BLT Final

Well, after 3 tries, I'm BLTed out. For this last attempt, I decided to wait for the great light instead of trying to create it. Early morning light would be beautiful, but can you really enjoy a BLT before 8am? So, the afternoon it is. The late afternoon sunlight is special this time of year. The rays are long and golden. The lighting for this can be tricky because of the dark shadows in the bacon and the bright highlights in the mayo. Because I lit from the front, I did have to burn in the mayo, bread and plate areas in PhotoShop.

With my camera on a tripod,  I used one white fill card behind the sandwich side to reflect some light back down. In my other attempts, I insisted on back lighting, and that didn't give me enough light for the dark bacon. So, this challenge got me to do things differently. Here are the other attempts:

BLT blunders_2#1                                                                                       #2

First go: Bad choice of light—too much blue.  Bread looks horrible!  Second try: Better light, but grill marks aren't working and there's still too much going on. We also need to see the sandwich layers better.                                                                              


11 Wonderful responses to “The BLT Photo Challenge”

  • Ben

    Thank you for showing your early attempts and pointing out why you weren’t happy with them. This kind of critical thinking very helpful to one who is a beginner at food photography. Keep it up.

  • eatlivetravelwrite

    Thanks for posting this. As a relatively new food blogger I still have a LOT to learn. My biggest challenge in photographing the BLTs in our challenge meal was getting to them before people devoured them!!!

  • Steve

    Wow….please don’t take this the wrong way Michael, but the thickness of your bacon has me all hot and bothered. This photo is all the coaxing I need to finally get off my can and cure my own batch. The prospect of that much pig in one sandwich is just too appealing to let the opportunity pass. Thank you Donna, for the detailed description of your process, it is very instructive to see your work at each step you took, and your final shot is fabulous. Sadly, my tomatoes are dying on the vine from the blight that is ravaging them throughout the Northeast. Off to find a good fried green tomato recipe so that I can enjoy at least some of them.

  • kaszeta

    Food photography can always be challenging, both in lighting and composition.

    For example, my food photography business cards feature two different pictures of the same BLT, and almost the same pose, but one of them shows a cross-section.

    Images here: and

    When showing them to people, several of them have now commented the same thing, which is that the two images are the difference between “food photography” and “food porn”. Prior to that, I’d never heard of people giving much distinction between these.

  • Skip

    Gorgeous photo, Donna! Fabulous BLT, Michael! You forced me to finish off the last of my garlic-pepper bacon in similar pork belly fashion for lunch today. Yum for both the eye and the tummy!

  • mel

    There a plenty of ways to sneak a bit of light into a backlit set. You should get a few little mirrors and blue goo putty to hold the mirrors (or little gold or silver cards. Now with digital you could always make two exposures and combine the exposure (not HDR) just a simple mask in Adobe Photoshop. While I did not enter I did shoot a BLT on national bacon day and I ended up shooting it without the top piece of bread.