Facebook Contest Winner Critique


Food Photography


Lesson Info

Facebook Contest Winner Critique

In, when we did the, looking at the Facebook pages we decided that there were so many good entries and there were so many entries by different, and I did a little vetting on people too. I looked up their websites, I looked up their Facebook pages. I wanted to see what they were about. And there a number of people who were photographers in different disciplines, and I know I talked about that earlier, where you had people who, like Kristin is a photographer in a different venue and then is trying to learn a new skill set. So we had a few of those people, we had some people who were kind of early, early stages of their photography career, food photography career, and we also had some people who were kind of amateurs, by my, what I'm looking at online. I couldn't tell entirely. So I wanted, it made the narrowing-down process a lot more difficult, in that there were so many good pictures to choose from. So what we did was, we kind of decided that we were gonna try to stick to the idea of l...

unch, and I know we probably stretched out a little bit far, but a couple of the pictures that didn't necessarily fit our top five category, I felt needed recognition, nonetheless. So let's talk about the Honorable Mentions. Okay, this was Julia's photo and I really liked this. And it was pretty obvious that Julia went and shot this pretty much as is. It doesn't look like it was processed very much. It looks like it was shot in its native environment and it kind of proved me wrong a little bit because the fork didn't bother me, and I said that that's something I don't necessarily like, but in this particular instance, in this particular composition, it wasn't something that I disliked. So, I like Julia's shot and I think it was, I think it's well, it's well done. It's the ideas that you shooting what is there, if this is your lunch and you're shooting it, and that's there, that's pretty good. Alexander, who is a photographer, and I think he's a photographer in other venues, and I only said no to this picture for top five because I don't see pancakes for breakfast and I know who he is, a professional. So I think that, in and of itself, I think it's a great shot, and that's why I wanted to bring it in to display because I think there's something we can learn from this shot. I think the poise of the drip, I think the composition is beautiful, I think the lighting is nice. So I think Alexander is well on his way. I liked this one, I thought this was kind of cute. And I thought it was quirky and I thought it was something that used a kind of idea of negative space and shade in a way that was kind of unique. Now, this isn't rooted in reality for us, and that's okay. And sometimes this can be, it can be interpretive, and I like it, I like the idea of the pesto with the bow ties and the idea that, this is what's gonna happen next. So this might, Anna did a nice job. It was a cute shot, I like her surface and I like the choice of submitting a photo like this. Although, that might have been a little crunchy for lunch. And Dihan, again, I couldn't determine if Dihan was a professional photographer and this is a dessert item and it's really quite beautifully lit. It's really, it's a nice shot. I'm not so crazy about the garnish on it. I don't think that was the thing that put it in the Honorable Mention category. But this is plated well, it's shot well, and it's lit well. So these three things are kind of the thing that we can, we can draw inspriration from, and this is a really nice photograph. And Julia, Julia's also, I think, a professional photographer, based on what I could glean. This is also a really nice image. I like the idea of fanning out the chicken in the thing. I like the idea of using the thyme leaves for shape. The figs and the pear, all of it together, it gives it, and the surface, all of it's kind of packed in together there, is, there's a lot of elements of that that I like and it caught my eye and I like the way it was lit. I like the shadow, but it's not overwrought, so it's a cool image and it was, again, something different than everything else we see here. Everything had a little bit, everybody's own take on it, I thought was nice. I do think the pear is a little close to the fig, though. Okay, and this was Mike and this is a frittata, and I think the thing that caught me about this is this is really similar to a lot of the shots that I've taken in my career. I think that he probably needed to give me a little bit more pan on the bottom, but I do like the fact that we're looking at this kind of back-lit treatment. I like the fact that he got the handle in the shot and I think that the colors and the vibrancy of this, in spite of the fact that it's lit very brightly is good. That's a very good kind of combination, if you can manage light, and I think that's what this really spoke to me about, is that I think Mike managed the light very well in this shot and it's quite, almost there, just a tweak. Oh, hey. Look at that guy. I ate one of those cookies yesterday, cause this happens to be the shot of our very own Jim and he was nice enough to bring us some cookies yesterday. Actually those are his cookies, I believe. Yeah, you mean. Did you like them? Yeah I did, I thought they were really good. He thought they were gonna be too spicy for me, but tell us more about your cookies, Jim. So those are my basic chocolate chip cookies. They are done with browned butter, which is kind of a nice deep flavor to them. And we've got a little cayenne pepper and sea salt on the top. Sweet. Other than that, oh, and dark chocolate, but other than that, it's just your basic chocolate chip cookie. Just basic. Not basic at all. (laughter) Totally basic, okay. Well I'm gonna critique Jim's picture cause it was also worthy of an Honorable Mention. And I like the fact that he put his very selective focus right on the top of that stack of cookies, and you can see how everything else kind of just falls away. I also like the fact that you can tell that his light is directional. I like when you can see directional light cause what it does, it adds dimension and creates something that's not flat. So this, as much as simple as this is, there are good elements of photography in here. What I might do differently with this particular photograph is that I don't know that I would do the whole stack of Oreos thing. I might be a little messier and I might have one cookie that's kind of looking at me among a pile of cookies, so I can kind of see a little bit of the rest of them instead of just the highlighted cookie on top. He might be the best cookie, it's very possible that that's the best cookie. (laughter) But I think the overall elements of this photograph tell me that Jim obviously knows what he's doing with his camera, his selective focus, his use of light and shadow and the fact that he probably knows how to bake. (laughter) He does, and you don't mind the negative space? No offense Jim, but you don't mind all the negative space, you wouldn't like to have crumbs on the-- That was part of the whole breaking that stack down and kind of filling the frame a little bit, I think that's where that particular, and I think you might be reacting to the same thing I was, is that with the beauty of this light, I want to see a little bit more in my frame. I want to fill that frame up a little bit more. But that, I mean it's an interesting way to look at it. Because it really becomes more about the beauty of the light than it is about the cookies, which is okay. I mean that's perfectly fine but cause he did a terrific job of lighting that, or recognizing the light because we are using natural light. And I think as an art director, I shoot with a lot of negative space because I crave type, areas for type. You know what? And in that particular instance, it we were to lay type over that, that might be absolutely perfect, cause that might be where, that might be where we're going with this, as a cover, right? Here we go, right here, right? Creative Life magazine. (laughter) How to shoot your cookies, by Jim, you know? So we have it, there it is. I didn't mean to jump in on the critique there, Jim. I know, that was good. Blonde Woman] Yeah, sorry about that. Do you have a picture for us to critique? No I absolutely do not. (laughter) So you're the only one in the room that remains unscathed. Pretty much. Alright. Pretty much. Okay, here are our winning photographs from Facebook. Drum roll please. Andrew, before we move on, can we please just give all of the students and your photography just a big round of applause? (applause) You can clap for yourselves. I thought they did a great job so I just wanted to-- Oh well, I'll save my final comments for when we're ready. Okay, sorry. When we're all done, cause I do have some things that I want to say to them. (laughter) Mwa-ha-ha. Okay, here's our winning photographs and we have five of them, and these are from Facebook, and we have, didn't we see that picture already? You know, I was a little confused when it popped up before in Honorable Mentions because I thought we chose this one as a winner and I'm pretty sure it's a winner. It's a mistake, this is a winner. It is the winner, I thought we, I was pretty sure we picked that as a winner, so I'm glad that we've made that correction because I've already discussed this image and I thought it was really good, obviously, and it's one of our top five from Facebook, so congratulations to Julia. We don't need to rehash what we talked about earlier. We could just say Julia did a really nice job. Okay, this is from Karen HoFatt and this was definitely one of the pictures that kind of spoke to me. I have some suggestions how it could go from being a really good picture to being a really great picture. Because first of all, the lighting is tremendous. It's beautifully lit, it's well composed, the plate is clean, the shapes are composed appropriately, it give just the right amount of negative space. What does it need? Somebody, anybody. I think it should be centered more. Yup, I think it should be up a little bit and it would be perfect all the way around, and what else? Flatware or something. Mess or props or something I would say a pop of color or a pop of-- There it is, that's what I was looking for. I think all of those things are valid, but I do agree with you that I would put just a drop of green right in the middle of that, or somewhere, a sprinkle of green or something. Some kind of garnish would make that whole thing jump off the page for me. But I do think that Karen is well on her way to understanding all the things that we've been talking about and has obviously been practicing because that is very well done and it's very well lit and it's extraordinarily close to being right where you wanna be. Okay, this is Olia Saunders. And Olia is also a professional photographer, but he does not shoot food. So I was, wanted to speak to the idea that there were photographers in our audience who were trying out something new. And I thought that some of the lessons that we talked about were represented here. And I think one of the things that is really clear about what Olia understands here is the relationship between what's off the plate and what's on the plate. Pulling color and texture and shape and all of that kind of creating an overall image. I mean, the lines in the napkin and the lines in the radishes, that's a little bit of kind of design genius right there. That's really well done, and the green coming off the plate in the form of a placemat, and then jumping right onto the plate. It's just an overalll well-done composition and it's very interesting to look at. It's lit well, I think that little leaf in the front drives me a little crazy. I really would take that away, because I would really love for the image to start here. I wish this was a little more negative space here. But all of that, and the composition of that, and the understanding of how to pull color and shape and all of these other things from outside to in, that's a good example of inner composition and outer composition and how they're married together. So Olia did a very nice job. And this is Phu Son Nguyen, I think that's how you pronounce it, the last name is Nguyen, right? I think that's a Vietnamese name. And I was drawn to this image immediately, and it's very different than a lot of the other ones that we looked at. And, for really simple reasons, is that I mean, you can see that `the light is in the front, which is unusual for some of the things, but because it's being shot from above, I'm assuming that if my light source is here, at the bottom of the frame, that the camera was arching up over the top from the back side. Excuse me. I love the fact that this is so graphic and the color from the avocado and the inside of the maki and to the yellow and green at the bottom of the frame. Again, just a really nice play of color and shape. And so, I mean when you think outside the box in photography, sometimes you come up with some very interesting kind of things, similar to what Steve did with his still like approach. This is some really beautiful still like photography and I think it's really well done. Anything that kind of grabs your attention, draws you in, and forces you to focus on the thing that the person who took the picture wanted you to focus on, is an example of what you want to do with your photography. So this was obviously one of the ones I went through. I had gone through the 30 images multiple times, and every single time I went through it caught my eye. And that's kind of how editors do it, it's how you should do it when your editing, and it's what I did when I looked at these photos. I didn't just go through them once. I went through them multiple times and I saw which ones caught my eye each time. And this one caught my eye each time. Tina, Tina, I think it also fits into that category of a photographer who's transitioning into food. That's what I could glean from the internet. And I like this, I don't necessarily know that it's lunch, but it's definitely a lunch that I have often. (laughter) So I like the fact that we have just the subtle indication of movement, dripping off the spoon. I like the suggestion that the spoon is either coming or going. I like the fact that we have the espresso in the foreground and it's completely out of focus, and I also like the idea of the contrast between light and dark. I think that when you start to play with that idea of light and dark, you are really tapping into artistic instincts so I enjoyed this photo. Again, it caught my eye and I went back to it again and I went back to it and I decided to include it because it was something that I felt was well thought out. So, Tina did a really nice job and she's, I think the last of our winners. Hey, I know that picture. We've seen it about five million times this week.

Class Description

Learn how to break into the world of professional food photography with the world-renowned commercial photographer, stylist, and NY Times columnist Andrew Scrivani. During this mouth-watering workshop, Andrew will introduce students of all levels to the essential food photography tips, lighting, styling techniques, gear, shooting styles, post-production processes, and fundamental business principles needed to turn your hobby into your dream job.

Using his wealth of experience gleaned from working with industry-leading magazines and cookbook publishers, Andrew will take you step-by-step through the basics of recipe selection, food prep, and prop styling. On the second day of the workshop, Shauna Ahern (of Gluten Free Girl blog and book fame) will join Andrew to chat about food blogging, recipe writing, and how you can use food photography to make a beautiful blog that will grow your audience.

Whether you are a seasoned professional photographer looking to expand your skillset, or a novice holding nothing more than a smartphone, this workshop will provide you with the strategies, tips, and techniques needed to stand out, and land that delicious food photography job.


Kalissa Tozzi

This course shares great knowledge and information on food photography for people interested in doing this as a profession or as a hobby. I always had a curiosity to learn more about the topic because I love cooking and I love photography, but I had no idea about what it entailed. I think Andrew does a great job in covering the details of what food photography is all about for people who are new to it. He covers all the basics, and gives a very good foundation for students to take the next step (either to build a business or just have fun). Andrew comes across very humble, friendly and motivating which makes watching the videos and learning much more enjoyable and less intimidating.