I have a Canon DSLR (T5 Rebel) and I am using my standard kit lens (18-55mm). I wanted to capture a soup picture with steam. I am trying to take the picture under natural light. I set my ISO to 100, but if I increase my shutter speed, my white balance gets messed up. Is there any tips or settings for taking food pictures with steam? By natural light, I meant daylight and I tried taking the pic close to my window.Also sorry its my exposure that gets messed up.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you post an example of the results you are getting, and include the settings you are using now? Right now, we have several guesses as to your problem, but it's hard to know what's correct without seeing. Particularly, it'd be nice to see what you mean about white balance — can you post some examples showing how this changes with different shutter speeds? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 5, 2016 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


First of all, the steam is hard to shoot on a photo. A lot of pictures you see with steam are composites of the photo + steam.

To take a photo of the steam in real time you first need a dark background, and then you need to use a flash in a very focused way (use a snoot) pointing to the steam and only that.

The flash normally is at 90° of the camera axis.

Then try to use the normal combination of speed to iluminate the scene and fstop to iluminate the steam.


my white balance gets messed up

Probably you are refering to the exposure. The white balance is independent to the shutter speed.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, this is one of the dirty secrets of food photography. Food that looks good in a photo is rarely something you'd actually want to eat. It's typically under-cooked, served cold, sometimes even covered in lacquer to keep it preserved long enough to shoot, or using substitute ingredients such as Elmer's glue instead of milk, because it will stay looking good far longer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ This youtube video shows how to do it with lights rather than flashes but the principles are the same. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 21:19

Your White Balance problem is due to the alternating current(AC) cycling of florescent lighting. Keep your shutter speed about 1/60 to capture the entire cycle and avoid capturing a portion of the cycle with a different color temperature.

Using 1/125 should work as well because you would capture a full half cycle.

In Europe use 1/50 or 1/100.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I fail to see how this answers the question, as the question specifies: "I am trying to take the picture under natural light" \$\endgroup\$
    – Pete
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 14:02
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The OP has mistakenly used "natural light" instead of ambient light, or available light. White Balance shift with shutter speed can only be caused by florescent lighting. It is a very common problem with no other possible explanation. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good guess, but the edited question shows that it's not white balance at issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since the OP is no longer asking about White Balance I was going to delete my answer, but I will leave it just in case it may help someone else. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 14:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.