Skip to main content

Hero Shots

Lesson 4 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

4. Hero Shots


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction






Hero Shots


Motion in Restaurant




Restaurant Details


Lesson Info

Hero Shots

we're gonna go ahead and shoot the hero we've There's this window space right here. That is wonderful. Light is absolutely beautiful here. So what we need to do is we need toe black out the screen because it's so bright in here. So what we use is we use the block part over five and one because Todd and I like to shoot guerrilla style, which is really low maintenance and not a lot of gear, because sometimes we're running back and forth in between locations, so we try to lighten our load as much as possible. So I'm using this as a block out to get color screen, saying that's about what do you think? I like it, But I think that the ice is one of the problems. That s so I'd like to get some fresh ice on your right. Sounds good. And then let me kind of rearrange composition. Let's have her come over, come over to hear that way. Todd has his placement down in terms of composition, and I'm gonna change a couple things up. I feel like we could make it feel a little more natural, like somebody ...

is ready to be eating this dish rather than having it feels so staged. Bench. No, I think it's great. Yeah, OK, go ahead. Monica. Yes, this is the cucumber rice. So that stuff a huge part of Yeah, there's so much texture. So this happens often. You know, Chef will be able to see their dish on camera because how they see it plated often doesn't convey and transcend into the computer. So after Chef takes a look at it, they'll probably want to make changes. And that's definitely okay. I mean, there's so much to work with and so much flexibility in terms of trying to get it really as great as possible. So I know we had This is camera friendly. I think we actually should rotate just a little bit. See how with the lights catching air off? Yeah, it gets a little bit of better structure to our old just taught shooting. We're not gonna be bouncing right away or adding light because we feel like you just need a photograph it first to see where you are in a starting point. And that's what we talk a lot about is shooting it to get a starting point. So many people so quickly try to fill on balance before they really understand what they're going to be getting. And for restaurant scenes like this, particularly with the lighting that's already within this restaurant, it's so moody and so into. It's really great light in here. We want to make sure we capture that. Have that reflected in the food, so it doesn't feel like it's this bright, airy place, because it's really not. You know, you guys have a lot of personality in this restaurant. We might attack the forks and knives closer. What do you think? I like how you can see the wood in there because the wood is one of the other features of the actual space itself. Do you have any proper line or anything that's open any type of liquid? But we can, like, make you feel like it's more lived in. Thank you. You shoot this one example, I pulled out the cars. Okay, so let me get a hold on. Here we go. Hold on, hold on. Let me see. I'm gonna get action shot, but can you just place the bottle right above the glass? Don't four yet just so I could get placement. Can you just get a little closer if you can? And just, like, feel like it's really natural. There we go. OK, Chef, go for it. For fastest. For natural. Okay, stop where you are. I'm gonna get one. Detail were quick. Can you do it one more time? Quit. Right. Thank you. I think I like the previous angle, but something that I think we have a pretty good He's like zoned in which the 50 chef, he's totally zoned in. You seeing all the little details really make a dish? Because what we did with that one Yeah, that looks great. We'll do one last one and then we'll go to the next one. But this feels great, too. If you do, you have the 50. Can you make sure you grab a little bit of the wine in the brain to That's giving us This will be great if you guys did some type of type. You put your logo going across it on on the black part. Okay. Can you put your the craft close to the wind loss? Just like grab a focus on to go closer. Closer. Ok, Ok. Poor normal for fast. That's great. Thank you. Oh, okay. Going to do a detail. So start with top down, top down. I bet you added catching the corner. Right. Um, stay where you are. Can we do want warm my hands or in it? Click. Let's do this. Because if we do this a lot, go over my shoulder. Ready? All right. Okay. We go tell you. Okay. Crispy skin. It's OK, Christie. Skin. I'll make it crispy.

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