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Food Lighting Clock

Lesson 9 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Food Lighting Clock

Lesson 9 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

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Lesson Info

9. Food Lighting Clock

Next Lesson: Lighting Q&A


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Day 1


Class Introduction






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Motion in Restaurant




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Lesson Info

Food Lighting Clock

We want to talk about light and and have that as a starting point. So you understand truly how important it is. The first thing is understanding the motion. Something is light, you know? Number one. Why? Because it's free. Um, natural light is free, and that's the topic of this session. And that's actually why we're gonna basis course off of natural light. One. It's freed everyone. There's no more additional gear, anything you have to get. And two, it's like I believe it's actually one of the best ways to learn. So when we came from with one day and had the portrait studio, it's like then we were shooting all strobe light. Um, she began it, and I worked with her for a few years in the studio before we started shooting food. And, you know, when we started first shooting food, it's like that. The trend, obviously, is what it is Now. A signature light tends to be what people love. That's the current aesthetic for what's great about current food photography. And it's like we really struggl...

ed to learn natural light photographer you were basically we tend to overlook the crap out of everything you know and and just struggling of trying to how to find it. It's like, How do you get these shots? And when it wasn't until we really started to study and to understand light of how it and how it effects with food photography that we really started coming to strike. Um, I think with food photography in particular, light almost becomes nearly everything light, and then also how you style and profit. But the lighting is what is going to give your life, your emotion, your depth to the images. There isn't a subject there that's injecting that into the frame. You know there's no no, just two kids smile and nothing else is really happening. You can incorporate that as well, but especially when you're shooting just plated dishes or still life type shots that light that that depth, that emotion, that you is evoked from the image a lot of times that comes from how you're capturing the light. We're gonna go over that with you from a technical standpoint, because a lot of you here might be more technical than creative. Who's more technical here? No one is way our creative just creative. Yeah, I started that way, too. And it wasn't until that we really, like, fundamentally understood what lighting Waas and natural lighting was and how it affected food that our work really started to change. And on that side note, a lot of actually all of our original block post that were shot in really bad Strobe are on the blogged. We keep it on, then we don't change it out. We do it as as a learning experience for everyone who visits because we want you to see we're keeping it real. We want you to see how happy are pictures looked five years ago and how they looked different now and they're drastically different. So feel free to go through the old archive and see Oh, my God, that's taught in Diane's work like, yeah, I'm actually proud of that because we improved, you know, we went up instead of down. So the way that we've come to understand right away that we find is one of the best ways to help teach of how we see it is the kind of in terms of oclock, um, usually, you know, for this clock will put ourselves the photographer at six o'clock and the subject is gonna be in the center of the clock and then around it is the direction your lights coming in and then you can also refer to Sometimes some people have issues with the numbers in the clock, so you can also correspond that to different terms. So for 12 o'clock, that's equal to backlight. So the light the subject I'm here is a photographer subjects in front of me and the lights coming from behind it. So it's back light and hope that makes sense because I'm not was never a technical person. And so I always ask a lot of simple questions, and I keep repeating myself. What does that mean? What does that mean? I'm just gonna really reiterate a couple things to show you my starting point, how we learned. So when Todd talks about that, let's imagine the window light is essentially back there. So in this room, or wherever you guys are at home, think position yourself. Use this as a learning experience. Position yourself for your near a window and as your next to that window, Todd's gonna go over this chart with you and this graph, and hopefully you being next to a window source will help illustrate this even better. So get yourself to a window or an open door. If you don't have windows and live in New York state yourself like that. And if you got your death, say you're going on a lunch break real quick and then you know you have, you know, either three clock. That's your directs Highlight 90 degrees from where you're at six o'clock, the lights coming from the same direction as you. So this is the best Google. And if you're doing on camera flash lights coming straight down over the top, so the first thing is we're gonna show is from backlight. So what's coming straight behind? So this is the angle is going to come in at and so you'll see, like for this on this. No lights coming straight behind tends to be one of the more difficult ones to capture, particularly if you're shooting on any of the program modes. Because what you're actually usually doing is exposing for the shadows and a lot of times a camera like whoa, you know, it doesn't know what's going on helps when you start being comfortable being else to manual on and there's other ways to You can play with your gear to get it, But this it gives that bright back Harry feel you know you're back. A lot of time is blowing out and it just evokes a particular sense. You know, I like columnist The girly light. I like the back life personally. It to CNN's nice is a bright and airy, um, the next image we've taken that same one. And now we've filled it. So you'll see the first image that we're gonna show just straight up natural. And none of these air edited all there just straight out of camera. And so we've biscuit now taken just aboard that on the front side and just gonna bounce a little bit light back into border, reflect just to give a little bit of color and life back into it. Now, as we start to move around was gonna move around the side a little bit. So now, instead of the light coming straight here behind the subject, it's gonna come just off the side a little bit and see how much that changes the image. I remember the only change he made was his body positioning. You can't lift a window and move the window, so you literally have to move your body. And always remember that too, as a side note is taught and Diane are always gonna tell you to move. Move, move, move, move. I want you to move like Mohammed Ali way run around. We jump on tables that you'll see later. We just tried to do ever we can to get a different angle in light. Now with the same one you have again. Sometimes you might like the back. You might like it with a little bit of shadow, a little bit darkness of the times. You want to feel a little bit. This becomes your choice, so you have options that you get to play with. But first begin with that angle of light and then choose how much you want to feel on how much how little or how much you want those shadows to play a part of the image. Don't be afraid of the shadows, and I just wanna say real quick. So many people when we show these type of images on the blog's or in a portfolio, they always email How is it that you went from that bright airy to this one? What lens did you use? Did you change a lens? You know, can I know what lens it was? Did you use a different camera? How come this looks so much more moody and warm? And we tell them I had nothing to do with it. It just had to do with literally moving your body. Three inches mean, maybe six, maybe a to five year. I said, I have to go 530 right now, sometimes you're subject or the way you style. It will also dictate which side he wants. So do I want to go three Claw going nine oclock depends because here's the same image. But it just captures the light from one side a little bit different from the other. So sometimes your subject is also getting kind of dictate where you want. You might be shooting on one side and like, Oh, it's, uh that's just not quite it. So this was three o'clock. So lights coming in from would be on my right side. And now I switched the light coming into the left side. Same subject, same light same distance from the light. Everything is the same, except for the different side, because the subject just tends to it feels a little better for the field that I want on this subject, the way the curves of the strawberries are, it just it settles differently on it. So just moving around, you start seeing these things and find them in the flying. Oh, I like that. Oh, no, that's not quite it. Just keep moving. You'll find it and get the same thing. Just filled in a little bit. If you didn't want those shadows toe feeling again, make that choice yourself. And that's a great way to take advantage of the natural light. So rather than having to put think that you have to fill or add more light a one side with the strobe or anything artificial, take advantage of the natural light that you have before you start adding any more light. So that little investment of a white foam core board that is white were reflector will really bounce back and add more light to that space that was dark. So this again to get this image was only two tools, one to see the light and to with some type of reflector abounds. And that was it. And a great ingredient. But this is, um it seems so easy because it actually really is. You know, they people always see this and say, You guys are making it so much easier than what it sounds. It's so challenging, and we're selling you. It's really not. And we're gonna show you later. All it took was to really think about your position relative to the light, your window or doorway or wherever it is. And if it felt it was too dark or it wasn't the mood or the story that you felt was conveyed in that light, you just shift this way. But so the light rotates around the subject all it is, and they will show you, though one last one just from six o'clock, so light coming in the same way. And so now it's like our shadows have more or less disappeared, said the image. For me, it just feels a little flatter, You know, it's like you've basically kind of let the shadows disappeared behind the subject. It's not necessarily bad. Some people may love that, and it's for some shots. This is the type of light that you want other time. Just like those shadows. By getting rid of the shadows, you've lost a little bit of depth and dimension. Um, so you just have to make that choice, though. It's like, make that choice and just knowing what the light is going to do like when you're shooting it. So that way you can capture the way that you want Get the story that you want But for us the last times Well, we love the reem sizes. Just don't be afraid of shadows. Don't try to get rid of all of Chateau's because that's gonna give your light and depth to the dimension. And we're gonna talk about shadows by backing up. Thank you. Backing up in going Teoh foreign after the shadows for this, um, photo. A lot of people are so quick to want to fill in, so we're gonna talk about shadows and dark areas right now because how many of you like this photo? How does it make you feel? It's like a moody image, right? It's like moody and a lot of people are wanting to shoot more that mood. They don't know how. And so a lot of people who have struggled have. We've always said, You know what? Just get a quick IPhone shot. Send us a photo of your set up. What can tell you some how we think you're doing and how you can prove at every time when they send that image. There's always some type of bounce right in front. Why? Because one were probably always in the habit. If you're photographing or if your food blogger always in the habit of setting everything up first you've got your bounce and everything, so you're always adding light to that part of the subject's. You're never gonna create that mood. Why? Because some people want to feel in that shadow and number two wides because I'm afraid of the shadows. I feel it's too dark. When you see the shadow on somebody else's image. You're okay with it, right? You think that's okay? But when you start photographing it on you and then you start to get really critical, why I want to fill that in. But when you start being really critical and looking at your work and thinking that you're not gonna like it, or you don't like that spot. It's probably because you're so used to always having it. There's always a comfort zone, So what we always want you to understand is when you're shooting, don't have that crutch of a foam core board right away or reflector of some sort. Don't always feel that you need to sources of light. So a lot of times when people are shooting, they always feel like I need a second source, which is a foam core board. Or you need another source. I need to buy speed, Light added in front. Now you don't. You start with one and a lot of times almost every time that those dark and moody images have one light source. That's all it is. It's that simple. It's not buying a new lenses, not buying up special camera to get that moody look. It's just having one light source and not always having to fill it in. And don't be afraid of the shadows. I actually love shadows. I love them a lot. Sometimes I'm in well, particularly on the blawg. When people are attracted to the moody shots were adding so many shadows because we want it dark, you know. And when we add those shadows, there's absolutely no white foam core board in front to fill it. There's a lot of dark areas because we're not afraid of it. Years ago, when we photographed people, I was always afraid of the shadows. There's dark areas because when you're photographing people, you want to be able to highlight features in the face. You want to bring out their eyes. So when we came to food photography to me, I had that same habit. You've got to feel it and you gotta fill it in and everything looked really flat. So don't be afraid of your shadows and always know that those shadows at Dimension and they add depth to the image so real quick before I go to your question, going to the next line. Yeah, the wood that where it's filled in. Yeah, you see how that's a one, but with the foam core board. So this one is with okay, just put back and forth real quick between those two. Yeah, seeing the light going to go back with the foam core. You see that that adds depth to because it's already kind of a dark and shadowy area are ready already. But knowing that if you like, the 1st 1 don't add anything to that side of the subject because you're already adding another field, which adds a different layering in a different type of emotion to it. Yes. Um, did you use a diffuser? Ah, white from corporate? No, just user diffuser for the light source. Yes, we did. Yeah, OK, yes. And so for us, um, it was basically through a doorway. Um, that just had a piece. A piece of diffusion cloth that's in front. It doesn't even have to be anything fancy combined a straight diffusion cloth. I got names on different places. It doesn't even have to be diffusion cloth could be a white sheet, and sometimes you don't even have to diffuse. Sometimes it just depends on how the lights going through the window. Um, generally, when we look for light sources which weaken, we'll talk more about it in depth later for years, looking for ones that the light isn't coming directly through. So with the shade side of the house, that like coming in through that window is usually the first place that we're looking for the light because it gently from food for tire, for you don't want to strong and dramatic, at least for like what we want. We don't want a super hard shadow, but we do want to create enough shots. Is just finding enough light coming through without it being just a hard straight son. Yeah, and you know, he's right, that we shot this through a doorway. Um, we didn't have that picture, but I'm glad that you brought that up because this was shot basically, in our study, we have a big roll up garage door, but we don't always lift it up to get so much light in because people always think that the more light you have, the better. And I'm here to tell you that's wrong. You know, sometimes too much light could be your problem. You know, a lot of people think it's because I don't have enough light. I only have this bank of window and I need a big bank of window. I need to have four times the window. So and I need to do this in this. We can tell you right now that it's probably because you have too much life for certain foods and, um, using, being able to block off the direction of light and being able to control that is what's going to create that mood in that story. And this one, it was literally shot through a doorway. So in our studio with the Big World rolled down garage door, there's also a small regular doorway, and all we did was open it up. So in finding light, um, when number one thing is, you always gotta find it and it happens everywhere. It can happen in a doorway. It can happen in the bathroom. We've been known to shoot in bathrooms, you know, kick people out of a little office with a little tiny window. We've taken over, um, entryway loading doctor, and had everybody going around because that was the only source of light. So in finding light, which is what we're gonna talk about next is identifying it and, like, literally, just terraces. A partly I've known to do, which is not good. But to get that light and friends who have friends and people who live in New York City who always complain, I say I don't have enough light, don't have enough light you actually have, like, you just need to find it. If it means shooting in an alleyway, sometimes in the hallway of your apartment building, you know, on the deck sidewalk somewhere. If there's a shaded area that's light, you got to find it. And that's what we always do. First thing we ever dio when we shoot food, particularly first thing and even like, for example, when we're on vacation somewhere, we shoot a block post. We don't have access to our studio, where we don't have access to our light. So we've been known to go outside and find shade by a car, get a piece of cardboard, block it out, and then find that light and create a little pocket of light to shoot from half the time we're blocking light instead of adding light so you'll see that kind as we particularly tomorrow. When we go into the restaurants up, you'll see how we're doing it, um, in just a strange location place you've never been before, and then you'll see how we're doing it today and pretty much always were blocking light. And we're adding like and finding light throughout the day is always changing, so someone will always ask. Well, you know, I only, you know, shoot at a in the morning and that's the only time. And and I never have enough time and I have to goto work Well, I can tell you that there's light throughout the day in different parts of your house. So just because you cook in your kitchen just because the food happens in the kitchen, just because you eat the kitchen does not mean you have to shoot the kitchen. So if your two year old's bedroom has amazing light at two o'clock way, you know you're sleeping over here, you know, make a nap room for them somewhere else. If it means that that you happen to be home from work at two oclock and that's the only time that you can shoot. By all means use that bedroom. Okay, by all means, if you have a bathroom that is the only source of light, use it. You know, just tell everybody that they can't use the bathroom for an hour, you know, set up a table and we have been known to do that and shoot. So have a boy, though. If I can Yeah, we had listened at least have to. So how you going to do it is, um, identify the light in your house. So that's the next thing identifying the light in your house. So you started a start with your clock and of course, it changes throughout the year to So go around in the house and identify all the windows. All the light sources and light source can be your garage Forgot. Say that also, just through the time of day two, you might find you love one side the house in the morning, the other side, the house in the afternoon. So you'll be aware of the time we're shooting when you're shooting and then just But just keep seeking it, looking for and you'll start flying those little sweet spots where it's like Oh, this is gorgeous. I love it. So when we started food long and we realize that natural light looked so much prettier, you know, we're gonna leave the strobes at the studio. We're gonna shoot the natural light at home. So what we did is just got walked around the house throughout the day. Identify the windows identified. Let's say in the morning between eight. And 10. The light sucks here, So we're not gonna shoot here. And that happened to be in the kitchen. Because in the morning, you know, we love that we bought the house because of that, because the bright light was shining through the kitchen and it just felt like morning. But it's sex for food photography, you know, we didn't know. 10 years later, we were gonna shoot it, be shooting food. So in the morning, the best Some of the best light is through the other side of the dining room. But and then another. The best part of light in the house is actually in the living room, you know, so you can definitely shoot in the living room. There's no reason why you can't. If there is light in your living room, then you Mark that done. You say OK? The best time to shoot in the morning is living room. Okay, great shooting time. During this time, a year between eight and 11 is living room. Next you check around the 11 1 oclock time the noontime see where the best light is. You know what it might be in my garage. You know, I just might be in my garage. That's great. You have light lightning garage between 11 and one, okay? And then you wait till the other quarter of the day, which is the heart afternoon between one and three and four, sometimes a lot of parts of the house. It's just too harsh. The sun's beating through so much. See if there's another part of the house that has that wonderful, shaded, filtered light for you. Write that down. So once you've identified the light sources in your house, you know have a timetable, a timetable that tells you throughout the year where each shooting area is gonna be best for you. You don't have any complaints because you have light. You have to identify that, and particularly that's gonna happen in the winter where this is gonna be even more valuable because for a lot of you especially, and did you go more north, you have less light. And we know that because we're jealous of you this time of year, because you have light till 9 30 which is crazy in Seattle, so you can shoot all year round in summer and spring. So Once you've identified that light, that's the time to shoot. And after you've identified that, then you're gonna identify when you can cook, right? When is the best time that you can cook the food and eat it, particularly for food bloggers, and particularly for the moms who are food bloggers? Because we understand that you have families, your mom and this is to all food by food bloggers out there and particularly those who are moms. I just think you are just so freaking amazing for what you do, because I know what you do. You feed your kid, you send him to school, you cook. You gotta gotta set that up your shop. You wash your own dishes, you chop your own food, you shoot you still you do everything. So I'm always an on view on a lot of people say, Well, I need to feed my family dinner between five and seven. I can't shoot. Well, that's okay. I have an answer for you. I have a solution. What you do is you can save a little bit, and that's what always happens. Like sometimes for us. If we devour something at night and then we would be really know that we have to shoot it. The next day, we'll save a little bit of it, and then we'll shoot it when the light is best. And what if your kids were pigs and they everything you have nothing left, right? Like how they ate everything. So when you can make it again right, use it for leftovers or should it is great, Thank you. And then you shoot as process shot Lasha, we showed with the cookie. It's more about the process, so you have your shot there. But the next thing to get yourself to that point to utilize the light is being flexible. You have to be flexible. Some people are so rigid when it comes to food photography that if I make a breakfast scene, I'm cooking my breakfast. I need to shoot in the morning. You don't have to have breakfast for dinner. Okay, have breakfast for lunch. Yeah, packets. He likes pancakes, so there's there's a lot of flexibility there, so number four be flexible and this industry and a food for photography you have to be so flexible, and you always have to be planning a lot of planning when it comes to anticipation. I think that's like something you find pretty much in almost any food John or photography genre is that you have to be able to anticipate to get the shot you want. Um, you know, in action sports it's like you're knowing where the action is going and so you could be ready in position to capture it. And for food photography, a lot of it is knowing when the dishes air, coming out, knowing where the light's gonna be and then getting yourself ready ahead of time to do it. So it starts with this. All this stuff that goes on before we actually do a shot. It's just that mental process which begins and gets us raise. So that way, when it comes to getting the shot, it becomes easy. But when you're kind of struggling to get the shots at the moment, a lot of times because some of this process hasn't happened before. So let's look at just all of the images together, and you can see how very the same subject, same light source. Everything is they each going to evoke a different sense, you know, it's like when you get that back lights like, What do you feel? Summertime? Bright spring, Eri says. More of that girly light. It's just not really like boys. I shoot it. Yeah, yeah, And then when you started coming from the side, you get some more of the drama. You know it gets there's a little bit more depth dimension to it. Neither light is right or wrong. They're just different. And so, knowing how when you're starting to move around, how that light is trying to affect that image and how someone perceives it. What serving motion that evokes from just the same subject. Same lights or same camera, same everything. The only thing that's different is that you moved and through that moving inside gets beginning to change everything about the image, really, And people. I was like, What? The better light, You know, we can't really define that. We can't really answer that light. Only you can decide which is the better light. So when looking at this, particularly with the particularly with the strawberries, I kind of have my favorite. You know, it's that it's the type of like that I will generally gravitate to. So for you guys Is there anyone that really stands out to you that you just say, That's me. I'm a to 45% six o'clock the front, right? And why it pops, it pops the subject. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's great. And I can tell you that there's no bad light because there's a lot of photographers that will never shoot. Six oclock, front light. There's some that will never shoot back light, but there's no bad light. See, everybody has their own style. So it's for you to decide. Anybody else we say 12 9 Oclock nine oclock nine oclock just Yeah, that's great. And I like the O. But I'm glad. So when you saw this did something did did your eyes just immediately gravitate to something? Yeah, why? Probably cause of mood, right? It made you feel something right when you saw you immediately knew. So in photographing when you photograph and when we photographed, that's the first thing we're gonna be talking about is light. Let's talk about like, you know, where is the light, which is the light that's going to make my subject and give the most personality to my dish. So I personally love I don't always like back like I really don't And I only like back like because they came from photographing, um, people, family and kids that really light lifestyle. So I came from that 10 years of photographing with that type of light, and that's always drawn to two. So when I started photographing food, I'm like, it's gonna be back like That's the only light I knew and see the light I knew. So you always get stuck with that? But it wasn't until that we started learning together. And I realize, Boy, I could release myself from always shooting the same backlight because I was getting so bored with my pictures. They all started looking looking the same. And I have the MIT. Sometimes I like backlight. Sometimes thistles like therapy. Really a lot of things you're gonna say my Saturday Ryan and tired of people shouting out in our chat rooms. Their favorites are. And why wait? A couple of those really fantastic. We have Shea, Wuhu says. Six oclock is super flat, and that's my favorite because there's no drama and then we have Julia, who says usually nine oclock because I'd have to climb on the kitchen counter to get any other angle. I've held the camera where I can see through it and through the viewer to get other angles. And Chef Girl says, I love the three for finished products and nine feels more artisan or seeing the seeing the process, the sidelight I love. Yeah, that's awesome. They brought that up, the board artist said. You know a lot it does, gives that very home made field with a certain light and think about a lot of the images that you see that have that homey feel that you love. You can break it down. It's probably shot with that angle light. Yeah, same thing with gin and stars depends on the subject. Six Oclock makes me think of sitting on the porch, eating strawberries and nine o'clock makes me thinking of them being left on the kitchen table so you can see that now when you describe that and that's exactly what we've been talking about, your vision and your story, how cool is that? That's so cool that I mean, especially when the answers are just not about the three o'clock they're following through with the morning on the table or the pick, the on the porch, you know? And that's so awesome. And then we're talking in that language. I mean, this is I mean, I really didn't think it was gonna start off this quick. I really did not. I was just to think three clock back, you know, back light. But I really am really loving the fact that you're following through with why go so much E. This is awesome. I mean, I please. I mean again, you know, just just false saying the technical I like it like this, but why? You know, love it Because it makes me feel like I'm on the porch. And, you know, I've never really shot with six oclock light. I'm be honest. That's the one that I always avoid because is flatter. But not until you. As I said, it's flat. You can see it all. Then I realized, you know, you're right. Because a lot of the other lighting will kind of block and the shadows will block certain subjects on the plate. And I'll struggle with that. So maybe I should start doing more six oclock. I mean, you've had three people say six oclock, right? Are there anybody is anybody with 12 o'clock recipe? Renovator says, I would use O clock if the subject was translucent to backlight, as it is with jam. Oh, back, great point. As with James, great point and and and that's a great point. There's so much to talk about. But this these conversations really help us explain a little bit more. And the backlight is what we will use often to shoot things with reflection. Thank you, Stephanie. Hi, Stephanie. She's she's She's fantastic. Thanks, Stephanie. So the backlight gives that reflection. Yeah. So a lot of times, of course, we're not just shooting these four corners, right? Lots of we're going to move around. You'll see that when we start shooting and demo ing live to that, it's in between. Sometimes will be around the edge a little bit. Sometimes it'll be straight back. But as you're getting more of the backlight, then you start getting more reflection, of course, to get light streaming through a subject. So something like drinks, jams of sort things. You get the light going through it, giving a pop, giving a shimmer that is sometimes beautiful, sometimes also too much. Um, also for stuff like steaks, things that you want. Like, what do you think about when you think of a great steak? You think juicy, right? It's a juicy, this beautiful you last thing he wants. I get dry steak unless you like my grandpa, which that's a whole different story, is you want that juiciness and the way you begin to capture that is from delight. And if you get enough backlight on it, then you get just a beautiful reflection coming off the top to get the juices Ignace to make that come alive. Then sometimes it, though. If you move too much, then you get too much shimmer coming off of it. And it's just like this glossy top, and it just feels a little funky. So it's you'll see it as we begin to shoot and as you yourselves, when you shoot and you're moving around, you'll find that's like, Oh, I love this backlog because it's giving me my shimmers, giving a a reflection off the top of ah, a drink or the legs cubes. You know, the white is coming through like stuff like the jam, and it just brings it to life. Yeah, and one that was brought up because a lot of times people are free to shoot the 12 o'clock light. And with the 12 o'clock, that's where it can be An advantage, but not necessarily 12 o'clock were not being so literally could be anywhere somewhere along the backlight range. And that's where a lot of the food will be positioned So it gets that back. Like for Oliver drinks and cocktails, literally pretty much moat. I would say 75% of all over drinks and cocktails are shot with that back. Like to get back Schumer because it gives that refreshing hell. It makes the water look like fresh and hydrating. And unless you want like a dude shot, you know the dark movie Loewen shot. And then what am I coming? I'm usually students with lights coming from the side because it gives that drama the dude light. Yeah, do like for sure way. Great great quote from from chef girl in the chat rooms, who says I'm a professional chef, so I'm always thinking about my plating at thinking about the light. If I'm in a catering event and I'm outdoors, the light changes how I will play a dish in a restaurant. I see the plate differently because the light in the restaurant kitchen is so different. Yeah, it's intriguing how they're they're thinking about that forethought of how it's gonna Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, particularly. And we're talking about a lot of areas where it's indoors, where you have so much control through the reflectors and things on where the light's gonna go. But when you're outside, you don't have a lot of control. So it it is and how you're gonna plate, let's say for a picnic. Or if you're gonna shoot food at a food festival at some type of like a beach picnic or whatever outside, you're really gonna think differently. And you're gonna really gonna, um, position yourself in a way that's going to shoot to get that mood for you and particularly a backlight outdoors is gonna be different for backlight in the studio because or in a home, because you have a roof that's gonna give that cover already when you're outside, a 12 o'clock is gonna be different from o'clock inside, so think about that, too. And if you want to achieve the this type of look where it's more tabletop in studio. How you gonna do it? Outdoors is really tried to block the top of the sides to create that more directional light like Todd was showing you here. And how you can do that is through a couple things is what I'm always good at doing is grabbing my jacket. I'll grab anything that I can, particularly when we're outdoors at a food festival. I'll grab a jacket. I'll grab my purse. I'll grab somebody else's jacket. I'll grab a Blackpool London. I'll grab grab bodies. You know, everybody stand side by side to create a wall, and we've done that like the soccer wall. It is way don't family. I'd like everybody to stand in line like why we standing like soldiers because we need to get the shot can do with the yellow You're out. Yeah,

Class Materials

bonus materials with purchase

Gear Guide
Places to shop for Food Styling Props

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

First, thank you to Diane, Todd and the CreativeLIVE team for a wonderful exploration of "shooting" food with artistry. This course offers the beginner and professional photographer many incites into the world of natural food photography. With some business and lifestyle tips the majority of this course showcases an effective natural shoot style that allows anyone to deliver wonderful images. The strongest point I found useful is to “find a voice” for the story, your images or your client. While I understand “finding the voice” when writing copy it is the realisation that any activity can have its own voice. Your voice can be the style of image you like, the shoes you wear, the books you read, etc. it is not limited to how loud you (or anyone else) shouts. Using general principles and building good habits through practise will allow you (and me) to achieve, not just find, success. The “lighting clock” is a useful shorthand helping communication with clients, producers and peers. The strong emphasis on practise, speed and taking advantage of any appropriate situation both improves productivity and reduces the impact on a client. Last but not the only other gem in this course is the bald (not a joke Todd) fact that any photography business was, is and will always be based on the relationship between the photographer and the client. Building a relationship is the best marketing device any photographer, food stylist, entrepreneur or creative mind can develop. Other courses offered by CreativeLIVE also stress the relationship aspect of good businesses as their best marketing asset. I highly recommend this particular course for lovers of (in no preferred order) food, photography and life. Thank you for reading and I hope you find your voice in all things. FJH...


Diane and Todd are amazing! They've held nothing back when giving the rest of us an honest, detailed look into what it means to be a food photographer. I've seen many seminars on the topic from different companies and photographers and this one is my favourite. I love their no fuss approach to food photography. It leaves me feeling like food photography is manageable without having to fuss with cameras and lighting gear that are outside of my budget. I love that Diane often mentions how there's more to food photography than the plated dish. And Todd is just adorable and has the cutest laugh! They're a fantastic team that are engaging and make it easy to learn from them. Highly recommend purchasing this course!

MAlisa NIcolau

I loved this class and how Todd and Diane taught it. It was very personal and inspiring, with lots of insight and tips. This is not a camera technical class, but more an artistic, motivational and visual food photography learning environment. Their examples on how to set up scenes and stories behind the food and people involved are very enlightening. They gave me a lot of great ideas and hope that I, one day, will become as good of a photographer as they both are. Great team!!!!

Student Work