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Food Stories Through Moving Pictures

Lesson 42 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Food Stories Through Moving Pictures

Lesson 42 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

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Lesson Info

42. Food Stories Through Moving Pictures


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Lesson Info

Food Stories Through Moving Pictures

the next thing we didn't get to talk about, um, in the business section, we decided to kind of dedicate a little bit more time to It was food video stories that was also another add on to our business and what we dio and have felt most natural when we started to transition over the video. Because essentially a video is like moving pictures. So you're making pictures already and you're collecting them. And there's different ways to share a food video. Three, You're moving pictures. And when we started doing that, it not only was a business you no choice, but it was just fun. You know, we really enjoy doing it because it's another way to incorporate so many other senses into the photo experience, like music and real movement, where everything's moving, and to really tie the story and together into one collective piece, like in a minute or so. And that's when we and we started doing our first videos in 2008 and we still have them up in their really, really embarrassing, you know, you know...

, they were just videos of us trying to show how to cook a stir fry or something and someone we've kind of kept private way. Look back! And we realized Oh, my God! Where such dorks carefully. We did that. There was one. Remember where it was a contest. Teoh, get Anthony Bourdain. Teoh come to come to your area. And you had basically kind of be his guide. So we made a very cheesy video for that asking Anthony Bourdain. Teoh, come visit us and show him our food way last now. But you know, none of you gonna watch E. It might be public. I don't know. I hope not. This is what happens when we look at our old food videos of us in it, we realized we just love. You'll never find a video of us a video of us cooking face to face anymore because we're just camera shy. Anyway, that transition worked out really naturally for us. We found out that's another thing we love to dio. It was another way and another extension for us to share food stories. And when we started sharing that it was just for fun, there, without anybody would ever want to make a living off of it. Then again, people started seeing and then started asking us for rates and how we did that part of our business and if they could hire us. So when we talk about food videos, everybody always get so overwhelmed and that they feel self stuck. Is it any of you here? Ever thought about moving over to video? You know, Is it intimidating at all or have you done it? No, but it is can be intimidating. And it can be because food video, particularly video, can be so, um, tough. And there's so many layers and it feels so gear heavy and so technical. But, you know, also, I think Creative life has amazing videos. Anyway, To show on class is to show how to do videos. But one easy way for us to share with people how to start making videos that aren't so complicated and that are free but just incorporates pictures that you currently have is through an emoto. And I know a lot of people love in no animo toe. We loved it, too, in the beginning, a long time ago. It wasn't until about a year ago that we kind of looked back to see what they were offering it was really amazing. What animo Tokcan dio What an emoto is is a website. It's Ah, it's, ah, community that allows you to be able to upload your photos, and they have templates that you can upload your photos to. And they have stock music with little clips that were 30 seconds or under that you can use so in. This service is free for 30 seconds, so you can play with it if it's your first time ever ever diving into video and you don't have to have any type of special gear, you just use the existing images that you have to be able to prove produced a little piece with moving pictures. And you have to worry about music because they have stock music for you to choose from your completely licensed and again for free for 30 seconds, you can produce a little video, and if you want to do anything longer than 30 seconds, you know it'll cost you a little bit of something. But it's a really great way to start a little bit of confidence. You toes wade in the water a little bit, so I want to show you a little clip we did. It was all an IPhone pictures I wanted to show you the value of it does. You don't need that perfect, high quality high res photo or that perfect graphic or that perfect motion to do a fun little video about what we love is, um ah, Garden. So we just collected some really quick IPhone pictures and made this free 32nd video about our garden. Think it's this That's a really fun way to do video. I know so many people are so intimidated, you know. And video doesn't necessarily mean you need to have the full head peered, headgear, peace and two cameramen and tripods that that's not what video is to us. We'll do little pieces like these fun for family, whomever, just to throw some pictures together just for friends. Because it's just a fun way to say I could make something of my pictures that are not just a still picture, and I could make a story with something even simple as a little IPhone and even if you can go a little further and like, make a recipe out of it, and this is another quick little example of how we took these little IPhone pictures of a recipe and added text to it to create a story of a recipe. That's another fun, little way to do it, you know, and we want to do something like that for creative life today. But we didn't get time to take a pictures and upload. That's one of the ways that we are able to share stories through moving pictures. Moving next to is, um, other video, which is DSLR video. And, um, we're gonna show you a couple examples of our DSLR videos that we dio. And our approach is the same way that we approach photography, and it's always look beyond the obvious so many times taught. And I will go into a project and think about how we can share the story a little bit differently, and it takes a little bit of time, but we always go through it. You know, Todd's always thinking about how to, like, poach an egg differently or cut a steak differently or bake bread a little bit differently. And so often we get clients that come to us and ask us ideas and how we can sell their brand or sell this recipe a little differently. And a couple months ago, as a couple months ago with a couple of years ago, I'm a client, came to us and said, We need to do like a poached egg Siri's and but we're having challenges because there's a 1,000,000 different poached A demos on YouTube. I mean, if you google it, there's so many people, thousands of people online. They're showing you how to poach in a and they do a really, really good job of it again, like just because thousands of people are doing it doesn't feel oversaturated. And for us, we said No, let's think about a way to be creative, but think about a way to still inspire people but at the same time teach people and encourage people inspired people and how to poach in a and at the same time how we can make it technically and on a budget since make it practical. So where it doesn't cost a lot of money to hire models because that was another issue that the client had wolf. We come up with an option. This this concept, you know, hiring models is gonna be challenging. You gotta find location you got to deal with all these things. So we came up with this concept on how to inspire people in terms of recipe making on how to poach in a that's approaching a but look beyond the obvious, you know, and it sometimes it's so easy to say. But it's it's one of the more, um, non obvious things that really you have to make it obvious to think about and you like, ways that you do that for us. Like when we were looking back in doing the Post a video, we think of what we love about post aches. This, I mean for us is like one of those daily, not daily rituals, maybe once a week, rituals or maybe once every other week. When I was working the restaurants like, uh pretty, because we were breakfast lunch places like we made for breakfast, literally thousands of post eggs on a weekend. You know, we go through crates and crates of eggs of just post eggs. Do I hate it? No, I loved it, You know, it's like I love making post eggs. And so for us, like we're at home, it's like I love you know, everyone's wallets, like one of those special treats of making poached eggs. And you know what's always that moment right at the end, right? Right. When you break it and just like that beautiful, you'll come down. It's like everyone's like, Who's like I want to eat that, um, it's a So we think. How can we capture that? How can we find an angle where this is gonna be gorgeous? I love like the ritual of going through of chopping the parsley of you know. And that's what we started thinking about some of these things you saw, like with Diane talking about with the photography, and we talked about it with aprons. What is it for the chef? It's that ritual, sometimes tapping into these rituals the things that you love about it, the things that are kind of special somehow on the insides, like how can you capture it? Um, and then that's what goes into our initial steps of then that creative process of creating something like that and our process is really simple technical wife. So we're gonna go over really quickly, unlike the gear with that we use. We don't have all this fancy jib stuff, you know, because way don't. And a lot of times people don't have big budgets anymore to do like the small production videos. So how we do it again is very simple, cause everybody wants to know how we produce a video like that. It's just us two and most projects, I think, all projects, many projects that we've done personally. It's just us two, and how we do it is with the DSLR cameras, and we'll have our two Monta pods. We're going on set and we just follow it around and we have a storyboard. We think about what we need to shoe and all the key points to really make the video really visual on those special moments and the intimate moments, particularly in small details and and wide and small shots that we need to get. And then the gear is really quite simple, you know, it's it's nothing really complicated that I mean something that you walk and do. I think all of you, by looking at your here today, you have the gear to do what we do, and you now you've been kind of taught or work together to get an idea of what we see worthless transitioning for us, transitioning from photography to video. It wasn't all that complex, and we still have. We still like to keep it fairly simple. Just that's the way we like to work. Um, so well, we found, you know, there's a couple areas where we're going from photography to video that the DSL ours they stumble upon just a little bit. One is capturing audio. You have a couple options like in this one. There was no audio that was actually from the filming. It was just the audio track afterwards. So then it's just finding out your track and post. That's totally easy. So now you actually have to worry about when capturing. You don't have to worry about capturing great audio. However, If you're doing interview or you need to catch sounds along with the video at the same time, then that's something that you look into. And there's a 1,000,000 different ways to do it there for us. We basically stick between two different ways of one. Just using, um, an on camera Mike the biscuit. A little bit of a boom mic on top of the camera for when we don't necessarily need great audio, but it's like we want to catch ambient sound or were using the lapels. Kind of what you see is all addict out with now where we use the wireless appeals and just use that attachment to the person that you're doing it capturing in camera or you can capture it through for us. We use, um, the the Senate has been there through the Zoom Defour's just so we can capture that and channel it through. Um, so the audio tends to be one place where the s or stumble a little bit, so just forget the best system that works for you. There's a kind of different ways to do it with tender courses that teach a lot of information on how people like to do it. But that's just one thing you know that you'll need to look into when you start doing this alarm. The 2nd 1 a stabilization, you know, for the most part, d s ours. They're meant to be held to her faces and shot. And then when he started doing video stabilization because you're now holding it away from your body and then you're at a lot of times you're pulling focus at the same time, so finding ways that you can stabilize it and even being just developing the skills to focus while you're while you're shooting at the same time. Because a lot of times we're keeping the camera still works for moving the cameras around. We have to be able do multiple things kind of out here ahead of us. For us the easiest way, like Diane Teichert adds, like a lot of times were just using our modified might apply and tripe out. So this gear that you might already have it's a Guinness. So we have to have special equipment, and it will actually help work as a stabilizer, even if you just have a fairly light tripod. You don't want something heavy because you don't want a way down. But if you just have a tripod with his legs closed, attached to the camera, legs could be even up. That weight will help counterbalance the camera so you can actually move around, and this actually works as a sent in a sense of stabilization that you don't just have something to wait here on top of your hand, but you know have wait this cell down underneath your hand to, so that'll help stabilized the camera. Usually when we're on shoots, we just go guerilla style. We just have basically our cameras, a way to capture the audio better and a model potter tripod and then said, Of course, then you can also drop when you're not moving around, you can drop the model Potter Tri Pi legs down and you have a stable area are stable, stable platform that you're now shooting off. Yeah, and like a lot of times when you're shooting even like IPhone is the same way. It's like a lot of the that. The same technique applies when you should. IPhone. You know, I love to shoot video with my IPhone and like in the gear that we use, it's all things that we can use for photography. So in our investment in video wasn't to my big gear and do high production video because we always focus on the story. It's always about the story, first for us, and we feel that this story really is more powerful than the gear that we carry because we can have ah, video that's made with an IPhone. You know, just with IPhone that I have with me every day. It's the lowest resolute resolution possible. It doesn't provide any fancy audio at all, but there's a story involved with it that really captures the audience's attention. So don't feel like that. You know, you're gonna be having to invest in a lot of money for video. I think video is a really great way to be ableto move over and to share more story. So try, you know. I mean, if you get a chance to use an Emoto, use your IPhone, use whatever you can to be ableto take that story of still pictures and added to moving pictures. And in terms of music, I think music is key four for video and we're always searching for a great music. And we have Ah, there's so many wonderful music sites out now that provide wonderful, wonderful music that's beyond the typical stock music like that elevator music or the different loops. When we found it is called, it's changed, it will redirect you tune your website, but it's called with etiquette and triple scoop music on a lot of those sites have wonderful music that is more contemporary with with etiquette. They have. They support a lot of indie artists and new artist, and they license their music. That's not just it's like a stock site for individual artists and their their sounds and their personality comes through the music. And that is what allows us to have personality through the video, too. So doesn't sound like elevator music. It's actually good music. You know that you can actually license cool, modern artists, and they're just doing some great stuff in there. They're sharing it, and that's a way for them. Teoh Market and and it's fairly inexpensive, really. Teoh license some of the stuff, so it's a great, great resource. Like DeMeo, they have, um, the online community, Vania. They also have their their store now to where you can get great music sources. There's a 10 of new ones always popping up. Remember five years ago, it was. The selection was it was a lot harder to find cool stuff, and now it's like it's becoming so much easier. So just searching out you'll find a lot of great music sources. Um, yeah, there's a lot, but otherwise, you know, don't don't we don't want invited, be every to be hindered with not doing video. Everybody, every photographer that we've talked to, particularly food photographer, they all say, I want eventually to move into food video and I'm scared, So we just want to let you know that it's There's a lot of options that you have. You don't have to have a lot of gear or anything like that. Definitely pay a lot of attention to just the audio. Whether you're capturing audio, though, or whether you're using music, you can have amazing footage. But if the audio is horrible, it's gonna be hard to watch. But vice first say, If you have great audio and your footage is as great, it's like that's more acceptable. It's easier, Tonto. It's more forgiving to be able to watch, so make sure at least you know, that you put enough time into researching in and getting good audio regarding editing. A component is their particular software that you that's easier to use that easier is a very relative because that's the one thing with some of the difference offers. Everyone approaches things differently. Um, we've gone from one platform. We in the most of things that we've edited spin in Final Cut. But it was the older final cut is final cut Studios. Now, after the switch to finally got 10 it's like it's a whole new learning curve for us. So for us now actually going to find out 10 has been a little bit more strong because we had our particular way that we were used to doing it. And now we have Toe Biscuit relearn it. There were some people, though, that will jump on found, attend. All this is the easiest thing ever. Um, so each editing platform, I think, has its own, uh, fan base. And so it just depends on how you learn and how you approach things of which one matches up with you personally. So it's kind of it's, ah, I think, a relative answer, and you just have to find which one feels right you like. I said, for us, it's like, really, we've done fun kind networks, great for us. But there's a ton of great options now, and and that's the great thing about you Now, just like with our camera bodies are software to it's like everything is getting much, much more user friendly. So things that used to have a huge learning curve. Now it's not so bad. So it deaf things we're definitely getting is your user. And there's amazing resource is to find out about each of the different ones, too. Yeah, and you know, video has always been a great add on for us and in what we do in our business. But lucky. It's like there's both of us. We do it together, and Todd's very technical, and I love the creative side. So we merged together. But what if it If it's you that doesn't have anybody like that, what do you do? Oh, you're by yourself. But you know, I always think of together, and I think this word really ties into what we've been doing over the last three days. It's like nobody is alone. Nobody does things alone in here. Every successful segment we have. Everything that happens right is because it's accumulation of so many peoples, different efforts, and the same thing can apply to video. You know, we have no of a lot of friends who have had no budgets, and they found people to work with him, like one has gone to like a local college. Same thing she she wanted to start a Web cooking show. So she went to a local cartilage college. Had a little sign that said, You know, I can pay only this amount, but what you'll get is a lot of experience. So for a lot of these new filmmakers or college students who are learning all the technical gear and and video filmmaking want to be able to have that opportunity department partner with someone who can produce the content, because there's a lot of people like you who are technical in the back end who can produce a technical video, but they don't have content. But if you year the content provider and she's done really well, I know a lot of people that have done that that gone and found that that togetherness and found people to work with them. And pretty soon it's grown into like a big crew on. You know they're doing really well, but it's definitely about not feeling like you're by yourself, and you are a lot of things that we've learned through photography. They'll apply directly to video ways. The and I think sometimes almost going from being a photographer to becoming a videographer. I think a lot of times I gives you an advantage over some other people that just focus on video because so much of what we do is photographers, particularly as food photographers like we've talked about so much of last few days, is like seeing the light you're looking for light. You're seeing how light falls across subjects. You're really focusing on composition and capturing moments. So once you started get a feel for doing that within camera. For stills, it starts to become part of a second sense. When you're doing it now for doing a video, it's like you're already starting to see the light. You're looking for compositions that where it fills the frame where it feels nice, and now you get at in these live moving images to incorporate it. There will be some things would translate some things I don't, but it's like I think it helps develop your I a lot of the things that you learn as ah, as a photographer when you start going into video to for video for us, like like I said, it's been a real add on to our business and you know what? In actuality, it's actually won us a lot of projects because we do video, and it's the one of the other one of those things that makes us more of a big company. But we're really not. It's just two people doing everything, including washing dishes. So you part well. I hire someone to wash dishes. I can't do it all by myself. But if there's something that you can eventually partner, what to produce that that would be a really big asset to what you dio means. Anybody now doing video producing video? No, maybe thinking about that, you know, in terms of new do having an add on because and then with that, what we've been able to do is to expand our breath of work and how we charge that is based on project again. The next question is, so many people have is how much do you charge for a video? I have no idea how to charge by myself and again we charge based on project. So how we started as we go through another conversation with clients about video and ask them what they want to see and the most of court important question we have is who's gonna be in the video? That's the most important question because a lot of time they don't realize the cost of talent and models or source is searching for someone who's gonna be that talent, particularly if it's a instructional video or a cooking demo or workshop type class who is going to be your talent. And so if it's just hands the even if it's just hand, you need someone to be able to license their hands essentially and then even if it's their hand, you've gotta have some with good hands. So the conversation starts there. The question is, what type of video it's gonna be you always if you're gonna start pricing video, particularly your food videos, and you've got to think about all the other factors that go into food, video like ingredients, cook times, location. I mean, if it's gonna be in a kitchen where it's gonna be so I will always ask for us. Number one who is going to be in the video? Ah, lot of times they will say I have a chef or they'll say, Can you be in the video will say No way. Get that asked. A lot of all you know to say when I can one of you be in the video, we say No, because we're not gonna run of the camera. We can't do it, so we'll find someone to do it. That's the first question. Is modeling talent Who's gonna be in it? Number two is location. I think that's the second most important location because generally in any type of food, a recipe development video, people are going to need a kitchen and you can use your kitchen. You can. Who's ever kitchen People have asked and said, Can I use your home kitchen? We've said No way say no a lot, you know, And then sometimes I'll say, Why have someone who wants the talent? Can we use your studio kitchen? And we say no and then we say no for a number of reasons, it's because the studio kitchen it's not soundproofed, you know, you can hear helicopters flying by. You can hear the garbage truck, the bus going by. You can hear kids were going on their skateboard going by so we say no, a lot, but that was That's how we got to this video because video is so much harder. You know, we would much rather do producing food shoe than a video shoot. But video shoots fix it up, so there's always a lot of nos. But there's There's those yeses and you, like with videos like After you actually captured the video. So, like with photographer, you capture it. You're more or less done. It's awesome. You get a basically clean up a little bit of file management, delivered a client with video you get, capture your video and you're just starting the process after that point is very long. There's a lot of stuff that goes in the video. It's it. There's capturing is one thing. You capture it and then kind of just, ah, quick general technical thing. Usually you'll capture and use you. Keep your chains a file format. Sometimes the program will do it for you because the way you capture will be in one file format that we edit. It's usually better to edit and different filing about four from file format, and then when you deliver, it's gonna be in a different file formats. So you're always kind of converting from one to the other. So you have that process of converting, have that process, just getting the files into the program, they're going at it. Then you have to figure out how you're going to edit it. You know, for me, I like I like I love the way that Diane does. A lot of are the basic she loves the shoes. The first she was you used to be back in the VHS days, so I'm saying how we are. But back in the vehicle s days, you know, she would be like spice and video together. And she was like, born she should geek out on that. They go out to the desert, have you Priscilla, queen of the desert moments they created todo que She loves doing it, and so you know she'll be doing are doing the edits and a lot of time she'll start with the audio first and not inside the vocal audio. Sometimes it is a vocal vocal audio of basically developing that story through maybe what the talent is saying. Other times it will be the audio in terms of like the music, because the music becomes like that heartbeat of the video clips and she'll start laying that out Starling at the clips and then cutting. And it's, you know, it's late nights, you know, most of time will be delirious and about to clock in the morning, just laughing hysterically at something because we're dorks like that. But again, if you if you're not an editor, think of together. Think of somebody who can help you out it because there are people out there who are specific. It specifically editors in new editors that you could reach out to. And so let me finish off before you got about my past. The next thing is actually asking for location, because next we're gonna do is like if you're gonna do a food video, you've got to find out if you could need rent, studio or rent a kitchen somewhere, and that's a huge cost. So in order to cut costs, if you could somehow produce a food story video in your kitchen or somebody else's kitchen, that would be awesome. If you have a friend that has an awesome kitchen, maybe do ask for some favors. But there has been some situations where some clients will don't have the budget, but they'll find a friend's house or even a client's house to shoot it. So kitchen doesn't always have to mean it's your kitchen or rented kitchen can be somebody else's kitchen. Secondly, you can make shift a kitchen and we makeshift kitchens by like if this cause This was so tight it didn't really show the background or the experience of a kitchen and showed a stove. It's a lot of times a lot of people will, you know, has had have a table set up and maybe have a, um, a gas burner. What's the one where? Induction burner to be able to still produce it and shoot it tight. So a lot of these food videos don't necessarily have to be talent or a big, wide open kitchen. It could be detailed. It can be shot with those tools to make it look like a kitchen. So again, it's a story that your your your your your weaving through. But it doesn't have to be so literal that it's in the kitchen. I think that's why the the poached egg video was was something that was so appealing to a client because it wasn't anything that needed a talent or needed. Vocals are needed. Any type of specific instruction

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