Classical Tabletop Light with Steve Hansen

We’re excited to feature another guest post from photographer Steve Hansen. Steve is an award-winning advertising photographer specializing in food, liquids, packaging, and high-speed photography and motion. His 20 years of experience as a chef and extensive experience as a food stylist and digital artist allow him and his incredible team to execute any imaginable image or motion project. 

Photographing a still life sounds simple. Place a few beautiful objects on a table, add some dramatic lighting and voila! On occasion that is all that is needed but if you want to take your lighting to the next level it requires a bit more finesse.

The placement of the subject matter is critical and should work with the lighting to direct the eye exactly where you intend. For this scene, I used a Pulso G Lamphead with a 1’x3’ Strip Softbox for the key light to produce a broad but directional source originating from the upper left of the scene.

From there I used two Picolites; one fitted with a Projection Attachment and the other with a Fresnel attachment. The Fresnel was used to add light to the center of the table to create a gradient while the projection attachment was used to add a splash of light on the basket of vegetables which is where I wanted the eye to travel first.

Once I have the lights in place, I typically work from left to right, shooting for each important element separately and brushing in the layers together in Photoshop. In this scene I shot the steam, olive oil, jug, and vegetable basket separately so I could use gold cards, scrims, and other modifiers to achieve the exact lighting and reflections I wanted.

The consistent light output and quality of light emitted by the Broncolor strobes makes post-production a dream and allows me to shape the light in wonderfully unique ways.

Our thanks to Steve for a sharing what goes into making a stunning image! Take a look at more of his work at and follow him on Instagram as @stevehansenvisuals.