Skip to main content

Food Photography

Lesson 13 of 19

Students Shoot

 

Food Photography

Lesson 13 of 19

Students Shoot

 

Lesson Info

Students Shoot

Okay, so we're kind of doing a variation on the quick-fire challenge. (all laughing) Keeping in the cooking tradition. And so, we're gonna give two or three photographers, based on time, five minutes. And we've just decided on already plating it, 'cause we just don't have the time to give them to just go through it. But that's basically what we did all day. I mean, that's what all of us did all day is we kind of set that tone, so, you should be able to just approach this. So, you got five minutes. Celeste, you have the stopwatch, correct? I have the stopwatch. All right, who's up first? Okay, this is your plate, that's it, right? I thought the plate was mussels. What is the plate, I don't know. Are you putting that instead? Okay. No, no, that's there, then, I don't know-- Well, he wants to shoot the mussels, I'm gonna move this out, and then we'll go, this will be the next one, so. Okay. All right. Can I dialogue with her? You got five minutes. There's brief styli...

ng but honestly, the conversation's about how you're gonna photograph it. Okay. Well, from watching you photograph the mussels earlier, and given the time constraints, I'm just gonna go up 'cause I like the overhead shot. Cool. Hopefully there won't be too much camera shake from the nerves. You're gonna be fine, it's just me and 200,000 people. See a lot of it change. (softly talks off mic) back on this? Sure, you can do whatever you want. But I mean, this, to me, this is really about how you're gonna see it, how you're gonna photograph it. I think you can get lost and caught up in adding elements to a certain degree. (camera clicks) I just wanted to do a test shot to see what the exposure is. I kinda want like a lemon wedge or a spoon, or-- Okay, here you go, right here. Have at it, dude. (all chuckling) Spit-fire challenge, man, you gotta, you've been watching someone do it all day. So it's your turn to do it. You can do it, you'll be fine. So and tell me when you think you have a final shot and we'll just talk about it in a little bit. Time? (camera clicks) You got a little over one minute. [Man In White Shirt] Okay. (lightly chuckling) He's been on it for a minute now. Oh, nevermind, I'm sorry, you have three minutes. Yeah, three minutes. So do you want this as part of your shot? No, I do not. Don't put that in the (softly talks off mic) [Man In White Shirt] It's a little hot, it looks like, on the left. That lime, so I'm gonna kick that. This side just facing the light source. (camera clicks) You got time. How's that? Up more, maybe too low. If you want me to nudge something while you're up there, just holler. (camera clicks) I think you need to get tighter, for sure. Yes. [Man In White Shirt] Yeah, this is probably, I'm up too close. Can you come in tighter on the dish, too? [Man In White Shirt] Yep. (camera clicks) Mm-hm. It's that bag, I don't know, the bread, just kinda distracts me a little bit. Okay cool. You've got two minutes left. (camera clicks) Is it sharp? 'Cause I'm definitely shaky. (lightly chuckles) You're at 160th of a second. (softly talking off mic) Looks pretty sharp. [Man In White Shirt] I don't like how it's cut off on the right side. Maybe cut off both sides or-- Right. It's like a little moon. That's better. I don't love it, but to be honest, I don't know what's missing. Okay, well, let me just critique it right now. Please. I would go tighter, I think you have dead space right here. [Man In White Shirt] Yup. So you don't need it, it's not adding in information. I'd go tighter, and if you have to cut off the sides, that's okay, your center is right here. So lose all this, just go tighter. You have little less than a minute. Yeah. (camera clicks) There you go. Yeah. There you go, now you're starting to really see the food. So I think that looks great. You can make a couple-- How do you feel about that piece of bread up at the corner? I think it's fine. I might crumb it up a little bit on the top left. Just to give it a little bit more movement. But it's just a little bit. You got enough time to just make one hero and then we gotta move. Okay. (camera clicks) Great. Five minutes are up. Okay, cool-- Oh, sorry. So did you guys kinda just see that he in general shot it really loose? Yeah. And I think it's because were you just nervous, or you just didn't wanna get close, or what was-- Sure. What were you thinking? Yeah. (all lightly laughing) Okay, so I think the two things that I always see in photographers who don't always shoot food is they get way too close or they get way too loose. It's good to let food breathe but I think in this case it's good to get really tight because this, you wanna see, where did we go? [Man In White Shirt] I think maybe it's like not knowing when to cut the plate or the spoon, or when to leave it open. I think it's totally up to your interpretation and you can play with it. And I think going even further than that might be too much. Okay. So this white plate, you've got some edges to play with here, don't you guys think? I think so. Yeah, yeah. [Man In White Shirt] Thank you. So I think you did a great job. (all applauding) Yay, more room. Okay, next one. Okay, next set. Can I change out the bottom? Do you wanna do this, or do you wanna do noodles? To maybe like a pale green or something? You're gonna shoot a different dish though. Oh, I am? Oh, nevermind, okay. You're gonna be fine, you're gonna be great at it. So you can-- Oh, thank you. Let's switch this out. Okay. So we're done with this? Yeah, we're done, can toss-- Totally done, toss. Toss, yeah. Let's do noodles. Let's do a completely different background, let's, that green maybe. Yeah, it's big Let's just see what that does. Keep this light up on it? Too big? Mm-hm, yeah. All right, you're on time, so go for it. Okay. Whatever you need, just tell us. Okay. You can do this. Don't be scared. (woman laughing) This is why you came, okay? I know. And it's just a photograph, all right? (softly laughs) That's the problem with photographs, right? (softly laughs) You're gonna be fine. It's just me, okay? Okay. We'll make this picture together, you can do this. Don't be afraid to use the ladder and move it towards you or whatever you need, okay? So before you go there though, let's make a picture first. Thank you. Take your time, let me just get rid of this guy. (softly chattering off mic) They're so cute. Do you need this? Oh, thank you. Yes. And your time is started now. Okay. Don't be nervous. Yeah. Get ready. I love those pans. Let's go with an apple box. You want a-- Yeah, that's great, thank you. That's very helpful. 'Cause if you're nervous now, tomorrow you're really gonna be nervous. (softly chuckles) Okay, that's nice. So it's in my camera, but it's not auto focusing. (softly mumbling off mic) Oh, he does, just ask him if-- Sure, sure. (people chattering off mic) (camera clicks) Nice. So, I'm not sure if this is auto focusing. John, can you help her with the auto focus? Yeah. Who's camera? She's shooting on Nikon. That may be the problem. Focus. What'd you say? (softly chuckling) Ouch. Yeah, it should be, the focusing is on-- You're fine. If there's a corner. Just to clarify, this isn't her camera. Yeah. Could you clarify that? Yeah, that's (softly talking off mic) (man softly talking off mic) Yeah, don't worry about this. Well, it's not focusing. You can do this. Yeah, let me look at it. Okay. All right, we'll give you a couple extra minutes, don't worry. Okay. We can bend the rules. Everyone's so nervous. I know! You're gonna do great, you're gonna do great. You want me to brace? No, I think I'm okay. I'm gonna help you get through this. Come on, practice. (camera clicks) Okay, let's look at this picture. Okay. And then we're gonna go from there. Okay. Is this the way it was shot or does this need to rotate? It's a vertical. Or a horizontal? No, it was shot horizontal. Okay. Like that? Yeah. Okay. So I need some stuff. So I totally don't like the green, can I change out some for some white? Yeah, change it, absolutely. You wanna go white? Even a white cloth or anything. Okay, white cloth, yeah. Thanks. Or a white plate? Make it quick, pick something white. Something white. Okay, thanks. Thank you. Thank you. Just need to turn it around. Okay. (camera clicks) It's too quiet. (all laughing) It's really quiet. It looks great (softly talks off mic) I think you need some crusty things in there. Some crusty things? No, I'm joking, I'm joking. (all laughing) That was a joke. Look at that, that's gorgeous. Yeah, it is. Yeah. Man, you stepped that up really great. I'm not gonna talk to you anymore. (all laughing) Except for I might see it overhead, that's all I'm saying. Oh! (softly laughs) Do you have the whites of your-- It's white in the horizon. Oh, yeah. So, what was this? And off the back. Great, thank you. (people softly whispering) Ooh, the (softly talks off mic) (camera clicks) You're doing great, you're doing so great, I'm proud, I couldn't be more proud. (crosstalk drowns out man) To say that twice. You're doing great. (chuckling) Okay. You are doing great. You're really doing great. You guys are freaking me out, man! (all laughing) I know you're nervous, I'm sorry. I feel like I'm giving birth to all these little photographers. (all laughing) I want you guys to feel loved and nourished in your entry point. I like that one though. What do you think about that? Beautiful. That's not the one I just shot, but-- Here's the one. That's the one I just shot. How much time does she have left? She has one minute. Keep shooting, I want you to keep shooting. Don't even look at that screen, just keep going. It's going great, too. That looks great. So are you changing your angles? Are you thinking about, are you thinking about that? I'm not gonna talk anymore. (all softly laughing) If you wanna just shave the height. There's all those dark things there. (people softly chattering off mic) I love just this stuff. You got three seconds. Oh! (chattering off mic) What can I do? When her time's up, do we get to say, pencils down? (all laughing) Hands up. (camera clicks) Gorge. (softly whispering off mic) (all laughing) All right, last shot. (camera clicks) (softly chattering off mic) Did you get it? I don't think it fired. Are we done? Did it fire? Good work. Yeah, it did. Okay. (all applauding) You did good, you did good. Okay. It's pretty. All right, which is your hero? You wanna talk about it? (softly sighs) I don't know which one it is. All right, well, let's look at 'em. That's nice, it's clean. Mm-hm. That's really nice. That was the only one too where I think you couldn't see the lip of the inside of the plate, which was distracting. I'm going forward again. Okay, so which one's your hero? Can I get a contact sheet, John? Yeah. It's kinda nice. And just orientate them however she wants 'em. Yeah, these are all rotated correctly now. Okay, all right, so let's look at these. I'm gonna say-- Which one's your hero? Are there more? Of course. Okay. Probably the-- Just one that we can talk about. This one and this one. Let's see if I can-- But that's not-- Ya gotta pick one. Okay, I'm gonna pick this-- Okay, make that large-- Just because that's the only one that's dialed, you know? And let's talk about it. I mean, that's Karen's work (laughs) that's not my work. No, I disagree, that's totally your work. You exposed it, you framed it. That's your photograph too. Okay. You should know that. And then there's this one here (softly talks off mic) Okay. Okay, I'm gonna look at this one 'cause it's just a little sharper. Okay. Okay? Okay, okay. We'll make that your hero. I think this is great, you know what I love? I love the drips right here, that's awesome. Okay. I think you did great. Maybe tighter, and did you try to go overhead? You did, okay. Yeah. I would have loved this maybe overhead a little bit more but I think this looks great. There's a little bit of dead space there that you don't really need. Maybe you can crop it in, you know? Do you guys see that? Mm-hm. Mm-hm, yeah. I mean, it would give it a little more punch. I need a black card, but. It would give it-- Yeah. It'd take you there immediately. Yeah, oh, yeah, absolutely. So I would do that. What about this big white chopstick? It's a little, I think I would have got a little more over on top of the subject slightly. Maybe not overhead completely, but a little just more on it. But I think that's great. Okay. Nice job. Thank you. (all applauding) Okay, who's next? One left. I'm next. One last. ♪ Dun ♪ Watch out. All right, Karen, what's he photographing? It's that tray. All right, man, you got the set we've been trying to give everybody all day. Oh, this? Yeah, you don't like? Oh, I love it. That's a gift. I love it. I like the still life, it's my favorite. I wanted to shoot that but I'm letting you shoot it, dammit. I'm jealous, yeah. I like how that is. (Karen talks off mic) I just wanna slide it maybe a little that way 'cause I'm gonna climb a chair and get over here. I didn't wanna do (softly talking off mic) Okay (softly laughs) okay. (softly laughs) Okay. You can do it. Oh! This is awkward, how have you been standing up here all day, Penny? All right, I'm just gonna get my exposure. (people softly whispering) (camera clicks) Can you see over there? Yeah, I can see it, all right. I think my exposure's pretty good. (people softly chattering off mic) (camera clicks) That's kinda odd. Do you want us to move anything? Any of this stuff for you? Um... I'm not sure. I mean, I might pull out just a little bit and see... (camera clicks) A little bit wider. I think I'm liking that a little bit more. (people softly whispering off mic) You're getting the silence. Yeah. (camera clicks) Yeah, very quiet. (all laughing) Like we're having a surgery here. (softly laughs) Here, right down about (talks off mic) you wanna bring down the (talks off mic) a little bit? (talking off mic) Okay. Do that first? And then you can close out, make it like a sermon, sermon. So we're gonna do this on camera? Yeah. (softly whispering off mic) (camera clicks) Oh, don't like that one, let's see. (camera clicks) Go Rodney. You're walkin' it, man. I'm proud of you. Do you want anything from us? What can we do? Well, I'm not sure. This little blank space is kinda bugging me a little bit. The plate there? You want maybe just-- Yeah, maybe we just put a few of the leaves down there. The leaf. Maybe a couple or a few. (people softly whispering off mic) (softly mumbles) That one like that. Okay. (camera clicks) Karen, can we add one other element to that? Is there one other something, right here, Rodney, tell me when you're done 'cause I want you to do one more thing for me. Okay. You're doing great, you're rockin' it. (softly laughing) (Rodney softly mumbling) It's all set and ready to go. So this critique (softly talks off mic) Wait, critique? You're gonna do a walk-through about tomorrow with Caleo and Anne. Can you just slide those little leaves? Oh, those, I'm sorry. Yeah. (camera clicks) Okay, Penny. Okay, good job, let's look at it. Okay, that's your hero, hold on, and stay up there. I want you to shoot it like this for me. Yeah, just shoot it like that for me. Just shoot it horizontally? Yeah. Got about 30 seconds. And make sure you're tight enough. I think it's okay if you lose, get tight on the board. On the tray. Okay. (camera clicks) Cool. Wow. Maybe a little looser. That's almost too tight. A little looser? Yeah, I like the blue. I wanna see the turquoise. A little blue? I just don't wanna see as much black a table. Okay. (camera clicks) Not enough blue. Yeah. Not enough turquoise, right? That's okay, that's okay, let's pick your hero. Okay. I wanted to see that. I wasn't sure if it was the best way to see it. You did great. Thank you. You did great. You did great. Thank you. You did great, Rodney. (Rodney laughing) I know, it's, I had to do that all day. How have you been standing-- It's a little nervous, isn't it? Up there all day? Your leg must be really aching. (softly laughing) All right, pick a hero. I'm kinda liking this. Yeah, I agree, John. I think I like that one. Okay, cool. Okay, well, I think this is, I mean, I thought this tray was just beautiful to begin with. I think this was really pretty so I thought you did a great job and ideally, I woulda just come in a little tighter 'cause I just wanted to see not as much of this table. But I mean, you did a great job. You shot overhead, you shot it vertically. I saw it horizontally, and I actually like this vertical. So you did a great job. Thank you. I wouldn't have done anything different except for maybe played a little bit more with the distance from where you were with the subject. Coming in just a little bit-- Was a little bit of a, little tighter. Yeah, just coming in, making it. But that's great, nice job. Thank you. (all applauding) Awesome. Okay, now we're gonna do just a once-over what we shot today and do a quick kind of like recap. Yes. Like really quick, and then we're gonna talk briefly about tomorrow 'cause tomorrow's a completely different skillset. It's actually a mixing of the two ideas that we did, that we did today and then what we're gonna do tomorrow as a mixing of what we talked about yesterday. Okay, we did our first shot. One, two, three, four, five, is that right? One, two, five pictures, okay. So we got our citrus shot. I thought that our first shot was really our hero even though we worked it to this point. I don't necessarily not like this shot but I think it worked really well. This is one of my favorites, really tight, super graphic, and very appetizing, that's the most important thing. Love this one too. This is my favorite. This print isn't great, but I actually think this came really well. What do you guys think? I think they're all incredible. Yeah, I mean, (all laughing) we're looking at prints from a computer that haven't been, it's not a great print, but I think-- The breakfast, the egg and bacon shot is just. Yeah, cool. I mean you wanna dive in immediately. I'd feel confident sending this to a client. If these were recipes, I feel like we got something. I wanted to give you guys an opportunity to kinda see what a shoot like this looked like. When people think about food photography, this is what they think of. So these are the pictures you need to work at but I think you need, in combination, this picture with people eating, and the environment or the setting in which this breakfast was made could give it even more depth and that to me is the goal. So when I'm in a situation or on an assignment, I'm making this picture and then I'm making the picture we're gonna make tomorrow. So tomorrow is food in scenes, or sense of place. So we're gonna shoot food scenes and we have two of 'em and it's gonna be, I have no idea how this is gonna go and I'm gonna be honest, I'm freaked out about it. (all laughing) Huh? We have three shoots tomorrow and I'm not sure how this is gonna go. So we're shooting a taco truck. Nice. No, it's a Skillet. We're shooting a Skillet truck. It's just a food-- It's the name of a-- We're shooting-- Street food. Street food. Nice. We're shooting an oyster bake, an oyster bake, yeah, and then we're shooting a farm table dinner. So what we're gonna try to do is simulate these ideas, like we're on assignment, the assignment is to do a story on this truck, Skillet. So you're gonna go in, you're gonna think about a portrait, you're gonna think about sense of place, you're gonna think about environment, you're gonna think about the food. Details, camera angles, light, you're gonna edit the food. You're gonna go through all those reiterations that we talked about, we've been talking about for the past three days. So it's gonna be like quick, quick, get in, get out, what did you see, what did you get? That's the first thing with the Skillet street food. The oyster bake is two-part. It's the oysters roasting, baking, on coals, covered with coffee bags, oysters underneath, baking, I think it takes an hour, roughly. We'll pull those bags off and then there's a group of eaters. We have professional eaters that we phone in from around the world. (all laughing) You definitely wanna come back for that one. I think you'd be amazed at the amount of oysters they're gonna eat. So they're gonna sit down, we're gonna pour the oysters on the table, they're gonna shuck their own. There's gonna be hot sauce and lemon and they're just gonna slurp 'em up and then you're gonna shoot the scene. You're gonna shoot the people eating it, you're gonna shoot the details. You're gonna get all that, the essence, you're gonna shoot the food. And then our final scene is this farmhouse dinner and we have professional eaters that we've flown in from all over the world to eat this amazing food that Anne, our food stylist, is gonna do for us tomorrow. So we're gonna have a table set with people ready to eat. So what we're gonna do right now for five minutes is just talk about those two setups, the oyster bake and the farm table dinner. Can we just talk about that for a second? So the farm table dinner, that's our dinner that Caleo made yesterday for us. And the idea is we're gonna have, I think we're having eight eaters around the table. And so we're recreating something that I actually did on an assignment but we were in a field and it was in a foreign country. And we're gonna do it on a concrete floor in Seattle. Very similar. So this is our table, four and four, right? That's kinda what we're thinking? Or three, three, and two. It's pretty long for three and three. Maybe we can get a couple more eaters. I don't know, we can try. The table's starting to fill up already though. I mean, I've roughed it out and we still don't have everything on the table. Okay, cool, with all the food, okay. We don't have all the, not even close. I'm just worried we're not gonna have enough hands 'cause this is a big table. Mm-hm. So we can talk about that. Yeah. Okay. So this is our table. Correct. We're gonna put it up against that backdrop? Mm-hm. It's beautiful. And then we're just gonna create this scene. I'm gonna give these guys an assignment. They're gonna have a three-part assignment and each assignment is gonna be a strong component. That big? Yeah. Like shoot a portrait, shoot a food moment, and shoot the food scene. I haven't determined that assignment exactly, but it's gonna be something like that. And then the oyster bake, same kind of setup. Is there anything else we need to talk about in preparation for that? Well, just like, I mean, is this hitting the right note for you as far as-- I think so, yeah. This table's great. Silverware. I think it's gonna be perfect with the food that you have. Yeah. That you're gonna make and can you tell us what we're gonna be eating? We're having a, I wish I had my menu with me but I have some, we're having a fennel soup with oysters, grilled oysters, and a mixed green salad, all locally-grown greens. A pasta, spring pasta, to be determined. And grilled asparagus, a rhubarb crisp and strawberries. And bread, and-- Cool, maybe some wine? Some grape drinks. Some grape drinks. Yeah, awesome, okay. You've got a tea, right? Or a lemonade? Lemonade. It's a lemon simple syrup-- Okay. Rosemary. Okay. Infused with rosemary. Glass pitcher, shorty glasses. Cool, oh, these are our classes? These. Yeah, just an eclection. Okay. We have those-- Or we have Mason jars too. And we found tables to fill this? Did we finally find tables? Chairs? Yeah, I'm sorry, chairs. So we've got two over there. Okay, okay. We've got-- All right, cool. We've got that one upstairs. There was one right here that's gorgeous, that one. That one, love that. Okay, so we're good. So if this is our main angle, and we have to pull those vinyl chairs, we'll put 'em in the back. Okay. Against the wall so that our bodies are obscuring it. Okay. And then we'll just-- Get a bench. Front and side with our most hero chairs. Okay, cool. Like those are great. Okay, awesome. So we're set for tomorrow. (crosstalk drowns out Anne) So just to recap today, it was like a full-on food shoot. I hope that you guys got a lot out of it. More than anything, I hope that you kinda see that the collaboration and the discussion that happens with shooting something like this in this setting. And so, I truly believe that there's no reason why you couldn't do this in your own, when you get home. There really isn't. It might not be to this scale but if you could forge a relationship with someone else who's creative, who wants to, like maybe another chef and be like, hey, let's collaborate, let's do some test shooting. Let's go to the market in the morning, let's pull some ingredients, and let's think about some stuff we wanna make, and let's shoot it. So there's no reason why you couldn't challenge yourself and do this. So I guess, I wanted to introduce this idea to all of you. I wanted to get you guys a chance to kind of work with some beautiful food and see how that was kinda half the battle. If you have an amazing product, the pictures come really easily. And you always wanna push yourself to make the best picture that you can make and sometimes the last picture is the best picture, but sometimes the first picture is the best picture. But always just striving to keep going and I think you guys felt that when you were working your situation, like, oh, man, I don't know what else to do. And once you do it more and more, you'll get more comfortable in that moment. And I think that's it. I don't really have anything else to say except for tomorrow is gonna be really intense. I think it might be the most intense day of the last two, for sure. Get some sleep. Yeah, get some sleep and come back. Oh, and we don't have time to edit your pictures for food moments like when you think about food and culture in your life and make a picture of that. So we're gonna do that tomorrow. So you have another day to think about that and I hope that you've put some time and really contemplated what that means for you and that you take maybe 20 or 30 minutes, or longer, to go out and find that. So if you've got a farmers market in your town, tomorrow morning, go. If there's street food in your town, go tonight. Go at night and give me a nice ambience photograph. It doesn't have to be great light. But just go out there and think about those creative devices. Think about like when I gave you that example where I write down words that remind me of how I wanna shoot and the pictures I wanna make, whether it's light or color, and motion, or evocative, whatever that word is, and think about that picture in a food scene and make that picture. And send it into the Flickr group, I don't remember what the Flickr group was, does anybody else? What's the group name? PennyLive, I think. PennyLive? I think it's PennyLive. Oh well, they will tell you. Yeah, we'll put it in the chat room and we'll say-- They'll put it in the chat room right now. Thank you guys for sticking with us. Thanks for all your great comments and, I hope you had a good time. (cheering and applauding)

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!

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!

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!