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Food Photography

Lesson 18 of 32

Student Shoot: Sandwich and Soup Handheld


Food Photography

Lesson 18 of 32

Student Shoot: Sandwich and Soup Handheld


Lesson Info

Student Shoot: Sandwich and Soup Handheld

Left it to Lee to pick out what she wanted to shoot. And she was eyeballin' this sandwich before that I think is probably what we're gonna work with. Are we still on the sandwich or are we going to move to the other thing we talked about? Well, we can move to the other thing if we have enough. Well we can do a different one, 'cause what we didn't know when we chose what we were gonna do is that they were gonna pick soup as well. And they picked the bowl we liked. Yes (laughs) And the wine that we liked. You know what, I don't think that we could, since we're gonna do this very differently, I think we're gonna start over, but we're gonna start right from there, so rather than worry about having to re-bowl something or whatever, why don't we start here, and I'm gonna let Lee pick out her surface and what she wants to do as far as setting. And then we'll work from here, so. I'm gonna be here for, she's under the most pressure of course, because I'm gonna basically just guide what'...

s going on. I'm not gonna make any decisions, I'm gonna let Lee make the choices, and then when we're shooting together, I'm gonna help her make a selection. I'm gonna let you grab that. The brown? No, this one. This is why you hire strong assistants. Did you pick the marble? I did. That's the best. (laughs) I'm gonna help you, because between the two of us, we probably have more back injuries than the rest of the room combined. This the side that goes up? Yeah, let's orient it properly. No, no, no, oh, you wanna I just want to get my finger out from under it. Alright, we got all 10, 20? Good, alright, good. Okay, You're on. Okay. So, while Lee's gettin' set up, do we have any more questions we wanna get to? (people in room talking at once) We're hand holding, yeah. We're hand holding, but we're gonna be at table level. Confession. Yes? I'm still on auto. Alright, that's okay. 'kay, cool. So, Lee is the least experienced photographer in our particular group here, so she may speak to a good portion of the audience that doesn't have a lot of camera skills. So, the fact is, once she's got a set up going, I'm gonna walk her through the camera settings that we're gonna work with, and that's why we're working together today. Actually, back to the last soup one, Is there a convention as to what side you put a spoon? Because I know when the spoon is on the left side, because I'm right handed. If you're doing, like, a place setting, and the spoon is to the left. Is this the English boarding school thing going on or what? (laughing) No, it's just that, given I'm right handed, it seems weird to me to have a spoon on the left. You know, I've never, ever adhered to, like, food, like, table setting conventions. You know, when it comes to food photography. I really don't think that unless you are doing a story about table setting convention, or you know, etiquette, I wouldn't even think about it. It's not even somethin' that enters my thought process. It's about what it looks like, it's aesthetic. [Woman Who Asked The Question] Right. For sure, hundred percent aesthetics, So, did you pick garnish? Oh, you picked a mint leaf. (mumbles) I have a suggestion. Let's try somethin', while you're working on other things. We're gonna throw it in here, and we're gonna take my seltzer, whoops. 'Kay We're gonna make a mess, and we're gonna let that soak until right before we're ready. Okay. That's okay, we got it. There's utensils, over here? I think there are in that basket on the other side of the table. (utensils clinking) Nah, they're all pretty shiny. So, Lee, do you know the difference between a 50 millimeter and a 100 millimeter lens? No, sir, I do not. Okay, well the difference is, right now what's on here is a 100 millimeter lens. And what that means is that the length, here, is longer between the lenses, and it gets you closer to the subject. Mmhmm. That's a very tight, tight frame, so I'm gonna switch this back out to the 50 millimeter lens, and it's gonna give us a little more room to work with. Okay. Thank you. So, what was it about this marble setting, surface that really turned you on? What did you like about it? Well, I like that the soup is a little bit more refined, as far as a soup goes, it's not a stew, it's not chunky and big. Mmhmm. I like that there's some texture in the marble, and there's a little hint of being refined, without being too refined. Mmhmm, great. I think, similar to the kinda idea of what we liked about the green box, and the Betina on that metal plate, Right Was all these kinda slightly used, slightly kind of worn things, and it just kind of gives it some kind of a real feel to it. Yeah. I'm gonna make a little bit of an adjustment on this styling. Okay. Since I am part of this group, I get to make a few decisions. Yes, please do. So, I'm gonna just fold this a little differently (knife slicing bread) to give it a little bit somethin' different. And I don't want to cover up as much of the surface. Okay. You made a really good point to choose this surface, and I think the highlights and the little things that we have going on in here really look nice. Would you normally wait 'till later to put the hero in, because I see it's wicking up the sides, and. Yeah, you probably would, and They can't hear me. Oh, that's right. Well, what he said was that wouldn't we wait until the very end to put the hero in the bowl because it's startin' to wick up the sides, and maybe get a little bit oily. And the answer is, yes. I mean, the answer is, absolutely, we probably would wait 'till the very end. But, in this circumstance, we already have a fairly well-plated bowl of soup. It's not really giving us that much difficulty. And, we're gonna judge this on kind of an overall composition, so. But it's a good point. So, how ya feelin'? Okay. The bread's a little white, a little pale. Would you do, like, either toast it Where's my blow torch? Or put some olive oil on it? Yes, I think that your instinct is absolutely right, but the way to combat that, is instead of doing this, I would do this. Okay. So, now we have a little bit of texture and something else. We can even tear even tear that even further. But, this is something you'd naturally wanna eat with that. And then we have some crumbs here, that I like. So, I'm gonna add a little bit of what I think might kinda give a little somethin' there. And now, I guess the last thing to do is garnish and take a test shot, right? Yeah. Alright, so I'm in charge of camera settings for this one. So, we're gonna, do you have a DSLR or do you work with a point and shoot camera, or what do you normally shoot with? I have a Cannon. Like this? Not quite like that. Okay, well, you take the camera, and you know how to do shutter, and aperture, right? So, aperture is the wheel. Mmhmm. And shutter is the smaller wheel. I'm gonna take the meter reading, and I'm gonna call it out to you. Okay. Like an assistant would. So, we're lookin' for, we like to be at least 125th of a second, which we have plenty of. So, and we're at around six point three for aperture. Do you want that much depth of field? Or do you want it to be shallower? Shallower. Okay, so we're gonna go shallower. So, we're gonna go to about 250 at four and a half. Alright. Four and a half, there you are. So, why don't we get a test shot going' and we'll see how we feel. So, if this bowl were a little bit shallower, we could shoot at a really low angle. But, since we're not, we're still doing' a kind of table diner's perspective shot by hand. So, different than what, we're kinda specifically talking about one perspective to push in from a diner's perspective, and then we can start back further and move closer to the bowl as we like. (camera clicks) I think we have the back. Okay , so I have a suggestion. Why don't we do this? Since, it's around here somewhere, the blackboard. The blackboard, so I'm gonna hold the blackboard in place for you, rather then, 'cause you're shooting pretty low, that way we can still see what's going on. (camera clicks) And, there it is. Alright, we're startin' to approach my particular style. Alright, so I would say, what about that is initially troubling you? There's, there's There's too much bowl in the front, right? Right. So, I would say, raise your angle up a little bit. You could still pick up the black background. Where if I tilt this out this way, and that way, you could still get in that bowl. Okay, I think we definitely need to go a little lower still. And then, can I make an adjustment on that towel? Mmhmm. Between those things. Because I feel like we are a little unbalanced. Okay, and I would say, we were about here before? Mmhmm. I would say maybe just a slight adjustment rather than the bigger adjustment that you made. (camera clicks) We're gettin' there. I like it better. I would push this up a little bit, and kind of incorporate that in, and maybe tighten up my spaces a little bit. So, you can get a little closer. So, the closer you put your props together, the closer you can get and still incorporate them in. So, if you have that, I can step back here and look. (camera clicks) I like that you did your garnish off center. I think sometimes the inclination is to put your garnish right in the middle. I don't necessarily like the hard line that we got goin' there. Mmhmm. So, can I take a shot and give you an example of what I might do with this? So, I might get down here and drown out some of that. Maybe pick up just a hint of this on the side. My bread is lost now, because I'm tight. So, I'll switch out this side for this, brush my crumbs up a little bit. Now, I just got a suggestion of the bread. (camera clicks) Take a little bit of a higher angle. (camera clicks) And let's see what we get. Yeah. So, what I did in the two shots that I took, and I hope the second one comes up. The second one, I think, is better than the first one. Here comes the second one. Okay, so you see, I kinda drowned out the horizon line behind it by using the props and other things to kinda block that out, where I could still pick that up. Now, the star is still the soup. We have the suggestion of a lot of different things in the shot. Mmhmm. So, I'm comfortable with the idea. But, what are you noticing about that garnish? Kinda wilty. It's a little wilty, right? So, I think that we can probably do something else, and we can probably pick off a couple of leaves off the thing that looks the freshest here for me. Well, actually, I have a better idea. Let's try this. Because I admired these fennel fronds before. They seem to be a little hardier, right? They're a little bit hardier, and we can kinda pluck out somethin' really cool in here. And maybe just kinda gently perch it there. And why don't you give that a shot? And remember where I was. Get a little bit lower. Yep. (camera clicks) I like that fennel frond a lot better. Yeah, there's something really delicate about it. Yeah, it's beautiful. It's kinda elegant, yeah, and I think that sometimes with a soup that's that hardy and rich something, like, really delicate and gentle is gonna kinda compliment it. But that's really pretty. Yeah, that's really beautiful. And if you wanna get closer now, and focus in on that then you can kinda crop your elements in even further. So, I'm gonna tighten this up for you even more. Get in tight. Get from this part of the bowl out, and see what you get. And if we put that black back in, it might really look good. (camera clicks) Let's see where we're at. Yeah, I mean, the focus on that, maybe we wanna if we wanna do somethin' with that, I would just adjust it a little bit, and then come in like right here, and pull out that way. I think we have time for maybe one more shot. (camera clicks) Yeah, that's nice. I mean, I think we got a little dark Mmhmm. So, maybe take two clicks off your shutter speed. I think we can afford it. Off? Yeah, off. And then take one more shot, and I think we'll be good there. 'Cause I think we gotta wrap it up. (camera clicks) Let's see where we're at. I think you framed that really well. Thank you. I caught that back in the thing. And we're gonna get a shot in a second. Yeah, you see, I like that you kinda put it in the center of the frame. And you're really highlighting the beauty of that, kinda, the contrast between the thick and the heavy and the light and the airy. So, for sure, I think for a novice, you did a great job. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for helping, and thank for what you did. Mmhmm. (people clapping) Thank you. Andrew, our recipe taster in the lounge said it's really nice to see you tutoring. So, I think people were really enjoying that as well. Great. Do we have any questions we want to finish with? Absolutely. Okay. A question from Dehawn, I like how they start their question: Dear Andrew... Dear Andrew... Dear Andrew, when you're shooting, does the framing matter when it comes to the plate. Like, is there a definite answer for vertical or horizontal shots depending on the plate or bowl? I find a horizontal shot really difficult for a bowl, like what you're using now. I think you're right, and I said this yesterday when we were talking about shooting, was that I had to relearn how to shoot in the horizontal frame. Because when I first started in food photography the predominate way to shoot was vertically because most magazines are page turning this way. Everything was facing this way, same way with cookbooks. But with the web, we have moved to more of a horizontal frame, and I had to kinda find a way to shoot those things. And what I told Jim earlier about the oval bowl, and setting them up in a diagonal way, that is a way to kinda work that frame. So, you probably wanna set up for a particular frame. Meaning, we set these up for horizontal shots. And if we wanted to shoot vertically, we'd have to either change our angle or change our styling, so change the set up, so the props. So, you need to be pretty well thought out about the difference between your horizontal and vertical frames, with the exception, is with you're really far away. So, if you're really in a high overhead, or you're really pulled back where you can crop into that on any angle, but for the most part you really need to plan it out ahead of time. Perfect, we have a couple of questions, Andrew, regarding color. Yes. A couple of things: one is, how often do you match color as far as your linens? Do you go complimentary colors? Do you do, just, different colors? And then there's also a question about are there any colors in food photography that are taboo? That came from Fashion T.V. That's a good one. Yeah. Blue is really hard. Cool. Because, the reality is, that there's not that many blue foods. So, blue plates, and you know, with the exception of blueberries, which are essentially black, when you talk about how they read in the camera. But, actual true blues are really hard, and they're hard in nature 'cause they're not part of the food, kinda, palette. So, I think that when you start to integrate blue into your set, whether it be through propping or plating, you have to be very careful that you have complimentary colors that work together. Again, we talked about yesterday, about the whole idea of dressing the way you would dress yourself. So, if you put things together that match or compliment one another. It's the same thing with building a plate. 'Cause if you look at something, and the colors are clashing, it may look uncomfortable. It may aesthetically not be comfortable, yeah.

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.