Skip to main content

Food Photography

Lesson 30 of 32

Student Critique


Food Photography

Lesson 30 of 32

Student Critique


Lesson Info

Student Critique

Okay, it is Kate's. This was based. Oh, I could see you chose that plate again that we like so much. What can I say, I fell in love with it. And it's the vibrancy of your greens. Let me ask you the question, how far did you push that in post-production? Not too much. So it was really that green, it was really pushed, I mean, I guess it's also the difference in screens and everything else. But, they look really vibrant and rich, and I like that, and I think, you kind of, that there's a natural feel to this, and I like the fact that you pulled your greens from off the plate and into the plate. I like the fact that you kinda juxtaposed those things plus, you have a lot of natural color here, and you have a lot of patina, and kinda age, and a little bit of soul with the picture. What. So from the overall compositional standpoint, that's the plus. The thing that I notice, is, it's a little askew; so we have something that's kind of a little turned, I might have backed out just a lit...

tle bit, got my camera straightened out a little bit more and gave me a little bit more of my edge on the bottom. So, we might have more of a left side edge that continued down, because of the beauty of the edge of that plate. I would wanna highlight that a little bit for sure. So, I would just say, from an overall food compositional standpoint, that's very well. So, you're inside composition is very good. And then, as you move to the outside part of your composition, I might wanna pull away a little bit. I might wanna see a little bit more of that edge, and that would kinda really, kinda solidify that image for me, where I'm really in love with that plate. 'Cause that's what really, that's what attracted you about it, right? So, you wanna add as much as that as it can. And, again, I feel like I'm a little bit like this on the angle; and I think I struggle with this as well, because every surface we shoot on, isn't always square to the frame. So, a lot of times, I find I have to turn my camera to get the bottom to line up the way I want it. So that's one of those kind of in camera adjustments you need to make, to make sure when it comes out on screen, it's got the right orientation. So, should I run now? No, no, no. Oh, okay. Okay, who's next? Kristin, okay. We went minimalist here, really nice. So, I see you carefully chose your garnish. Your garnish looks fresh, it doesn't look wilted. You went with kind of a more, the kind of, messier kind of seeds and drips and stuff, which I like. There's something here that's distracting me, that's taking my eyes away from what you want me to look at, and I think you know what it is. The corner of the dish. Well it's that, and it's the symbols on the chopsticks. Oh. I looked at the picture three times, I looked away, I looked back, I looked away, I looked back, and this is what I do sometimes when I'm editing myself. I'll flip off of it and flip it back. So, instead, I can't do that here so I'm just gonna turn my head. And, every single time my eyes are going toward the chopsticks. The other thing I wanna point out, and I'll just walk up, is that, this is the center of your frame. Never leave the middle of your frame empty. You understand what I mean? So, this particular plate, again, your internal composition is good. Flip the chopsticks over, and you don't have any problems there. It's about how you put it in the camera, meaning, I wouldn't have squared up that way. I would've, kind of focused, or plated, one or the other, either focused, or plated more towards the center. Because, I feel like my eye is going either here, or here, and this is where you want your eye, you want it there. So, I think that's really important to note, that when you're composing images, remember not to distract your viewer, and don't leave them an empty slot right down the middle; don't kick a field goal. Okay, fair enough? Mm-hmm. All right. I mean, you did a lot with a little though. Because, I feel like the food was pretty. Yeah, it was a challenge, because it wasn't innately beautiful, you had to make something beautiful, and I think you did that. Thank you. But, again, compositionally, gotta work on that. Wow! Okay, I like it, I like the composition. What I think this needs, is a little mood. Mm-hmm. Right, it needs a little bit of mood, it needs a little bit of shadow. You got the nice, bright highlights over here, but your light is so balanced, and I mean, this may not bother other people, but from an artistic perspective, I think this has more to offer. It has more to offer, because I feel like your lighting, you know, just the nature of. We had access to cards right, black and white. I was using. You were, and it didn't knock it down enough right? Yeah, I mean, that whole shadow in the back is a black card. Yeah. 'Cause it was just straight shine off the. Yeah, I think, I mean, honestly, even in post-production, you could probably get a little bit more outta that. But, your highlights are a little hot, so I would try to knock your highlights down just a little bit, and give a little bit more definition, and then have, maybe, have some, a little bit more. I would wrap all the way around. Like a horseshoe. (mumbles) Yeah, sure, why not, and then just let that kind of. What that does, essentially, creates a frame for you right? So, by kinda creating a frame with light and it's almost like, what do you call it, I'll think of the term. (laughs). But, vignetting, vignetting, right? And you can do that in post-production as well if you wanted to play around with it, it's kind of vignetted a little bit, so then all of a sudden, you're just punching it right down the middle, boom, check out this. And then the light kind of directs your eye right to the middle. But, it's a nice composition, and I think you really had the right instinct to add shadow to it, it's just about perfecting it. Yeah. (laughs) For sure. Leigh, that's really nice. That's really nice! That caught me right away, I got right down the middle, I see this right here, here's your focal point. That where you put your focal point? Mm-Hmm. That's great. That's really, nicely done. Because I feel like I immediately looked right down the center of it and I saw that really sharp, hot focus right down the middle, and I like the falloff. The falloff to the forks and the use of the double fork technique of just kind of giving something interesting to look at, I'm glad you grabbed onto that, because I didn't talk about it at all, so that was instinctual, so you did a really nice job with that. Thank you. I think your colors are vibrant, you chose really, really nice compositional, kind of compliments, where you have green, and orange, and then basically, I don't care that I don't know that it's chicken anymore. It doesn't matter to me. So, I think, your light, also is the difference between, I can tell exactly where your lights coming from. I love this, where you have the dark, and your light, and you got this kinda going across. The pattern on the plate, where, when I saw that plate, I wasn't happy with it, I looked at it, and I was like, I don't think I can shoot that plate, and you did a pretty good job with it. Thank you. So, I like this a lot, I think you did a really nice job, and I'm glad to say you were my partner. (students laughs) It's a nice shot. Thank you. You should be proud of that shot. Thank you. Ooh. Pam. You know what I like, right? I mean, look at this. I mean, this is exactly the kind of photography that I'm drawn immediately into. The moodiness of it, this beautiful swath of black. I mean, you accomplished that really well, and by creating this here. This is beautiful, and that little shadow underneath it, I also, I really like that a lot. I like what you did with the napkin; you created architecture, and you created kind of shape, right? You're an architect so you kinda cheated with that. (students laughs) But the way you plated it too, it's really elegant, it's an elegant plating. You used what was there for you, and you used it in such a nice way, and you built, you constructed, and the natural look of the, kind of, the scallion, that you kinda just tossed there, but everything else was kinda carefully placed. Your garnish looks fresh. This is a terrific image, and it's something, again, you should be really proud of, that's really nicely done. Okay, you know we had some nice props here. Paola did a, this is beautiful as well. I think that you did this kinda geometric thing, where everything is kinda sunbursting out, and it's a really nice vision. I think it's really nice. I. Even though, I think maybe, the one thing that I'm kinda reacting to a little bit is kinda like the one, two, three thing. Where we're creating, kind of, like these perfect little piles, and maybe a little messier, because I think. Yeah, I wanted to sprinkle some, when I looked at it afterwards, I wanted something sprinkled more on the other side. Yeah, but I mean, the colors are vibrant and rich. I think that the choice of propping is fantastic. I mean, I think that the overall composition of this is really pretty. And the glisten that you're getting off your grilled pineapple is really nice. It's a shame that the pineapples weren't whole, you know? Yeah. You probably could have done even more more with it with that particular thing. But, I mean, I've just looked at how many pictures of the same, essentially, the same five foods, and they all looked dramatically different, because you're all bringing your own vision to it, which is really cool. I really love the props that you chose, and I think there's an innate, kind of, sense of artistic flair with these kind of things. So, like I said, overall composition, terrific; lighting, terrific, I might just change a little bit of the food styling and get it a little bit more natural looking. Wow, that's really nice! That's a complete departure from what I expected to see here. (laughs) It really is, because I think that you're taking the idea of macrophotography, and doing something completely artistic with it. Now, this is art, this is fine art photography when you do food like this, it's really, it's an interesting take on what you were presented with. And I think that your lighting is a little bit hot, it's just, it needs probably a little diffusion; but I think your overall concept of where you were going with this, and what your thought process was in putting this together, is really interesting. I might have not cut the bottom off. I don't know how this is perched, so maybe you have something there that was perching it, right? But I don't know that, I would have kinda given the whole item and let the background kind of wrap around and have the object kind of staying there on it's own. But, did you cut that for a reason, is there something there? Yeah. Okay, fair enough, I mean, that's obvious, and when you're working in a really, not a controlled environment, where you're not controlling all the variables, that's a pretty good solution. And the fun packet was just not very fun at that moment in time. (laughs) All right, what I didn't notice that. Is that a rind that you personally cut up? No, they were on the fruit tray. They were on the fruit tray like that? Yeah, yep. That's good recognition, you've made a lot out of a little, which I think, that's really, that's a unique perspective on that particular thing; and I like the macro, your focus point is really sharp, and that's a dynamite shot, that's a really nice shot, you should be proud of that. Thank you. It wasn't very filling though. What? It wasn't very filling. (everyone laughs) Is that all you ate for lunch? Pretty much.

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.