon. No, not that spoon. I'm gonna grab this. I'm gonna baste the yolk 'cause I think this might actually be a hero here. Let me turn it off so we don't fry. And we'll just let that go. But yeah, so the eggs are gonna be done. We have pancakes ready to go. The eggs will be nice and the bacon, we're gonna blow torch the bacon last minute, not directly, just actually caramelize it, but to just get the fat on the bacon to kind of liquefy a little bit so it looks more appetizing. So we're gonna do this piece by piece. The pancakes are number one. I'm gonna position the pancakes the way we want 'em in the imagine and then I'm gonna finish with the bacon and the egg and we have to be really consistent with the lighting, so nothing can move. We can't kick any stands because we are gonna be brushing these together in Photoshop later. So you can see this egg. I need to baste it because there's always that thick part of the white that doesn't cook all the way. And so we're gonna just keep going on until it becomes white. If you're not careful, you will cook the yolk. But the goal is to have a really nice yellow looking yolk that doesn't necessarily look raw, but it looks fairly... And when you've really struck gold, when you get that perfect oval of an egg and a yolk that's just, it looks really nice. I don't know if we're gonna get there in this pan. In fact, I have a bubble coming up there. So I'm gonna baste the top of the yolk and that will make it just at least look a little bit cooked. And I think we're done. There we go. It looks like an ear actually (laughing). But I'll show you on camera when we get there. Are you comfortable maybe doing... Like get right in the middle. Yeah. Okay, the middle's the best place 'cause it curves off and gets really deep. I already lost this egg. Look at this one. Yowza. This is a really good spatula to use for this. So just kind of a gentle, I usually get it going and then turn the heat off when it's in there. And just drain a little bit of the white off and flop it in the middle. So we'll have that as our hero, but then anything else we get we'll use too.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Food In Motion Lighting Setups

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Capturing Food In Motion Gear List

Ratings and Reviews


This course is so fun to watch! I love how hands-on this course is even while watching it 3000 miles away on the other side of the country. I love how Steve Hansen is like a mad scientist just throwing food everywhere just to capture the "right moment". It's great to watch a professional at work especially the behind-the-scenes that we normally won't ever know just by look at the final product. It's amazing how much work goes into this and actually gets me excited to try my hands on capturing food in motion as well - first need to find a place that allows me to get it messy :D I do prefer this type of course set up than the lecture-style some of the other courses are.

Christy cwood56

This course will NOT disappoint! So much quality info that can really help a photographer move to the next level. To see the actual shoots with food flying everywhere and how to capture all of it and turn it into an incredibly stunning image is worth every penny of the price tag. To spend an afternoon with Steve on a one to one basis would cost more than most of us could afford but that is exactly what this class offers! We see into the mind of an incredible artist and his creative process. This class has been invaluable to my personal education as a photographer. There is so much here and I will continually come back to it again and again to learn and refine my techniques and images. You opened up a world of possibilities to me with this class! Thanks Steve!!!

a Creativelive Student

I attended this class in person and I found it to be wonderful. Steve is awesome at what he does and he is great at explaining what he is doing and why he is doing it. This course will lay out all the steps needed to help you create awesome splash and crash photography. I highly recommend it.

Student Work