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Food Photography

Lesson 11 of 32

Gear Q&A


Food Photography

Lesson 11 of 32

Gear Q&A


Lesson Info

Gear Q&A

So is it fairly, is it fairly typical to um, food photographers to use fixed length lenses and you know, fixed width lenses instead of zoom? So you did notice that I don't have any zoom lenses in my bag. I don't like zoom lenses for food photography. I think that fixed length lenses and moving your body the way you want to is the way to go. I think that there are food photographers who use zoom lenses. I own the 28-70 zoom, which a lot of people use. Um, I don't like using the zoom lenses. It doesn't fit into my work flow personally, but if it's something, but quite honestly, if you can only afford one lens, one really good lens, especially if it's got the aperture drop off that you want, then go for it, I mean, it's okay. It's not like I say, "Oh no, you can't shoot zoom lenses!" No!. I prefer not to, and I'm in a position where I don't have to, but if you can afford one really great lens and that's the one, it's never gonna go to waste. It's still a great lens and you're still gonn...

a use it a lot. But um, it's not exactly what works in my workflow, but sure. Is that an industry standard though, like or is that just a personal choice? I think most people, I think that 24-70 Canon lens and the equivalent of Nikon is also something that most food photographers own for flexibility's sake. That's what I shoot with is a Canon. Yeah, I think that I don't know that there's a right and a wrong of it. I just think it's a comfort level. I have the lens, I just don't use it that often. Paula? When you say in a restaurant, or do some more life styling food shots, or at a farm, or doing barbecue thing that you were doing. What lens would you choose? The 35. Right. Yeah. Because it's the most flexible lens in the bag. It's really because the focal length is, it gives you a little bit of width, but it's not so wide that it gets you know, aberration or it looks kind of strange. But it'll also focus within you know, three feet, so you know. It's not even close to a macro lens, but it's a very crisp, clean lens, and you can always push in on in post production and crop. Yeah. I notice you have an X-100 S from Fugi I do! Have you ever used that for food photography? I have! It is definitely has the power that I need as far as creating a file. It creates a This is the camera we're talking about right here. It's a Fugi X-100. I think a few people in the room have the upgraded version. It is a fixed lens. It's not a zoom and it's not changeable. But they do make a model, it's ah the x-10. X Pro 1 X Pro 1. The X Pro ! Is changeable lenses. But I found that both with this one, and the Lumex GF series, which has changeable lenses. I've never moved off of the main lens. I bought this obviously I have not choice here, but with the Lumix I have the GF-1. I bought the 28mm Pancake Lens, which focuses macro, and I never changed it out. I've Never gotten a different lens for it. These are called Micro 4 Thirds Cameras. These are Digital SLR cameras. But they are, mirrorless. They're called mirrorless systems, and the file size is somewhere between a full frame, and like a Point and Shoot. It's somewhat of a hybrid between the two. But it does create a really big crisp file, and you shoot it raw. The way you would shoot professionally with another camera with the other cameras. And you could shoot that professionally. This one, in particular has a macro setting where you can flip to a from an optical finder, because this has a view finder, which is rare to see in a Point and Shoot camera. It has an optical finder that goes digital and analog. So if you click it over to digital it focuses macro. So it's pretty cool. With those cameras can you create a shadow dept of field though or Yeah, absolutely! It's got a manual it's just kind of a retro look obviously. Yeah. It has a manual aperture ring. So like this goes from 2.0 up to 16. Right. so you can't go beyond 16 but it's definitely pretty cool. It's got a nice range. Right. Yes! You have an opinion on extension tubes for Food Photography? Yeah, I tried them, and I had a very hard time with them. I wanted really badly to make it work, and it was hard. It was a very hard thing to do. Extension tubes basically what they do is they extend your focal length, or reduce you focal length. Right? They put more glass in between and the idea with Food Photography is to make a lens that's not macro, macro by putting an extension tube on it. That what were talking about? Yeah. Yeah. I tried it before I had one of my Early in my career I was playing around with all different options, and how not to spend so much money on lens and I found it to be really hard. It wasn't something that I thought I was getting the results I wanted from. So, we got questions from the audience? Yeah I think Kate Oh we got one more over here? Quick question, you were talking about using a light meter earlier. Does that mean you're proximately shoot in manual mode? Or do you sometimes shoot in aperture priority, or something like that? Well, professionally it's always manual. I would never shoot aperture priority in a professional setting. Or with this camera. That camera never leaves manual mode. But for walking around and in the street, and doing street photograph, and maybe trying to capture some stuff out, where ever. This particular camera I set in aperture priority mode, which basically locks the aperture in place, and adjust the shutter speed automatically. So, it's like half of automatic. And then what you can do with this particula camera, it's got an a exposure compensation dial right here, next to your thumb. When you're shooting. So if you get a shot and you think that you need to make a little bit of an adjustment you can always take a little bit off, or add a little bit onto the exposure. So, professionally, no! Not professionally, sometimes. Any other questions from in here? All right, we're ready? Okay so, Snappy Gourmet asks and Snappy Gourmet thank you for all the great questions. Snappy Gourmet has been really active. And really solid. Andrew, how do you keep you camera, and your geer clean, when you are around so much food? Do you clean your own camera? Or do you send it back to Cannon to clean it or bring it to a local shop? That's a good question. I have a very good relationship with a local shop in New York. A lot of professional photographers choose to work with smaller shops because, especially if they're selling professional gear. They're usually guys who are really knowledgeable. They know you, they know what you do, and they know that it's time sensitive. So if something breaks they are right there to fix it. Plus a lot of the smaller like camera shops are ones that are attached to rental houses. So the one I use is attached to a rental house. So I buy my stuff there, but I also rent stuff from them. So when I bought my Foba Stand, they actually came to my studio, and installed it for me. I bought this camera, and three days after I bought it. I fell off a ladder, and it landed in a bowl of soup. And I got ten stitches in my hand in the process, and my assistant freaked out. Yes, Olga, you freaked out! The thing about keeping your cameras clean is I send them to the camera shop, the local camera shop that services my stuff, and I send it in you know, periodically probably three or four times a year. They clean the sensor, they clean all the outside. They kind of clean the inside of the lens and everything else that I bring to them. And it's an important thing to do, because it's not just about the food it's about the dust, and that's the other thing I don't love about zoom lenses is that, because the lens is going in and out all the time, it's creating suction, and it's pulling all this dirt into your camera. So that's another reason why I find it not something I like to then I gotta get my cameras cleaned a lot more, too. Cool question. All right Andrew, we did talk about the Fugi X-100 and talking about shooting with your iPhone. What about the opposite direction? Cleo from Boston asks, "Do all magazines now accept digital, and what about medium format? Is it necessary at all? Jerry D said, "is there any reason in this day and age to rent a medium format, or large format camera to get experience with it? Will the client ever need, or ask for these tools?" Okay, that's a really good question. So far in my career I haven't had anybody outside of advertising clientele demand medium format. Medium format, these days digital. Medium format digital is excessively expensive, and it's not just the gear. I mean a digital camera and a digital camera back runs over $20, plus you have to have super powerful computers, enormous amounts of space, and a lot of times work with a digital tech just to use the camera in a studio setting. So it used to be that everyone wanted medium format when we shot film. Nobody shoots film professionally anymore. Not for magazines or nobody really has labs anymore. It's become much harder to shoot film. There maybe some hold-outs out there who are still shooting film because they got a reputation. The magazine they work with will let them do it, but for the most part, I haven't shot a film assignment since 2002. So that gives you a time, we're talking over ten years. The other part of that is whether you should rent it to learn how to use it. That's a personal choice. If you find that you're in a point of your career where you think advertisers are gonna come to you, and wanna hire you, or you're all ready working in advertising. It's not a bad idea. I don't know any magazines that demand it. I mean if you wanna shoot, and you have the money to shoot medium format, they're not going to complain about it. But 35mm is pretty much the industry standard. I would think. Do you ever shoot with two cameras? I do. All right tell us about that? Almost all the time. All right. When I know I have multiple shots to make, and I kind of plan out at least one day a month where I have a really big day. Where we're shooting, five, eight dishes, nine dishes in a day. Do a lot of the prep ahead of time. Get the whole team in the studio at once, and we'll just rip them off one after another, and kind of pack it all in, in one day. When we're doing that, we leave one camera mounted above the table, invariably we're gonna shoot multiple dishes from the top, and then the second camera will be below, and it'll either be on a tripod, or I'll be hand holding the camera. So, I do work with two cameras very often. Obviously my workflow is, when I have a heavy workflow, it helps. When I'm working with only a couple of dishes, I may not take the time to do, set-up both cameras. But, it's something I'll do on a pretty regular basis. All right! Next question. This is a question regarding This is from Joel I. Lawrence. When do you use the 50mm Macro, and when do you use the 100mm Macro? I think the balance of when I use the 50 verses the 100 is probably, I use the 50 probably like 80% of the time. The 100 is when I want a super-close detail shot. I have used it less at this point in my career than I did earlier. In the early part of my career I used the 100 a lot. Because I was much more comfortable, closer to the food, because I wasn't at skilled at food styling, wasn't as skilled at propping. I didn't have as many props. So being closed to the food is something that was a comfort zone for me, and it was also it was sort of I was developing a style that way, baccate I was good at the macro aspect of the photography. So, now it's sort of just a when I really find that I want a really high detail close-up shot. I'll go to the 100mm, but for the most part, I shoot with a 50 more than any other lens. Andrew, JoGanna asks, "Do you ever create any recopies yourself?" I'd like to know that, myself. I did do a lot more of that when I was first doing my blog. I started my blog in 2007, and I was including recipe and I was developing recipes for a good portion of time. In recent time the last time I actually developed a recipe, and shot it myself was for an article for the Times. Where I created the recipe, I did everything myself that time. I went back to the way I use to work. Where I did everything. I developed the recipe, I wrote the story, then I did, the styling, the propping, and the photography all by myself, and I wrote about that process. I enjoy recipe development. I just don't have as much time as I use to. One of the things that I had as a regular feature on my blog was called, "Reclamation Recipes" and it was my way of recreating, repurposing food that were left over from photo shoots, and not wasting food. So I would re-create like kind of gourmet food based on all this other stuff that's all ready even been cooked, or chopped or used in something else. So, that's something I might go back to when I have some time, cause I thought it was fun and I like the message it sends about not wasting, but it was that was a cool way to kind of go about it. So that's something I like to do but I just haven't had time lately. Okay! Another great question that we have here. This is from Duke in Park City, Who asks, "Do you consider some degree of wide-angle distortion acceptable in Food Photography? As apposed to enlarging peoples noses. Do you always tend to go for shot zoom macro for food plates?" No. I think that there is gonna be I took a shot just recently I think it was Valentines day, so I guess that want that recent. It seemed recent. Where I took an overhead shot of a like a cafe table. That I created like kind of a romantic dinner scene in, and I noticed that after I got the shot, cause I shot it with the 50, that there was definitely some adoration on the edge. It didn't really change my opinion of the image. It was something I felt, I still felt comfortable publishing. So I guess the answer to the question is, yes. I wouldn't make it a regular habit to do something like that. In a special circumstance I would kind of let it go, and if I had to do it over again, I might do it a little differently to avoid that, but it didn't really do anything to detract from the image. So, it could be okay. Cool! Yeah! When you're taking that shot so you always set it up on the table, or do you ever put it on the floor? I always have it on the table, because I have a focus stand. If I didn't have the stand I wouldn't be opposed to putting it on the floor. Right. When I first started I had a lower table that was only a foot and a half off the ground, and I would stand over the table. So, yeah, I mean the over head shot is a difficult one to execute, if you don't have the the height on the camera, for sure. Yeah right. Cool! We got one last question. From a local. Steven from Ballard. "Andrew, what are your thoughts on marketing and finding work? How do you create a name for yourself? Do you network with vendors, like restaurants? Advertise with magazines or create close relationship with blogs and agencies? Well, we're gonna go over the business on day three in real detail. But I get asked that question a lot. When people wanna know how to kind of start in the business. Like how do you jump-start yourself? I guess depending on what you wanna accomplish you kind of start to form partnerships with people in your local area. So if you wanna be an Editorial Photographer my suggestion would be, there are always local publication, local Bloggers, people in the restaurant industry who are looking for photography and you start there and one of the things I've continually told people when that question gets asked is small by-lines lead to bigger by-lines. It's a grass-roots effort. You start and you build yourself up by making partnerships with local business, local newspapers, local bloggers and you show that you are a competent photographer and that's how you start to build up your portfolio.

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.