Getting Started in Professional Food Photography

Lesson 2/21 - Tour of a Modern Food Photography Studio

 

Getting Started in Professional Food Photography

 

Lesson Info

Tour of a Modern Food Photography Studio

We're gonna be doing a full tour of the studio and kinda give you an idea of how we do things. Before that, I'm gonna just discuss-- Probably the most important part of this class is developing a style. It's a journey, it takes a long time. I didn't know what a style was when I first started. And, I dunno-- How many of you feel your coming along, like you found something that really fits your personality. That's fits your photographs, that you can repeat, over and over again. How many are kind of in that... So yeah, yeah, you get to a point-- I'm constantly reinventing what I consider to be my style. I continuously push it... Just, by looking outside of photography. It's a really important part of it. Standing out's, like I said, it's really crucial. But, there's multiple ways to do that. We're gonna dive into that in the marketing section, because, I feel like standing out is meaningless, unless your actually getting your images in front of art buyers. I'll tell you what works for me ...

as far as marketing goes, and what does not. I won't name name any names as far as what does not. But, there's things that I've kinda come across that I didn't quite work out. But, there's things that I just love to do. And, I'll kinda go over that later, in the last segment. And, studying other disciplines. Everything from cooking to baseball, to whatever you've done in your life, that you did before you became a photographer, counts. It creates who you are, and who you are comes through in your images. It sounds corny, but it really does. Everything that I've done, fro-- I used to dabble in music and oil painting. All of that I kind of brought together. I never felt like I wasted any life experience or education. And so, it all kinda comes into play, and you have to that and go with it, I feel like. And we're gonna make some mistakes. I'm gonna mess up a lot. Probably, I'll do some on purpose. But most of it, I'm just gonna mess up. And you're gonna see it, and you're gonna see how I recover. And that's really crucial, because when you're shooting with a client, how you recover from mistakes that will happen, really makes the difference between a pro and a non-pro. How you handle adversity, and how you handle things that don't go right, things not being delivered on time. There's just a lot that goes into food photography on a commercial level, where there's just a lot of logistics and a lot of people involved. And I'm gonna introduce you to my team, too. Who I work with and what they do. 'Cause I could not do it without 'em. So yeah, we're gonna get into it-- Yeah, we're gonna do uuh-- We're gonna talk about my team, and the studio itself. So, let's get into it. And we just finished this, I dunno if I should even be saying this, but we have not shot in this studio before. This is a brand new studio. So I spent the whole week trying to figure out where everything was. I was going through silverware, I'm like, crazy. I couldn't even find anything. But, we're excited to have the space because it represents who we are as a studio and what we like to shoot. And it makes for really seamless shoots, having everything at arms length like this. I am the Chief f-stop decider, that is me. (handful of people laughing) Your studio space is a reflection of who you are, and who you want to be as a photographer. Now, there's certain disciplines in photography where you don't need a studio, I mean, you just don't. And, I wouldn't ask you to take on that responsibility, 'cause that's an expense that you have to pass on to your clients. So it comes at a later time, when you're ready. You'll know when your ready, it'll drive you crazy. There'll be-- 'Cause I had a shared studio space that was absolutely fantastic and there was tons of really great photographers within that studio. But, there was a point where I just felt like I was getting really busy, and there just wasn't enough-- I had to setup and break down my sets every time I shot, completely. Here, I can just kinda let it be and go with it. And it makes things a lot more fun and seamless. This is my first studio. I started in San Francisco when I was a private chef. Kind of assisting photographers and worked my way up, and making a lot of mistakes. And then my first home studio was in Portland. This is a picture of that studio, and this is where I was doing a lot of my splashes and crashes work, that we're gonna cover in another class. The ceilings were even lower than this. These aren't the highest ceilings, but they work well. But, this is it, this is my living room, just gutted. There was ketchup on the ceiling, I had to scape-- It was so... It was outta control. It worked for that time, I didn't shoot every week. So, it helped to be able to kinda just have a little space with nice window light that you can work in. So, working from home is an option. That's really where a lot of photographers start out, or just, they build into their home, and make the studio their home, which is really cool. Having herbs, and a garden, and kind of an environment that is kind of ethereal and fun, and relaxing, is a really good way to go. But, that can be expensive. You need to commit to st-- You can't have a-- You can't have your kids running through a set with cereal bowls. You'll know if it's right for you, or if it's not right for you. This is our studio, we had to redo all the floors, we had to repaint everything. This is the Old Ranier Brewery, and I don't know if we mentioned that in the intro, but, this is a historical building. There's a lot of quirks about this building, but everybody in area knows it. It's right off of I-5, it's near the airport, which means clients don't have to trek all the way across Seattle, during rush hour, to get to and from the airport, which is a huge crucial component. There's some photographers that are in in North Seattle, all the way in Ballard, with some fantastic studios. But it is a trek to get from the airport to that location, and I hear it all the time e from clients when I was on Queen Anne. Ooooh, I had to sit-- I mean Mercer's always a breeze, there's never a car on Mercer. But, you go.. Anyway, that's getting very local. (group of people laugh) But, you guys know what I'm talking about. This is the phases that we went though, and we're continuing to add onto this. There's props that're gonna be moved in from the storage unit. There's just little things here and there. And knowing what you want from a studio, only comes from experience. Where you want your tech station to be. What kind of props go with the photography that you're known for. The props are very, like, a lot of dark woods, a lot of robust linens with bold colors. I'm gonna introduce you to Malina Lopez, you wanna come out. Big round of applause for Malina Lopez. (crowd clapping) Hi. She's my food stylist slash prop stylist. I work with her a lot, because we have a lot of shoots where I'll have a big hand in kind of putting the finishing touches on a set, and she will do a lot of the hero selection, and a lot of work on set as well. As far as selecting props, selecting what's gonna go on the set, styling. And I'll kind of wo-- We have a good relationship where, I can kind of finish things here and there on set, in a heart beat, because I see through the lens really well and I have enough of a food style background hopefully not to mess everything up that she just did. That's key.

Class Description


With the advent of social media foodie culture, food photography is everywhere. The market is saturated with top-down smartphone images of cappuccinos, barley salads, and elaborate toast. This represents a real opportunity for photographers looking to expand their businesses. Professional photographers are in a position to provide high-quality, captivating images of delicious food for clients eager for an alternative to stock photography and social media images.

Join veteran photographer Steve Hansen for this comprehensive basics course, and you’ll learn:

  • How to shoot a beverage, main course, and dessert.
  • How to light and style your shots to get the most compelling images.
  • How to build out your basic studio gear to get the most out of your food styling and photography.

Steve will walk you through the basics of becoming a food photographer by drawing on his own experience as a chef, certified food stylist, and photographer. You’ll learn about the equipment you’ll need; how to interact with food and prop stylists, and direct them during a shoot; how to work with digital technicians and editors; and you’ll learn Steve’s tips for marketing food photography. 

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

This class has appeal for the beginning food photographer as well as the photographer that is already a bit further advanced on the path. There is quality info about gear and other logistics for the beginner that is absolutely necessary and establishes a strong baseline of knowledge. When Steve starts to shoot then the magic really starts to happen as we get to see into his creative process, how he styles, how he problem solves, how he continues to push the envelope until he comes up with his incredible images. That was the most enlightening part of the whole class...being able to observe an artist in his creative zone. Steve is a master at what he does and whether you are a beginner, intermediate or even advanced photographer, there is something for you in this class. It is well worth the minimal cost of the class. Part of the value of purchasing this class is that you can watch it again and again and again and each time you will walk away with boatloads of info. It is one of those classes that you will go back to again and again and use as a reference point for improving your images. Thanks Steve for being willing to share your gifts and talents to help others! Awesome day!