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Food Photography

Lesson 31 of 32

Facebook Contest Winner Critique


Food Photography

Lesson 31 of 32

Facebook Contest Winner Critique


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


  • 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.


  1. Introduction to Food Photography Class

    Andrew Scrivani introduces his food photography class and outlines the topics he’ll be addressing.

  2. What Is Food Porn?

    Andrew explains how to evoke these sensations and make your pictures so real you can almost taste them.

  3. Food Photography Lighting

    Learn the secrets to making your food pop with light.

  4. Food Photography Props

    Using the right food photography props and positioning will go a long way toward making your food look its best.

  5. Food Styling Props

    Andrew demonstrates food styling props so you can optimize your food shots.

  6. Food Styling Tips

    Get food styling tips and tricks so you can achieve a truly gorgeous photo.

  7. Food Styling Tools of the Trade

    Andrew shows you the food styling tools and techniques he uses.

  8. Camera for Food Photography

    Choosing the right camera for food photography and creating a complete kit with all the right gear is an essential step to becoming a successful food photographer.

  9. Food Styling Tutorial: Spaghetti and Pudding

    Watch an intensive food styling tutorial on how to style and prep pasta and pudding.

  10. Food Styling Q&A

    Andrew takes questions on food styling.

  11. Gear Q&A

    Andrew takes questions on food photography gear.

  12. Food Photography Camera Settings: Do The Math

    Get the basics on food photography camera settings, including ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and white balance.

  13. Understanding Light Meters and Settings

    Learn more about understanding light meters and camera settings.

  14. Shooting Demo: Dessert Photography

    Watch a detailed demonstration of a dessert photography shoot.

  15. Student Shoot: Bread Photography

    Students learn about bread photography and get the chance to do an overhead shot of bread and cheese.

  16. Student Shoot: Soup Photography

    Students learn about soup photography and how to do a soup shot using a tripod.

  17. Student Shoot: Pastry Photography

    Students learn about pastry photography and try a handheld shot of pastry.

  18. Student Shoot: Sandwich and Soup Handheld

    Students attempt a handheld shot of a sandwich and soup.

  19. Workflow Prep to Post

    Andrew explains how to shop, cook, and organize everything you need to get a successful outcome.

  20. Post Demo

    Learn how to organize, fix, and perfect your shots in the post-processing stage using Adobe Lightroom.

  21. Food Blogging Tips with Shauna Ahern

    Get a new perspective on food photography from food blogger Shauna Ahern.

  22. Q&A With Shauna Ahern

    Shauna Ahern and Andrew answer questions from the audience.

  23. The Top 10 Questions for Every Food Photographer

    Get answers to the top 10 questions most commonly asked about food photography.

  24. Food Photography Business Q&A

    Andrew answers questions from the audience about the food photography business.

  25. Photo Copyright

    Learn the dos and don’ts of the photo copyright.

  26. Advertising Your Photography Business

    Andrew offers expert advice about breaking into and advertising your photography business, including how to use the internet to get clients.

  27. The Artist vs. the Business Person

    Andrew discusses how to separate the emotional aspects of your art from the financial aspects and how to value your work so you get what you deserve.

  28. Tips and Tricks for a Budget Shoot

    Learn how to conduct a great food shoot on a budget.

  29. Tips for Food Photography with Phone

    Get advice on food photography with phone.

  30. Student Critique

    Andrew critiques students’ photography and gives them advice on how to improve.

  31. Facebook Contest Winner Critique

    Andrew critiques photos from the winners of the Facebook food photography contest.

  32. Q&A and Parting Wisdom

    Andrew offers a final course wrap-up and provides some parting advice to the students.


Brendan McGuigan

This was one of the best workshops I've ever taken in my life – in person or digital. Andrew is a fantastic teacher – if I hadn't known his first career was as a professor, I would have guessed it based on the quality of teaching. He had a casual attitude, sense of fun, and easy-going manner of speech that made him immediately accessible, and a joy to watch for the entire sixteen hours (which I completed in just under three days). For me, the main value of the workshop was to be found in the first day. Andrew went through his artistic process, dropped tips along the way, and gave a real sense of how his brain works when thinking about a scene – everything from creating the food, to styling, to composing the shot. I happen to love his use of light, and getting an insight into how he crafts his backlighting and bounce was very useful. Day two had some nuggets of wisdom – and some great hands-on – but much of the tool tutorials and post-production workflow aspects will be less useful to those who are already professional photographers looking to branch out into a new discipline. Still, one of the standouts to me was seeing just how little he does in technical post – a good reminder that incredible shots can be captured 90% in camera. The segment with a food blogger, although not relevant to me, was captivating and insightful, and the rapport between Andrew and Shauna James Ahern was delightful. Day three was great for anyone needing a refresher on the business aspects, and some of specifics of the food photography business were good to hear in detail. For those already selling their work, who are familiar with licensing agreements, copyright, stock, etc., this may be redundant, but it's always good to be reminded of these things by an expert at the top of their game. Andrew's conclusion nearly had me in tears. He is obviously an incredibly passionate, giving, and humble artist, who not only feels blessed in his own life, but feels compelled to pass on some of his good fortune. That's a wonderful thing to see, and honestly gave me a nice boost of motivation to up my personal game. Throughout the workshop I found Andrew's lesson plan spot on. His in-studio students asked great questions, and the questions selected from the online audience filled in a lot of the blanks. While I may have liked to have seen a bit more hands-on from Andrew – just to get more of a feel for his process – all in all I felt like this covered everything I was hoping to gain from it. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking to get into food photography – whether you're a complete novice or a seasoned professional photographer who wants to explore food. Whether it's for advertising, editorial, stock, or blogging, he really covers it all, exploring both broad concepts and very specific practical applications. I can't rave enough about this. If you're at all on the fence, buy it. You'll be glad you did.

a Creativelive Student

Day one was a good investment for me. After that... not so much. Not sure this is really about photography. For sure, Andrew is an artist, he's great at communicating the art of the food, the art of proping, but explanations about how to make images is very simplistic. For instance he makes a pretty big blunder explaining the "math" of photography. He says his favorite setting is f4/125th, at iso 100. His grasp of lighting beyond window light and reflectors left me a little flat. He does a good job of explaining his style -- which in spite of it all -- I like. And to be fair, Andrew is an editorial food photographer. If you're interested in opening a food photography studio and doing product work -- this may not be the class for you. I think this is a good class for cooks and bloggers who want to make images of their food. If you're a beginning food shooter, you will find the information about styling and proping useful. Having watched some of Pennhy de Los Santos and Andrew, the editorial people seem to over simplify lighting and camera and lens work. At the same time, there seems to be a theme emerging in photography and that is that it's really almost better to be highly versed in another discipline and come to photography through the back door... (e.g. a rock climber who picks up a camera, a conservationist who decides to document the changing landscape and wildlife, a cook who just so happens to like taking images). Photography, for its own sake, seems to be a thing of the past. At the end of the day the class is $129 -- so... not like you have to take out student loans to get something out of it. This guy is likable, and sincere, and makes a huge effort o be helpful to anyone interested in shooting food -- and it's hard to ignore his personal success.

Ben Adams

Andrew's class is excellent, through-and-through. The mere handful of negative reviews focus on the underwhelming results of his test shots in the class -- they're kind of missing the point. The instructor's test shots aren't about the final product, they're used to tell about the process, and boy does he do that. This course is comprehensive and concise. Scrivani talks about the ins-and-outs of the job itself (how much is styling, how much is buying the food or preparing it yourself, how much is just pure photography) and furthermore gives insight as to the nature of the business and pricing. He is clearly a strong teacher with an ear for student input, and it shows. He explains things in stages so that he doesn't 'lose' a novice student, but doesn't dumb it down so much that he's wasting the time of veteran photographers. Within each lesson (let's say he's describing the function of aperture, something most photogs already know) he's keen to pepper in little details about equipment, styling, or lighting so that there's useful information for a broad scope of the audience. The other courses, taught by Penny De Los Santos, are a joke compared to this one. De Los Santos I'm sure is a nice person, and she produces wonderful work, but her course provides little practical information and she effectively ignores her audience saying only "yeah this isn't good", making some unnamed adjustment, then "yeah okay this works" while the audience just sits there wondering what's even going on. Andrew Scrivani is very different. In one student-photographed shot, he recognizes that a more experienced pupil can easily snap his 'handheld' photo challenge, and so he throws them a curveball -- take an additional shot with a different background or styling -- and communicates clearly to the audience why he's changing the task and what the significance is. For a novice pupil, he assists her with the camera and explains to the audience the importance of getting settings right. All told, I had been unimpressed with CreativeLive's tutorial offerings until I stumbled upon this fantastic instructor. Yes, some of the information is dates (iPhone photography has taken giant leaps forward since 2013) but the practical information (lighting, budget options, business advice) is all salient and relevant. Andrew, if you by chance read these reviews, I'll say once more what was true the moment I started watching -- this course is excellent.