This post is written by Jenna Gang, NYC based still life photographer who specializes in social media and stop motion content creation, along with Kristin Stangl, NYC based food stylist and writer.

Photographing the Juxtaposition of Healthy Food & Junk Food

Kristin and I set out to create two images that juxtapose healthy food and junk food. We wanted each image to look good on its own while fitting together side by side. Kristin carefully chose which ingredients we’d photograph with a strong emphasis on color and texture.

For the healthy sandwich I wrapped seamless onto a 4×4’ piece of foam-core as the background, and a sheet of blue reflective plexi that has an ombre effect for the surface. The lighting is very simple—a broncolor Senso 1200 pack with Litos lamp and P70 reflector aimed at a 4×8’ V-Flat, with fill cards on the opposite side to fill in the shadows. This creates a soft light that emphasizes the overall shape of Kristin’s delicate styling.

We took the opposite approach with the junk food sandwich. I used two Litos lamps run from the Senso 1200 pack—one bare bulb on the top left, and another with a 10° grid on the P70 reflector for some extra punch. There’s a fill card on the opposite side to fill in the shadows as well. The sandwich is sitting on iridescent decorative film that looks different depending on the angle of the camera and lights. The harsh lighting style brings out the details of the sandwich. Kristin carefully chose the height order of the items in the junk food sandwich before shooting to ensure the structure of the sandwich would hold. Once the sandwich was made, I had to work quickly to capture it before it started to fall apart.

Both images were shot with the Nikon D850 using the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G lens.

Jenna Gang is a conceptual food, beverage, off figure fashion, and still life product photographer based in New York City. She specializes as a director in stop motion and animation photography that can be used for commercial, advertising, product, and social media projects. Jenna creates vibrant imagery and gifs in the studio and on location of products such as food, beverages, clothing, soft goods, and cosmetics. @jennagang

Kristin Stangl is a NYC based food stylist and writer. After finding her way back to the kitchen, Kristin has worked as an assistant stylist in New York City on cookbook, editorial, and product package shoots, and also has experience with video for editorial, advertising, and social media content. Her writing has been published in Remedy quarterly, Cook ‘N Scribble, and The Billfold.  @days_of_food