The truth about me is…I’m a hot mess.
It’s true…and I’m well aware. Check out my stats:
- my gas tank is perpetually on E
- I lose my keys on the daily
- quite frequently I say “We have to go back, I left the _____.”
- my car looks like he hasn’t been washed since the ’90s
- …and I don’t even know where my phone is, right now!
I could go on but I’ll spare you. The d-man says it’s part of my charm but most of the time, it’s just annoying. Needless to say, my hot-messiness and I are at odds. It’s a constant battle, but I claimed victory the day I made these chocolate covered potato chips. These chips say “I’ve got this!” And they were right.
Chocolate and potato chips was all I needed. Two ingredients and I had temporarily slayed the Hot Mess Beast. Head held high, I took these little beauties to a dinner party and watched my friends’ eyes alight with anticipation. They were incredibly impressed but had no idea that for some reason, my credit cards were in the trunk of my car.
I have to give it up for the d-man. I mean…the chips looked good when the chocolate cooled, but they looked nothing like this. This photography is some next-level *ish*.
Chocolate Covered Potato Chips Photo Notes
“You still got that white acrylic thing?”
…and so it began.
Mondo called it, and I shot it. I did a few test shots in the baking pan, set up the white acrylic, and got conceptual with it.
From a lighting standpoint, these things were a challenge. On a single chip, I had to light a textured and reflective surface. I wasn’t worried about the texture, but the reflective surface of the chocolate could be a problem. It would look completely flat unless I gave it shape with a bright highlight and a deep shadow.
To create this highlight and shadow, I pulled out my secret weapon: the Hacob light panel. This DIY light panel looks like junk, but it produces beautiful light with very soft transfer edges. Made by my former instructor Hacob, it’s a simple wooden picture frame filled with 400 Leelux.
Ideally, this should have been shot on an infinity light table, but I did it with a piece of white acrylic propped up by a C-Stand. I placed a piece of white construction paper under the acrylic.
1) The light in the back is adjusted one stop over my shooting aperature to create a pure white background. The modifier is a 60″ Photek Softlighter. It’s difficult to tell by the set shot, but the Softlighter is pointed upward to avoid refraction on the front lens element.
2) On the left, I have a simple white board to fill in the shadow area.
3) Lastly, on the right, I’m using the Hacob light panel to create a specular light on the side of the potato chips.
The funny thing is that after setting up the light panel to create beautiful highlights and shadows on the chocolate, I realized the back light was already doing the job. I changed gears and ended up using the light panel as an edge light.
Finally, to provide a better idea of how reflective surfaces work (like chocolate), here is a technical breakdown from the first shot of this post (back light turned off):
Lighting: White Lightning X1600 monolight bounced through Leelux400 and Photek Softlighter 60″ for back-light
Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm 2.8
Tripod: Manfrotto with trigger grip
Aperture: f/14 – f/18
Focal Length: 50mm
Chocolate Covered Potato Chips Recipe
Recipe slightly adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon
- 1 cup chocolate chips (any chocolate will do. I used 60% cacao Ghirardelli)
- 1 (9.5 oz) bag ridge-cut potato chips
- Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and melt for 30sec at a time. Mine took about 90sec.
- Stir chocolate until smooth and begin dipping the chips, about ½ way.
- Shake off any excess chocolate and place chips onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
- Allow chocolate covered chips to dry completely before serving(about 2 hrs or you can refrigerate to speed up the process)
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week