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Food Photography

Lesson 3 of 19

Interview: James Oseland, Editor of Saveur Magazine

 

Food Photography

Lesson 3 of 19

Interview: James Oseland, Editor of Saveur Magazine

 

Lesson Info

Interview: James Oseland, Editor of Saveur Magazine

All right, so welcome back. I'm super honored to have one of my mentors and my editors, bosses. James Oseland, the editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine. So, please welcome Jim. (crowd clapping) The internet's place. So, he actually took time out. He's in New York City in his office. He took time out to have a conversation with us. So, I'm super flattered and so honored that you did this Jim, thank you so much. Oh, of course Penny. Okay, so I have a quick question to ask. Did you see my Honduras film yet? (laughs) I sure did. Actually I spent about a half an hour with it yesterday, it's just absolutely gorgeous, I loved it. I really, really the film. In fact, we loved it so much that we're going to have it be a small bunch of books to read. We're gonna hang on to it and make it up featured 2012, where we can really get some briefing. Awesome. Wow. That is great, that's good. Cool, so I still have a job basically. Yes. (laughs) Awesome! Okay, well I sent you some sample que...

stions of what I wanted to talk about, but, again, you and I can just have a conversation. So, one of the first ones and I actually asked people yesterday on Twitter, if they had any questions I should ask you. So, some of these are from actual tweets. Oh! So, Saveur sees food totally different than any other magazine like Bon Appetit or Food & Wine or Real Simple Martha Stewart. What's the difference? What is it about the food philosophy that sets Saveur apart? I think, you know, there's probably a bunch of what to answer that question. I think that, I'm actually gonna mute this while I'm talking to get feedback from me. I'm just gonna mute it a little bit. Can you still hear me? Yeah. Okay, great. I think that, you know, it's like we're treading on maybe a little bit of tricky territory here, but I think that food photography before Saveur came along in America... Anyway, I can talk in a more informed, in a more specific way about food photography in America. Before Saveur came along and even after Saveur came along in our so-called competitors, although I don't really see other food magazines so much as competitors to the Saveur because what we do, I think is just so, so very different. But food photography by and large was and in many ways still is a kind of aspirational craft. More than an art form. I guess I could more safely call it a craft, where the finished food supposed to be this thing that's like, wow, I don't think I can ever make a salad as beautiful as that, or I don't think I could ever plate food as exquisitely as that, and oh my goodness it almost looks fake and in fact, it kind of was fake and in some instances it sort of is fake still because it's like food shoots are so-called again competitor publications. You've often got like small battalions of food stylists and camera assistants and cooks all working toward making say that, I don't know, that roast, along with the vegetable side dish, look like the most ethereal, impossible plate of food versus what we do at Saveur, and I think that you, Penny, can probably really testify to this which is basically we cook it and we shoot it, and there's no middleman and there's other than like, you know, occasional small-time modifications like, you know what, really need a little flash of green here to make this just look a little more yummy. There's really nothing else that goes on. We cook it, we plate it, we put it in front of like a beautiful light source which nine and a half times out of 10, is just God-given natural light and we shoot it. And we do that here at the magazine in the test kitchen, in our again as you'll testify, incredibly reductive studio which isn't even a studio. It's a conference room with a folding card table on it or if we're in the Garifuna village in Honduras, you know, we essentially are shooting food the same way. I think, you know, the core of that is that we're shooting food almost as a kind of anthropology. We're not shooting food as like this, you know, yeah again this aspirational distance, you know, commercial almost commodity entity. It's just food that we eat and also nine times out of 10 after shoot is over, we will in fact eat that food that we've shot versus like sometimes what goes on it, you know, it's some other kinds of food shoots where you wouldn't want to touch the food if it was the last food on earth after it had been shot. It had been so, so heavily manipulated by so many hands. Yeah. That's so true. I was just telling them... Can you hear me okay, Jim? Yeah, I can hear you good. I was just telling them they asked me if I ate the food and I told them typically I didn't because my hands were all through it. But I know, there are instances where we do eat it, I mean it. But normally we've dug our hands pretty, I know when I shoot in the studio in Saveur you know-- I've seen you scarf, I've seen you. (everyone laughing) Well also, oh gosh, I just lost my train of thought, but also there's another aspect. I mean because as you know I also shoot. There's something about when you're shooting and when you're in shooting mode. You often just for like, I mean, it's just pure and simple as you don't want the extra calories while you're working. You just wanna focus on what you're working on, and after the work is done that's when you scarf. Yeah, that is so true. That is so true. But I never eat the food that like if I'm shooting a plate I've worked it so much that I'm like, "Okay, let me go get a fresh plate." (both laughing) So wait, you mentioned that you make pictures and you guys may not realize this but Jim does photograph assignments for the magazine as well. Can you talk a little bit about that? What drew you to the camera? What inspired you to start telling your own stories through visuals? Well, you know it's funny. I have a funny job, you know, as editor of the magazine that really does straddle this thing of like, you know, being a word person, being a person who thinks in very, you know, very cerebral or deep ways, on the one hand and then on the other hand, another really huge part. In fact sometimes the more dominating part of my job is being a visual person. Saveur, first and foremost, is a visual magazine, a visual entity. Anybody who picks up a copy of the thing, first and foremost, they've got to have that thing, "Oh, my gosh, that is so beautiful." Look what I'm looking at. I could turn the page, "Oh, look at that picture. "I'm learning something else that I didn't even know." Then later of course, they'll hopefully sit down and read the thing and maybe God willing even make some of the recipes for a minute and hang on to it for a while. But I think, you know, it's funny I guess. If I had to say am I, Jim Oseland, more of a word person or more of a visual person? As much as I am really truly a word person, I think at my heart and my deepest most cellular level, I am actually more of a visual person. I've always been that way, always, always. I mean, gosh, I was such a a weird kid. Like at four or five-years-old, I remember, you know, rearranging the furniture in my bedroom to be a certain way and like come up with different color combinations and tear up pictures from certain magazines and make collages on the wall and by the time I was and got my first real good camera from my dad. It was like this wonderful, old heavy little Canon, 35-millimeter camera. I've been taking pictures and in fact I actually never really had up until the point I was about 27-years-old a journalism background. I wrote for the high school newspaper but other than that not really and in fact, I went to film school the college. I went as a bachelor and a master's candidate to the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco and study what was really more like underground filmmaking, experimental filmmaking. It wasn't a film school like a UCLA or USC kind of film school. It was like, you know, tape bug parts of raw celluloid and like, you know, run it through the projector kinda film school. And so, during that time, I was shooting all of the films that I made of the short experimental films that I made. I was also shooting a lot of still photographs and learning also the techniques and aspects. Just the basic technology of picture taking back then. So, it's something that's very, very deep in my system. I came to Saveur which is pretty much the first and only food magazine that I ever wrote for or was involved with first as a writer. And wrote a bunch of Saveur's stories for about a four or five-year period all over the world and then ultimately built up the courage to ask my then editor, Christopher Hirsheimer, who was one of the founding editors of the magazine. (murmurs) And Christopher had always liked my pictures and always, you know, had always encouraged me to take pictures, and so I was granted permission to go shoot a story in the far eastern part of Indonesia in the Spice Islands and I just loved it and I took probably like a million exposures and back to then these were slides for slide film. Wow! And it was like wow. This is like, you know, the best thing since sliced bread. So, since that point I was always shooting whatever Saveur story I was working on myself and still do although it maybe not as much as I would like to do just simply because of the demands, my schedule. However, I am gonna take a trip to Northern Brazil in about two weeks to go shoot a story that I'm very, very, very excited about. That's cool. That's cool. So, James what do you think a photographer needs to really tell stories around food? Like what are those elemental foundational components of really accessing a great story? Like, you know, for me it's listening to my instincts. It's being quiet and letting the the subject really kind of do whatever they're gonna do and me quietly taking my pictures. For me it's also spending a ton of time with the subject, so that they feel comfortable in front of the camera. Are there any things like that for you that you kind of latch on to and have worked for you in your storytelling photographs? Well, I completely concur with what you've just said. I completely second what you just said. I mean, in a way it's a great question, Penny. I think in a way being a picture taker of a story, is really not so different from being a journalist great story. And since I've done both as an equal measure, it's, you know, there's this kind of fine line where you're... I'm sorry, I'm gonna mute myself again. I'm getting weird feedback. To finish my thought. There's sort of fine line where you're invisible yet very, very present. I think one of the keys, I mean at least in the, you know, there are just so many different kinds of situations of course. There's a billion different situations and there are no hard and fast rules for how to handle every situation. It's constantly as you know, it's constantly shifting. And every situation is constantly shifting too even just when you feel like you sort of you're very comfortable in the sociology of a specific environment, something will come along and change things. Somebody else will come into the picture or there will be a new kind of food to shoot or your lighting will so radically change that you have to like change everything you'd set up and thought you had to fall back on to shoot this stuff. All of a sudden you're gonna have to go to a different part of the house or somewhere over to the neighbor's yard or whatever to shoot the thing. I think there's this thing of like, I don't know let me try and articulate this in a way that and maybe if it doesn't make sense what I'm saying, (murmurs). But it's this thing of like, you gotta be... This is gonna sound so corny. You gotta love every environment that you're in. You kind of just gotta fall in love. You gotta really respect that environment. That's the specific beautiful quality (murmurs). You gotta fall in love with it and you've gotta just be open, and you've gotta be present. Yeah, transparent because that'd be helpful and it's something that you just, maybe just learn as a picture taker, as journalists or just as an outsider or somebody who is not, you know, deeply familiar or inculcated into a particular environment. One thing that I found is, you know, honestly shooting inside like the home of the Javanese villager, is really not that different than going inside of a Paris three-star kitchen. It's like just have gotta like, I don't know, it's this thing of... Does this make sense at all or like do I just sound like-- It does, it makes sense. I think I know it's at the foundation because really at the end of it, you're connecting with someone. It's about their food, it's about that moment. It doesn't matter that the food is completely high-end or inaccessible to the majority of people or if it's something as basic as something that all of us can get in a market and make ourselves. I mean, you're tapping into a sensibility and you're connecting with that person. Yeah, you've got to respect that sensibility and you better respect that person and you've got to respect that environment. You've got to respect those other people that are there in that environment too. And I mean you've gotta mean it too. You can't fake it, because everybody knows. We're all people whether we are in the Javanese village or in the Paris three-star restaurant. You know, and it's like, I don't know. I just think it's the most core fundamental level. You got to do that thing. When you don't do that thing, that's when the problem start or that's when you don't get the images you want. Also, from a more selfish viewpoint. But also you're just not really, I don't know, somehow if you come in kind of all narcissistic and you're only determined to get the images and you're not really respecting, you know, this exquisite little environment that you're stepping into, I don't know. You kind of get what you ask for, if you're bringing that to a situation. Totally, absolutely, I couldn't agree more. I think you have to be sensitive and open to see those things, you know, you have to access that within your own heart, be honest and, you know, be as revealing as you can because you're never gonna make those pictures unless you yourself feel those things. Yeah, and also-- If you have some huge ego, you're not gonna make it. And also appreciative of the place that you are too. Be it the Paris three-star restaurant or the Javanese village or I don't know, the suburban house in Bellevue, Washington. You know, I mean it's all kind of miraculous. It's all just so, so interesting and be into it, you know, find that part of you that's into it. Love that food. Love those people. Just love it and, you know, more often than not, you're gonna get amazing images as a result, it's gonna come through. That energy is gonna come through in your images. Totally. We talked about that earlier as someone had asked me, if the enthusiasm was from the subject or if it was from me and I was like a 100% of the time it's definitely from me. I am showing up with the energy and the excitement and the joy to make pictures of someone who does what they do in the most beautiful and sincere way in whatever setting it may be. They may not show up with the same enthusiasm but I'm there to celebrate what they're doing and that's just so powerful. And you're right. You can't make pictures unless you're there to be, you know, unless you show up ready to own that space and to make it the best that you can make it. And to love it too, you know? Totally. That is so cool. That's so cool because so many photographers, it is about them. They don't think for a second that it's not about you. It's about the other person on the other side of the camera and what they're doing. And your job is to illustrate that moment in that space, and that person, and to heighten it, and make it as amazing as you can make it so that when it gets printed in the publication, it's amazing. And again to go back to that thing, respect for that moment too. Respecting that place. I just lost my train of thought. What was I gonna say? It's gonna come back to me in a second. All right, I can't remember. Go ahead. What you were you gonna say, Penny? Well, I was gonna say that I just think that says so much. I love that you said that because I've operated my whole career by hopefully leaving my ego at the door and owning and celebrating the other person on the other end of the camera. Because I wouldn't make great pictures if I didn't have great subjects. At the end of the day, that's what it's about. It's about finding really beautiful subjects and they can be as simple as someone in Bellevue, Washington stirring a pot of this amazing family generational recipe and there we are, and it's a beautiful moment and I'm ready to do it. It's all about showing up and being excited about your subject. That is so important. Well, it is an incredible gift to do the kind of work that we do. I mean, you know, we are like the pilots in this work that we do and God, what an amazing like conduit. What an amazing entry point into the lives of others but through the cooking that they do, through the food that they eat. We all do it. It is a great, great human commonality. This thing is wonderful thing food and to really understand place or individual character, go follow them into the kitchen, you know, not so much the office definitely not the bedroom. (everyone laughing) But the bedroom, I don't know. I've actually made some. I've shot food in a bedroom before so there's something, Really? What was that? I don't know. (both laughing) Okay. Do you have any advice for anybody, any photographers out there who wanna shoot for the magazine? I mean we've talked a lot about having heart and being open and being enthusiastic and loving what you're shooting, but is there any advice, 'cause you've worked in magazines for years now, is there any advice that you have for these photographers who, you know, aspire to work for magazines at a national level? What do you think is the foundation or what are the traits that a photographer needs to have to get to that level? Obviously, leaving your ego at the door is one, in my opinion. Go take a lot of pictures, you know, as I was telling you when I was 14-years-old and first started taking pictures with that heavy little Canon camera, you know, it was always quite an investment. Sorry, I'm gonna turn down the sound again. It was always quite an investment. Every time I used to have to take a picture it's like, "Oh my gosh, there goes $3. "to have this process." Now, in this digital age, wow, what extraordinary freedom! You know, you get a memory card that's big enough. You get a 35 gig memory card. You can go shoot and you can learn and go shoot a lot. Go shoot a lot. Now, as far as the, you know, in answering to your question about how do I shoot for a national magazine thing, it's like every magazine has its own very, very specific temperament and, you know, it could it goes beyond being just a very specific visual temperament and into like, I don't know, a kind of soul temperament. This the new Bon Appetit is one thing. I'm not completely certain with what the new Bon Appetit soul is about just yet because I've only seen the one issue. But by the third or fourth or fifth or sixth, I as a reader of the magazine will probably start to understand, oh, I see what this magazine is about. I see what its colors are about, and what its textures are about, and what the kinds of environments that it shows are about, and how the food tends to look in the magazine, and then food and wine. And then let's see what else is there. There's fine cooking although they don't really do so much of the documentary work that we're talking about. There're the edible publications which are, you know, not national although in a way they actually kind of are national and they're fantastic. Many of those are just amazing publications. Take a lot of pictures and if you feel that, you know, I don't know, if you're at a certain stage in your own picture taking and you're starting to feel yourself drawn to a particular magazine title or particularly brand, maybe start looking back over your images, and seeing well this one feels like a Saveur image, and actually this one feels like a Saveur image too, and so does this one and maybe edit four or five or six pictures together either from one location, from one shooter or maybe there are more wide-ranging and send them to Penny or send them to me, or send them to Larry and we'll look at them. And, you know, we're always hungry for new voices, for new picture takers. We're always looking for new ways of seeing the world. Seeing the world of food, you know? Yeah. I'm gonna turn you up again. Sorry. Okay. One second. You said something and it brought up a really good point. To practice seeing. Practice seeing as much as you can. Like that is, practice every day. That is the only way you're gonna grow. That's it right there. You got to practice and make a lot of mistakes but practice. And then you said something else and I was like, "Man, that's so true." Oh, I know what it was. So, I do this. I did this. I do this with other publications. I'm constantly looking at photography. So, practice you're photographing but practice you're seeing. So, I am always looking at other magazines that have great photography, so and their competitor, they're maybe not competitors but they're other food magazines and other just photo magazines because that's how you learn and you grow. And what I used to do and still do, is I pull, tear sheets and I'll put them in a file and I'm thinking about what I'm reacting to. What is it about that picture that makes me just, ah, my jaw drops. I wish I would have taken it. I'm mad because I didn't take it and I study it. I take that idea and I go back into the field and I shoot and I'm not trying to emulate that picture but I do think art begets art, you know? You are inspired, we are all inspired by what we see, what we experience, our conversations, our food and so looking at other pictures is a wonderful way to inspire yourself, so-- That's interesting. I used to do the same thing. Actually, I'm gonna turn the volume down again. I used to do the same thing. When I first started shooting for Saveur, I guess back in 2003 or 2004. I would tear off pictures from other magazines and not nessacarily food magazines at all. But there was something about like the compositional sense or just, yeah, like you're sort of referring to the kind of emotional reaction I got to a particular image and I would carry it with me on shoots. And I wouldn't necessarily try and emulate that picture but that I would study it. Maybe the night before I was gonna go out and shoot and see like, try and like study what was it about that picture that elicited that emotional response for me. What was it? Is it just opposition? Is it something about like it's sort of like dark over here, it's this really sharp edge here, or there's a really friendly warm subject smiling somewhere in that picture. What is this? And then I would sort of like have it in my mind as I went out into the day and, you know, started shooting like a madman. Yeah, that's such great advice. That's cool, I mean I'm so glad he brought that up. So, I think we're getting close to, like, I know you're busy. I'm gonna ask one more question. I just wanna make sure it's a good one. Oh, this is a great question. This was from Twitter. How do you go about finding the stories that you publish in the magazine ultimately? How do you determine, hey, this story sounds really great. I think it could render really beautiful photographs. I think it's worthy of sending a writer and a photographer and going for two or three days or a week out in the field and and shooting it. How do you determine those stories? You know, I wish I could say that there was better science to it, but honestly, I think by and large it's like a hunch. You know, it's like that weird, you know, it's that weird art making process. You kind of just don't really know. We get pictures, you know, from writers all over the world, also from photographers too all over the world, you know? And, you know, we study them as a group for the magazine. We weren't really collectively, it's not like, you know, I'm the final word. My job at the magazine is sort of really kind of, you know, is that can achieve out of what I have to do is keep myself sort of pure. So, I can see the whole picture about what might and what might not work in an individual issue and then also during the course of a whole year. But like, you know, we go over pinches and it's what feels right. It's what we haven't covered extensively, it's what feels fresh. It's what oftentimes what we're not familiar with, are the things that were the most interested in because we simply wanna know. Persistently we're hungry to know. We wanna know that part of the world or that dish or that particular market that a writer or photographers is is bringing to us. So those usually tend to be the things that we green light. You know, we do, as I was saying do, you know, receive pinches from photographers. Oftentimes, we will build towards inclusive of texts and recipes and travel guides and maps and all that stuff, put it on ideas that photographers bring to us. Places that they're gonna go or places that they already are and it's like, "Hey, that's a perfect Saveur story." Let's get the pictures in the bank and we'll figure out the other stuff later. We'll bring in the writers and the editors to figure out the rest of this but let's get that first and most important foundation of the images laid. Yeah, that's awesome. I'm sure they're all gonna love it. You take pitches from photographers, that's great. And Jim, so I got an email from Betsy. She said that you looked at the... No, no, no. Who did I hear from? Betsy said that the East LA, the barbacoa, the woman that made the lamb barbacoa was really gonna run pretty big. And I was sharing with them earlier about how this epiphany moment during that assignment because I realized like the woman is (murmurs). It was difficult. The access was kind of touch-and-go there for a few days and then we finally were able to, you know, get her to sign on and we spent like an entire day with her and at the end of it, I was telling them earlier today, the end of it was saying goodbye to her, she got really emotional, you know, and it was like this really powerful moment for me and I turned to the writer, Molly, and I was like, "Oh my God, what just happened?" And she looked at me and she said, "We just did our job." You know, and it just goes back to showing up with enthusiasm and listening to people and being inspired by what they have in their lives, what they're doing and honoring it, you know, exactly what you were saying. But I realized that was probably the first time anybody has ever spent that much time with her just studying what she does, you know? Right, right. And I love that. I love that Saveur would send a photographer and a writer to do just that. Hold on one split second. Let me show the layout, I actually have it on the wall right behind here in order to begin. Cool. You know, I think that.... Sort of hold these together, (murmurs). Here's the opening spread. No, this is awesome. Can you see it? Oh, sweet. Yeah, oh, those are the nuns that I was telling you about. Yeah, very cool. Oh, that's great, Jim. It's called home fire burning. And then you turn the page and there's like this whole like step-by-step thing that she did. Awesome! Okay guys, this is like the pit and all that anyway five minutes, (murmurs). (audience laughing) And then we got a guy grilling. Do you remember that job? Beautiful, yep. I totally remember that, yeah. It's supposed to come back from the printer in about a week but, yeah, it's a great story. These women are nuns. Yeah, they were nuns, I know. I wish they would have got the call from wardrobe and dressed as nuns but something showed up. (both laughing) All right Jim, I really appreciate this. I owe you big time and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you on behalf of this group of photographers and the ones that are on the internet listening. Thank you so much for your time and your wisdom. I really appreciate it. Thank you guys. Enjoy the rest of your day, bye. Thank you By, Jim, thanks. (audience clapping) Okay, so. So cool, right? That was awesome, huh? I was totally inspired. I could listen to him forever. I actually, yeah, I love that. He loves photography, he loves photography. That's the kind of magazine you wanna work for. And okay here's my... This is hilarious. (laughs) She has no idea she's on the Internet. You know, what's cool is that... This is, okay, thank you. Here's my pitch to you guys. Magazines like this that value photography are dying. They are dying. We saw the fold of what I thought was a beautiful magazine, Gourmet. I loved that magazine and it died. So, all of us if you care about photography, you should be subscribing to a magazine that supports it because it will disappear if you don't. So, this is my pitch to all of you to subscribe to a photo-driven magazine, whether it's food or photography. Whatever the theme of that magazine is, but support it. We have to. So, I think I'll end on that note. If I could jump in and say and the advertisers in that advertising the magazine as well support the advertisers as well. Yeah, totally. Well, Dolph and Dev just said that she or he subscribed for three years so. Awesome. So, I just wanna ask, was that the first time you were seeing which photos were chosen for that piece? Yeah, I haven't seen those, yeah. So, he's showing you basically the piece. Yeah, that was hilarious, I didn't expect that. I kind of wish that wouldn't have happened. (everyone laughing) You're like wait, wait, wait. You're right I said I don't look at my picture. So that's not automatically like your heart either sinks or you're excited about what pictures are chosen. I'm totally excited. I'm, you know, like I said, you know, my fun happens in the field. It's like that's where it's a about for me. I'm behind the camera. I'm celebrating who's on the other side of the camera. That's powerful so that was freaking awesome. I was inspired by that. I don't know if you guys liked it but that's cool. That's cool. There's not a lot of editors that would have made themselves available like that. So I'm really touched he said yes. I really enjoyed the relationship between you as well and one of the questions from the chat room was add in an art director, the editor and art director and yourself, can you tell us a little bit about that relationship? Well, we're gonna have an art director come on this afternoon. One of the directors of, the director of photography, is gonna do a photo critique. Yeah, I mean it's a conversation, you know, we're talking about the relevance of a photograph and why it's important and how it helps to tell a story, so it's definitely a conversation. It's like Jim said. It's not I have the final decision. It's totally a collective decision for them. I mean I'm not a part of that decision but for them it is, yeah. Cool. Well, do you wanna you want to take it away or-- I don't know. I saw a sign that said 10 minutes so do we have to wake or? Get some Q&A? (woman murmuring) What was my next thing? (crowd laughing) I thought that was after lunch. Oh, shoot, you're right, it's right now. Okay. (woman murmuring) No, I just need clicker. Sorry guys I'm-- You're good. All right, let me take a question. I'm glad that that finally happened. I knew it was going, (murmurs). That was cool, wasn't it? Yeah, that was awesome. You guys were there with me? Or was I just kicking out on my own? No, that was totally inspiring, awesome/ I have been a subscriber to Saveur and I have every single pitch you've ever published. What? Yeah, that's awesome. Even when I had to have them flown in to London when I lived here. Wow, that's cool. (woman murmuring) Totally free policy but, you know. I also must say they have the best customer service like-- Really? At a times I've moved, I've like missed an issue somehow and I'll call them, and they'll be like, "Oh, get it to you right away." If one got lost that's means I can't not have it. That's awesome. And if you're totally obsessive, you can also call them and fill in all the issues that you have lost or misplaced over the years because I personally know someone who's done that. Oh, really? Yeah. Wow! Are there any more questions? Yeah, I have a question from Odyssey. "Will a magazine like this look at images without a story "or do they expect to see images and copy together?" No, I think that they would be totally open to just images. I think you would have to, I mean that'd have to be really strong and you know, yeah. It sounds like, I mean the way he described it, yeah. I've had that experience before. They've changed stories based on my photographs because the photographs really kind of told the story and the words didn't necessarily and so they just change the story which is pretty freaking awesome. I mean that almost never happens. Usually the photography is dictating the story so I think that says a lot about their commitment to storytelling. I mean that's just cool. That's like a photographer's dream. So, yeah I mean anything else? Food post link wants to know whether you miss being in the scene as a photographer? Like do you miss sometimes being part of that instead of being the documenting part of it? I'm not sure I understand. Whether as far as the food experience is concerned and the scene itself, do you sometimes as a photographer feel like, "Oh, I wanna be doing instead of photographing"? You mean do I wanna put my camera down and participate? Yeah. Never. I always want to, I mean, if it's happening I wanna be there. Sure, definitely. If the food looks great, I wanna try it, hell yeah! If there's an amazing-looking oyster, I am like gonna make that picture and then I'm gonna slurp an oyster down. But I mean at the base of what I do, I'm constantly thinking about the visuals. I'm thinking about the photograph. I mean that's why I'm there, you know? I would never put my camera down to... Never, I mean I'm usually with my camera right here, you know and it's a couple bites and then I'm shooting. Spoken like a true photographer. Yeah. Except for when I fell asleep under the mango tree. (crowd laughing) That was a nightmare. Okay.

Class Description

Join award-winning photographer Penny De Los Santos for this 15-hour course. When you think about food photography, it's not just about what's on the plate. It's about everything around it. The details, the scenes, the people, the culture, the history, the geography, and especially the moments. Food connects all of us. Food photography is the crossroad, where culture, food, and people come together.


Supplement this course and master your post-processing skills with classes from the Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials series. 

Reviews

Michelle B
 

Penny is the best with Food photography and at telling a story with pictures. This was the very first class I ever saw on Creative Live and Penny was amazing! Her class is so informative to all the aspects of food photography, from styling, to plating to shooting and lighting. and how to tell a story. What she taught me will never go out of style and will inspire you too. Thank you Penny for this outstanding class!

joayne
 

Love, Love, Love Penny. What great energy. I will never look at food the same way. Her story and her vision really touched me. She was so generous in sharing her knowledge in such simple terms. One of my favorite classes!

a Creativelive Student
 

Totally love this course!! What a find especially for the price - such a wealth of information and what a great positive spirit!! Thanks Penny for sharing - keep up the excellent work!