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FAST CLASS: Food Photography

Lesson 7 of 14

Food Photography Camera Settings: Do The Math

Andrew Scrivani

FAST CLASS: Food Photography

Andrew Scrivani


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Lesson Info

7. Food Photography Camera Settings: Do The Math


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 What Is Food Porn? Duration:11:48
2 Food Photography Lighting Duration:07:14
3 Food Photography Props Duration:05:01
4 Food Styling Tips Duration:12:29
6 Camera for Food Photography Duration:13:53
9 Workflow Prep to Post Duration:09:51
10 Post Demo Duration:13:43
11 Photo Copyright Duration:06:09

Lesson Info

Food Photography Camera Settings: Do The Math

So let's talk a little bit with the white board here, I'm gonna just write down a few things. So I see, I see um the math of the camera like a triangle in a way. Okay. And this is I know visuals are really good for visual people. Right? So is so shutter an aperture, forgive my handwriting also known as f stop when you're working in daylight. The best way to understand this is that the lowest number you can achieve Is going to give you the best quality of your image. So I would say that you start at about 100. Now some cameras are better at like 80 or whatever it depends but for the most part, the lowest number you can achieve there is going to give you the highest quality of image the further this is basically brightness, right? We're bright here were bright. We have right abundant light at 100. Right? That's when we're gonna set our camera at a 100 if you remember um the poor disposable cameras and the things that we used to buy right, they used to give you this Excuse Me, Was for th...

e outdoor stuff and 400 was for flash photography indoors or outdoors and then if the it was 800 it was for nighttime and light and darkness. So we're going to do that as well. So most cameras today are will operate up to 1600 really kind of comfortably Without even the point and shoots and stuff are are doing pretty good quality without the image breaking up at up to 1600. So 100 is ideal For bright light and then when you're shooting indoors and you want to push your camera up to get a little bit more extra shutter or a little bit extra aperture than going up to as far as 1600. With most of the cameras we use is pretty comfortable so you have to experiment with your camera and know how that works. Now these all have a relationship to one another. So the higher this number goes, the higher the isO goes right then The higher these numbers can go as well. So if I am in at 100 let's say I'm going to give you my basic setup. Right so my shutter, I'd like to be at about 125th of a second because that way I don't get as much camera shake if I'm hand holding the camera below that if you don't have really steady hands or the opportunity to kind of brace your body and keep the camera really steady you run the risk of getting some some chic and here I like to be let's say four oh so this is sort of my my starting point here 100 esa is so 125th of a second. Four point oh aperture. Okay, this is my starting point for the day, take a meter reading. How close am I to this? Okay, so I find that the morning light in the studio is a little dark. Okay, so the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm looking at these settings and if this is where I want to be, I'm going to say, well I don't want to I don't want to compromise this and I don't want to compromise this because I don't want to go any lower because I don't want to be any shallower than what this is. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna increase this number. So by increasing this number just to 200. Okay. That's going to give me Okay, probably two stops To to up the opportunity to go here to about 160th of a second and keep this here. I'm gonna grab my camera and I'm gonna show you this counting click method that I was talking about. Okay. Hopefully I got enough wire here. Okay, now. All right, I'm at 200 and I want to be at, I'm going to set this up 125th of a second at 100. Okay. So here's my starting point. What I wrote on the board. Okay, It's too dark. I'm gonna go to 201 23 accounted three times. Okay, what does that mean? That means that now I can go either 123 in aperture Or 123 and Shudder. So it gives me the flexibility of a full stop. Now what they mean by a stop. Okay, these work in increments, right? They work in third increments. So if I'm at two that we started around most lenses start around 2.8 Then they go to 3.5 or three even, so every one of these is a click 123. Okay, so again this number everything works in thirds. So if I add I had 30 I had three. I can add three here. I can either here or here. Uh we see now we're getting complicated math. Right? That's where it gets confusing. But remember count and click. All right. I need I'm dark I go to for now I go to 401-23 clicks. Okay, Now it means I can either now I want a little more depth of field so I'm gonna keep the shutter right where it was at 160th of a second and I'm going to count off three for my aperture 123. So now about 5.6. So now I have a little bit more depth of field. So this is the method that I think can help people if you know, understand that. Put the so at the top of your triangle and if you adhere by adding here you can add either here or here and it works in the other direction as well. So if you are Here at 200 and now all of a sudden it got brighter out. Okay, so now we're back up to We're back up to 100? So that means that we've got to This number now has to get bigger again. Right, the number has to get bigger again. So I'm going to go back to 100 From 401 23456. Now have six to play with. So let's say I want to add a little bit oh 23456 Now one or 123 on one and 123 on the other. So it works that way as well. So now I've added now that I've added I have plus six plus six so I can add three here and I can add three here. So you can do it in that triangle. All right, so we have this picture of bubbling dumplings. I need to get here for in order to capture the steam and in order to capture the movement. Right, I'm gonna need a little bit more shutter speed. So this is one of those situations where in the triangle I'm adjusting for shutter. Right, I need a little extra shutter because I got things that are moving and bubbling and the faster your shutter speed, the more accurate your camera will be when things are moving. So this this is where you start to make the compromises like what do I give up to get more shutter speed? Do I give up Morris? So do I give up more aperture? So that's the important aspect of when you're in a situation, what exactly are you going to compromise in the triangle to get the shot? You want? So the priority here is shutter. I need faster shutter speeds for a shot like this because things are moving and swirling and smoke is rising, you need to stop the action in order to stop the action. You need to hire shutter speed and now I'm talking about aperture, I have to get as open as possible. Okay, I need the eyeball to open up as much as possible to get as much light as I can because my light source is obviously far away in the back part of the room. So even though I put bounce cards here to kind of push light back into it here, meaning behind right in front of me. So my camera is shooting at a little hole between these two white cards. My priority is to make sure that these things are in focus and that I have enough light on them. So I opened my lens wide 2. And my priority is the aperture because I need to get as much as I can because even at 1600 s. O. I'm still a little dark so now I'm wide open and my eyes so goes higher. My shutter speed gets compromised, which means I need to put it on a tripod right now, I need camera stabilization because it's going to move around. So in this situation I'm trying to get as much light as humanly possible on this subject from and using my camera settings to get that. So what suffers here is camera shutter speed and then we put it on a tripod. Okay, what we need here in this overhead product shot is a lot of aperture. I need the camera to be able to focus on everything on the table top. So when I'm trying to plan out how I'm going to set the camera settings, I'm taking aperture into consideration first. So now I'm locking in at let's say 11. Okay, so now I'm at 11. Now I have to adjust my my settings. Now I'm obviously going to be on a camera stand or tripod here because this isn't the kind of shot that you'd want to take standing over the product or whatever camera stabilization is really important. But the idea of getting everything in focus means that the first priority I have as a photographer is to make sure I have enough aperture to get everything in focus. And that means that if I need a lot of aperture and this is a daylight shot, it's not a it's not a strobe shot. So I had to push maybe push the I s o up a little bit more, get a little bit more aperture and sacrifice the shutter speed. And again I can compensate with state camera stabilization This is very similar in that we're really shallow and I wanted the that highlight to be in focus so I'm kind of right at the front of the frame, really shallow up the field and hand holding the camera table level. So again, the math of it is I'm shallow. That means I'm gonna have lots of shutter speed at 100 a. s. Oh right. So the inverse for these are inverse relationships between these things.

Class Description


Try a Fast Class – now available to all Creator Pass subscribers! Fast Classes are shortened “highlight” versions of our most popular classes that let you consume 10+ hours in about 60 minutes. We’ve edited straight to the most popular moments, actionable techniques, and profound insights into bite-sized chunks– so you can easily find and focus on what matters most to you. (And of course, you can always go back to the full class for a deep dive into your favorite parts.)

Full-length class: Food Photography with Andrew Scrivani

SUBSCRIBE TO CREATOR PASS and cue up this class and other FAST CLASS classes anytime.


  • Understand the business aspects of food photography, including food styling, pricing, negotiation, marketing, and copyrights
  • Shoot on a budget with a point-and-shoot camera or a smartphone
  • Prepare for your shoot and organize your materials
  • Learn food styling for various types of food, from soup to pastry
  • Write about food and create a blog


The food on your plate looks absolutely scrumptious. But somehow, when you take a picture of it, the result is less than appetizing. Great food photography isn’t just about taking a shot of a delicious dish, it’s about carefully selecting and styling your food, appropriately using natural light or studio light, and editing your images to leave viewers hungry.

World-renowned commercial photographer, food stylist, and New York Times columnist Andrew Scrivani will teach you the essentials of preparing your food before the shoot, using the right camera and lighting gear, and performing touch-ups in post-production. He’ll also give you expert advice regarding the business of food photography, so you can turn your hobby into your dream job. Special guest Shauna Ahern of the Gluten Free Girl blog and book fame will talk about food blogging, recipe writing, and growing your online audience.

This class will help you:

  • Select, prepare, and style your food so it looks professional and enticing.
  • Find and use the best gear for a food photo shoot.
  • Choose the right camera settings.
  • Create an optimal workflow and post-production process.
  • Deal with low indoor light by using inexpensive lighting equipment.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional looking for food photography tips to expand your skillset or a novice using nothing more than a smartphone, this mouth-watering workshop will provide you with the strategies, tips, and techniques needed to captivate your viewers and reach your food photography goals.


  • Anyone who wants to become a professional food photographer or a photographer who wants to add additional revenue to their business by venturing into food photography.
  • Those who love taking pictures of food, but aren’t sure how to turn a hobby into a career or business.
  • Those who want to know how to choose the right food and style it appropriately for great food photography.
  • Bloggers who write about food but need high-quality images to go with their written content.
  • People who like to photograph food for their own pleasure, but want to take better, more professional-looking images.


Unicorn Dreamlandia

I loved this fast class, the whole course was very complete but in this fast class you can easily get the idea of the business!