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Food Photography

Lesson 15 of 32

Student Shoot: Bread Photography


Food Photography

Lesson 15 of 32

Student Shoot: Bread Photography


Lesson Info

Student Shoot: Bread Photography

Through all of the things that we've already worked on with our students, the styling, the cropping, the shooting, and the camera settings, they've seen the way I work and we have set here ready for them. So the next step is to let our studio students here get an opportunity to put some of this stuff into practice and also if you're at home, we're asking you to do the same. So we have four pairings and these are the assignments that you're all gonna have. Steve and Kristen and are gonna attempt an overhead shot. Pam and Leah are going to do a tripod shot. Paula and Kate are gonna work handheld and then Lee gets to be my partner, and we're gonna work on a table level shot and what's incorporated into a table level shot, why it might be different than some of the others, is we are stick to one particular perspective and we need to build around that perspective. So those are our four pairings and our first group that are gonna come out and work and they're gonna have about 15 minutes to p...

ut together a spectacular food shot are Steven and Kristen. So welcome Steve and Kristen onto the set. Come on guys. Now my job at this point is provide emotional support. So you are on... We're both Nikon shooters, so we might be struggling. Okay so we got a couple of Nikon shooters. I'm a Canon shooter. So what I'm gonna help them with and if they weren't I would helping them just with the controls. But for the most part their own. So they're gonna pick out their props. They're gonna pick out the food they would choose to shoot from an overhead perspective, get everything setup and make a shot and they got about 15 minutes to do it. You're on. Okay, so we're gonna go with this piece of-- If anybody has any questions along the way, while we're working, I'm happy to answer those questions. Of course you picked that one out. So should we talk about what we're gonna do? Yeah. So what we decided was a bread and cheese shot and I guess we'll get started. Sounds good to me. So we chose this piece of wood 'cause it's aged and dark and contrasts the bread. So do you wanna just start? Sure. Okay, cool. Get that little olive oil thing. We should look through the camera and see how we-- Absolutely. One of the things I didn't talk about as somebody pointed out to me afterwards was, that being able to select your focal point in the camera. So that's an important component of the way I was shooting before and the way you're probably gonna need to shoot here. Now when you look through the viewfinder of your camera you have all these little dots, and then when you kinda highlight one of 'em you can move it around. Where you would like that to be is right on your subject where you want your focal to be. So you can adjust that by pushing the button that has that little icon on it that looks like a whole bunch of little dots. You push that button, that icon, and then by using the wheel on the back of the camera and the wheel on the top of the camera, with your index finger and your thumb, you can adjust that so that it's right on where you wanna it to be. So if you have any trouble with that, 'cause you're a Nikon shooter, I will help you make that adjustment or show you what to do, but that's exactly what you should be doing by climbing up and getting a look through that camera. Sure. Cool. I thought that we could use two pieces. Like have one of them broken and one of them not. Okay. So this is already broken. Do you wanna break the cheese? I can just do some prepping. Slide a little closer. Now again, I'm gonna reiterate that when Steve is getting up on this ladder, that ladder is adequately sandbagged so that it is safe for him to climb up on the ladder. Because the last thing you wanna do is knock the food off the table. I mean the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself. I caught that. You caught that, good I'm glad. I hope the audience caught that. The other thing we do a lot in studios, whether it be a food studio or anywhere else, is if we have cables floatin' around, they have enough slack to move, but we also tape them down to the ground with gaffers tape, because it's important to understand that. Down, mm-hmm. Down, down, down, okay stop. That make for a good cheese board? And I'm thinking what we could do is put a little piece a tape on either end of our frame so we know where to keep our... That's a good a idea. To keep our shot within. I'm gonna make a fresh break. And we gotta down, just a tiny bit more. Ready? Yep, perfect. Okay and let's see. We're seeing probably about right there. Is where the center of the frame is gonna be? No that's the edge. That's the edge. Okay that's fine, I want that to be cut off anyway. Yeah, just about a half inch out from that. So if you could what they're doing is they're marking their frame. They set the camera and now they're gonna mark the frame so that their shot is locked in. With being on a tripod-- Further to the, further out. They have the opportunity Further out, further out, to do that. further out, further out. Further out. Further out, further out, oh come back. Right there. There's just a hair of it in frame. But I think, where did it go over here? 'Cause yeah I wanted it cut off. Okay. When you're ready. All right, I think that's good so. About right there. I'm gonna get some oil. You've gotta talk us through what you're doing. We're just creating like, you know the traditional cheese, french bread and cheese experience I guess, with the olive oil. And did you wanna get some cracked pepper? Yes, so our thoughts are the cheese on the cheese board with some cracked break and some olive oil-- Thank you. And other condiments. Would you like to do the honors. We can try that. I'm gonna look and see what this looks like so far. I think I would like a wider grain. You can take it off too. Let's start here and see what that looks like. That's good that you're testing that out. I want it tighter. When I think bread and cheese I think cozy, intimate, close. That's kind of my thinking. And so we'll add a little bit in here too. Less is more. Mm-hmm. Oh yeah, I like that. Did you wanna try a cloth? Yes. Have you guys established your hero for this shot? Is it gonna be the bread, the cheese? You talked about that? We haven't. We haven't, no. I mean, I definitely, like for me when I'm shooting, like artisan breads and stuff, I really like to accentuate the shadows, and so I mean I definitely think that's the main part of bread and cheese. Right. What do you think Steve? I like, you know shadows certainly give dimension so that's an important part of the composition. Would you like to find a place for the cloth? Sure. Can we make this like a reality show where we have clock like right over you guys? (audience laughs) Iron Chef, Creative Live. So how long have we been on set so far? I'm gonna move that. Okay. And I can see that white, yeah. I'm anxious to see what this is gonna look like. Yep. So once you've kind of established your composition, what is gonna be your next step, once you're comfortable with your composition. What do you wanna do next? Well we're work on our camera settings. I think ideally we're initially thinking that we want to pick a wide depth field so will move the f-stop. Everything in focus. Okay, up to about eight. And so what camera settings are we on now. I don't know, but I think we need more bread. I can give you a tip what we're here. We're at f-4.5. And what's the shutter speed? 320. So I think we need a slower shutter speed. Probably like one one hundredth is what I'm thinking at like f-7. Remember now, because you're on that stand you can slow down your shutter as much as you need to. So if your aperture is your priority, find your aperture and don't worry about shutter speed. So we'll check the light meter. Then you're fine. Cloth, maybe around the color. I think a different color, maybe a rust. So you're thinking that maybe you're all too neutral here. Too monochromatic. So you wanna pull some color into it. I'm glad you did that, because as I was looking at your set, I was thinking maybe some red would pop it out and that's exactly what Kristen went for. [Female Audience Member] And you guys, just so you know, there's always comments and input from the internet if you need any of that? So what we hearing? Let's hear it. They're thirst for some red wine. So everybody, oh some red wine, oh okay. Oh yeah, we could do wine too. Suppose we could pull in wine. We do have some wine here. Well how about that. Only if I can take a sip. Okay, hold on. So now what did our meter read? (multiple people talking) What is your hero? What do you wanna focus on? I kinda wanna get a little closer. Like bring this down just a little bit so that we're cropping. Okay. What do you think about the bread? It's really nice of you guys to you know, share this with (drowned out by laughter). I'm really happy that you guys are doing the hard work. And actually you could bring that glass of wine right in here. Oh wait, no, this one's mine. (audience laughs) You guys got five minutes. So I wanna see a couple of frames before that five minutes is up, so let's... No I don't like the wine? You... Here's an extra glass just in case you have friends. I'm gonna defer to you since you were up there. Okay, well let's try that. What do you think about the light? Do you think it needs more contrast? I think it's looking okay, but one thing I might do is so that in that the bread is cut this way, if we tear it such that-- A little diagonal. Let's get that away from our... Still wanna take in the frame. I think just hair. Maybe like an inch and half or so. Yeah. A little more. Okay right there. I like the crumbs too, I think we could do some crumbs. Yep, okay we place that. And then maybe some, just crumbs right there. Ah, you probably have about two and half minutes to get some frames in there, so. Okay (gasps) sorry. (audience laughs) Not to be the guy who's tick, tick, ticking the clock, but... Hey, you get an hour normally. This is true. I will say Adventuresome Kitchen, who is our 11 year old viewer, says that looks amazing guys. Oh he does? Well I just took it sorry. Well we might have gotten two. Okay, I'm gonna tell you something that I think is definitely gonna effect your shot. You're wearing all black. (Kristen laughs) Oh right, so I'm making a shadow. You are creating shadow with your shirt. So think about that when you're working that the idea is if you are close to your table, you are either gonna give light or shadow to it. Interesting. So you're wearing a lotta black, so that wow, we have a shot. Okay. So is there anything about that-- I don't like the rag at all. You don't like the towel? Well I just don't like the cropping. Okay, what I would say is certain things that always kind of tend to bother me, if you don't mind, I'm gonna make one little adjustment. Okay. If you see... Where this and this are kind of touching and overlapping. Touching. It's very fussy. I like to create a little bit of negative space between everything and maybe that alone. And you brought the wine and the wine's not in your shot. I took it out. Oh you took it out? Yeah. Okay. So maybe squeeze off another frame. Now I see the green, and I don't know if that's just the monitor. It's the monitor. Yeah. Okay. I don't like that. Oh you took on your composition. (Kristen mumbling) Okay, so now we just created a little bit more negative space around that. Yep. And then you're still not happy with your towel. I think we can probably go tighter as well. Yeah, I do too. Okay, so Just a hair. Bring it down a little bit. So that that corner is not so fussy. Okay. It's gonna wanna go up. All right, so now we don't know where we are. Yep, come down a little bit. There we go. Try that. Good. You wanna? Sure. We'll just let that go. Just shoot it. And then she can reframe that. 'Cause I know the pole moved. Yeah I like that a lot better. So tighter is better. Yeah definitely. Yep. How are you feeling about the towel now? Much better that it's cropped a little bit better. Okay, all right, terrific. So I mean, obviously you're kinda out of time at this point, but I think for 15 minutes and you created, does what you put on there, and what you see on that screen, is it what you imagined? We could always improve. I mean, you know. Well I mean in general, is it what you imagined? Yeah, yeah, I think it definitely conveys this sense of you know the bread and cheese and just the breaking of bread. I think you did a good job. I think with the time allotted you got some nice frames. Yeah. How's the internet feeling about their frames? They're feeling good. There was questions about about thought process around having too much much props or too many different items in food styling. Like what is your, when the image is too busy, what is your thought process on that? You know, quite honestly that is really a matter of aesthetic test, and I think from frame to frame you might decide one way or the other to be either more crowded and a little bit more busy or something that's a little sleeker and less crowded. So I think it's a matter of taste. And honestly when you talk about art, a lot of times it is a matter of taste. So it could be one or the other. All right, I think we're ready for our next group. You guys did a great job. Thank you. Thanks very much. (audience applauds)

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.