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Sharing Food Stories & Life

Lesson 43 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Sharing Food Stories & Life

Lesson 43 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

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43. Sharing Food Stories & Life


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Lesson Info

Sharing Food Stories & Life

together is something that we've has been very important to us and and then sharing a long time ago when we first started, Um, I almost wanted to give up a couple times, and I share with you my out of nowhere. I should with you my Sadie Hawkins story. But there are many times in this industry, and in this business, and particularly in blogging, I almost wanted to give up. It was like it wasn't because I don't feel like I was good enough. But things get overwhelming and in anything when you're trying to work two jobs. And in my case, we don't have kids so many of you that have kids, you know, and families you have to raise this type of industry can really bog you down. But when you find that togetherness and infighting that support group to help you, it's really, really wonderful. Because when I started a long time ago, when I started, I had nobody to help me on what started for me and photography was was seeing a portrait photographer shoot a family, make that family so super happy, an...

d then they actually made money from it, and that was when when I saw that moment, I realized that's what I want to do. You know, I don't know much. I don't know anything about photography, but I knew that that photographer made that person happy, and I want to be a part of that. I wanted to be able to have that experience, to panda off some over something to somebody and give him joy. So when I started, I knew nothing about photography, and I found people to help me. I called around and people were able to help me build a storage studio. Tell me what lights to use? Because I was all by myself, had tried to help me to what he was in the restaurant industry, so I never gave Gave up in the beginning process of my photography career, I almost gave up a couple times. But then I realized there's always people to help me. So it's about reaching out and always finding someone to be able to give you that support. So when I started, the photography business was going okay and that I had my picture. Still what weren't good enough? And I went I mean, weren't good enough. They really weren't good enough for the money that clients were charging. It was to where they were complaining. They were complaining so much that I had to give them their money back. And that was the truth. I've had to give refunds to clients many times because something happened in exposure. It just wasn't good enough. So, um, I would go to photography stores and ask for help. And, you know, as a single female, I always feel like it's already intimidating Already. You go into camera store with a lot of real experienced people, and it's already intimidating for me to bring in a picture. I bring in a picture and I asked them, Can you give me an idea of what I'm doing wrong? Is something in the lens and the camera, or is it something that I can learn technically? And they said, Yeah, you need to spend $1500 buy new lens and I would leave crying. You know, I think I don't have $1500. I don't even have $200 extra to spend, cause I just refund it $600. You know, it was so tough where I almost gave up. And then and then finally I just turned to Todd and ask God for help. And then he started, you know, after his long hours in the restaurant, coming into the studio and helping me. So at least I had a support system. I always reached out to somebody to help me. And then I have time go in there. So I think you're a guy thing at this point. But he's a boy, right? He can go in there and like, pretending that something. And then he could get more help out at the sales guy. No, they were just bad to me, is what they were to her. It was just that old school mentality. It's like you have to earn what took us forever to learn. And I don't want you taking over my position. I don't want you taking work away from me. So it was Basically it's like you here. You can buy this if you want. And that was about it. It was very just cold. And it was also one of those moments where the two was looking each other, and it's like we're gonna learn this. And not only are we gonna learn this, but we're gonna teach us that everyone now we can, because we don't want people to have to struggle the same way that we had to struggle in the beginning because this doesn't make sense. This isn't right. And for us, that became that that moment where it's like we knew that we could do it just because someone told us that we couldn't are in their way. They're basically saying that you know, you can't learn it and that we're going to share it with as many people as we can. And that's where the together comes into play, because I think that if because I was always a really independent kid and and always had to help my parents because they came over not knowing a lot of English, so I was. I was the oldest that had to carry the family through in a lot of situations. So was it really hard for me when I was a kid to reach out but then ended? In my old age, I realized I really need to reach out reaching out together with Todd. That's where we decided if we were going to do this, this business. This blogging, this photography, food styling, whatever you do, we need to be together. So we sat down and had a business meeting. Kind of we said, Are we committed? Because we know working as a couple and working together as two. They were going to be issues so many people ask. I need to find my partner. I want to get my husband to do this. I want to get my wife to do this. I want to get my son to do this Will make sure that you have that pre pro. You have the conversation so you don't end up severing relationships. You don't have to call the pre private this point. Yeah, I a meeting. Yeah, Sit down the top and don't respect this previous pre pro. So this is how we did it. We actually sat down before because at that time, the businesses was was, was trying. I was growing, but I was finding a lot of things that I didn't know the block was going a little bit, but But we were blogging in the middle of the night and one day I I did. I gave up. I was so tired I was so exhausted, I finally told him, you know, I'm done Can't block anymore. Remember that night? I told him, Can't do it anymore. We're just gonna stop When a nice couple dot com And this was made me? No, not even a year, cause that was before we had the I don't so maybe, like six months. It was only six months into it. I told that I'm gonna quit and rarely do you ever say I'm done. I've done have said that a few times. When I say I'm done, I'm done. I'm really good at saying I'm done. I can walk away. So I told OK, I'm done with the right arrest couple. I can't do this anymore because we're not really on the same, you know, level like like, you know, same page. I wanted block out one about one thing he wanted to block about Another thing. Our voices were a little bit different. Photography approach was a little bit different. Finally said, I want to quit. I did. I said, I can't do what? And rest couple anymore. I'm done. I'm just gonna go back back to the studio, finished some stuff up and he said No and why? You know And And he said, You can't because we have all these relationships with these people online. You know, it's just together. We have nest togetherness we have on the blogged. Yes, and he didn't let me quit. It's like together we can do this, you know, it's like right now it's like we're just not doing it together. We have to. We were really doing attended and we have to figure out a way we had to make that that conscious decision in a way of doing it together that works for us and at before is like we were both kind of have the same saw the same in project or End and Gold. Maybe it's like we're gonna create this. But the journey along the way we each had our own different ideas, which kind of had their own different things, and it kept within each other separately. And it wasn't until that point we decide that we're gonna do this together and through anything together we can accomplish it. But if we're doing it solo and we're still trying both trying to drive the same car, it's not gonna work. And, you know, going into that while we were blogging and working were actually kind of fighting to, like, bickering. And we don't really ever bicker so much. What? We were bickering. And I felt like I was getting angry and he was getting frustrated and and like, like throw dishes or I do something that would I would just want to really tear down. What? Arrest couple finally said You cannot quit because we have all these people coming to the site friends, you know, just not all these people in terms of tons of traffic. But we had this person in Rhode Island with her kid that would visit. Finally, I said, I can't quit. I can quit. Yes, we can. Finally said, Okay, we won't quit. But if we're not gonna quit, we have to do this together. We said it had a meeting. We talked about our vision and our goals. We gave ourselves a schedule as to when we're gonna blawg and how we're gonna blawg. Because And I'm glad we did. Because if I didn't listen to him and I had my stubborn way, I would not be here right now. Why don't Rice couple would never existed. It's probably still be shooting screaming kids, you know, and families. And I love that to, um I knew Mrs sometimes because of him, I didn't quit. And I'm glad Wide and Rice couple was still up. So we talked about how we're gonna do this and we talked about it was, Let's communicate. If we get angry with each other, let's tell each other before we get to that point, I'm gonna get angry. Let's walk away. And we do that, too, Because if I get frustrated, I'll tell him I'm going a little angry. You know, I just I'm getting frustrated. I do. I just, like, get a little baby issued or palate is like I would just You better stop me before I get so pissed off I'm gonna explode. And the same thing with him, I can tell when he gets irritated. I said, You're going a little pissed off. Just go away and that's what we do. Yeah, we cranky because I mean, nobody means that we we each know that neither this is perfect, which have our days when some days air, great. Some days or not, it's like You know, I tend to be very hard on myself. It's, you know, and it will get to the point where it's like the frustrations will build within myself. I'll be taking with, you know, a lot of people would consider, like the photographs look great, but there's something that I'm feeling or seeing that's just not right. And so I feel frustrated, and I just It just starts building up in. Scientists are getting cranky a little snappy little I'm not that bad, but it ideo It's like, Yeah, it's like because I'm getting frustrated with myself. That's just part of my personality. It's also part of personality, which I also try to always improve on its like It doesn't do me any good to be snapping and to be cranky, and it just gets in the way of the creative process. And sometimes that's that's also part of the factors that you have to look within yourself of. How can I get better? How can I not do these things which are interfering or is being detrimental to the person that's right next to right next to me and trying to go on the same journey? You know, we and for us it's like when we get to those points. I think both of us tend tohave the same Ellicott. It upsets each of us equally for pretty much the same reason because it's hurting the other person. And I think it keeps going back to that. Same thing is that we're always looking out for the other person first. Yeah, so lucky. Like, you know. So I didn't hit delete. On what? Arrest couple. The next thing we're talking about was Okay. If we're going to do this, we need it together. We need to control each other's tempers and we need to give herself a schedule. And I think that's what really helped. Because even if we did get along the scheduling part and the managing part of working full time job and running a block is really hard. You've got to give yourself a schedule. You've got to be consistent. So many people always ask. Okay, You guys are good bloggers. I'm not a good blogger. I second blogging. How can it be better, blogger and I can definitely tell you how to be a better blogger is being consistent. Don't blawg sporadically. You know Blawg, Give yourself a schedule. If you're gonna post once a week, which is fine. Give yourself that schedule and that project. So you have a can do it consistently every Monday. If you're ambitious and you want to do it every day, and there's some people that blawg every day and that's amazing. Give yourself a break up, set aside that time and give yourself that project to be able to do and finish it. Men, because of the reason why we talked about this is because I didn't want our blawg to be the type of blawg where we get angry and we start bitching at each other and start talking about it on on the website because we definitely wanted to make the block about us. That was very important. Had to be who we are. But if we were to be angry bloggers and to take out our frustration frustrations from working a full time job, running a full time company to coming home and blogging, that was very scary to me because I didn't want our belong to be about hate. I didn't want our belong to be about anger. It's a happy place. We talked about that. Finally, it all started to come into play. But I think that if we didn't have that talk or that meeting or pre pro, whatever it is that you want to call it, we would not be here. And why don't rise. Couple would never exist and have existed. This food photography would never had existed, and none of this would ever be a part of our lives. So always, you know, find together and be together and be in focus with whoever it is that you're working with. And it's not just your partner, your husband. If you want to bring into the business, it's your the food stylist. You work with its wherever you're working on with the team. You've got to be a team leader. And when we're working as husband and wife on a shoot, one of us is always or both of us are always in the mindset of being a leader, and that's really important. So when if you're are going on a shoot and you're leading a shoot, how the mentality of being a leader and always making sure your inspiring the people around you and and being a leader isn't that story about telling people what to dio? Yeah, leader is that you go here, you're here. You do this. You know, sometimes that is part of the job. Sometimes someone has to take that responsibility. But really, a leader is about someone who's taking care of everyone around them. There's someone who's looking outside themselves and seeing the whole picture. I think that's probably one of the greatest traits of the leaders that they make everyone else around them great, and you're finding ways to do that. You know, it's every time when we are honest you, whether it's just us on a shoot and we're looking out for each other. I'm looking to see if I can anything that I could do to make her job easier. She's looking to see if there's anything that she could make my job easier to. When we have 10 people on set evil when we're here, it's like we're, you know, making sure it's like that. We're trying to make everyone else's job easier around us. The best we can. Trump is not in the camera guys way. If I can, you know if I can help it. I'm just doing each of us doing our part to make everyone else's job around us easier. Because of that, we've been to be ableto be together for that long 18 years and work together and be 18 years and three the least successful personally, you know, financially, you know, long hair. When we first got way, had a picture that he was actually with, Yeah, they actually look like that. So you let have I lost my train of thought. Anyway, it's It's so good that we we have that talk because I'm so grateful for having that open communication. Being honest and communicating is a key to what we dio. We're open and honest with everybody we work with, because if we didn't have that man, we would not be here right now. You know it all. Why don't Rice couple would be gone? Somebody else would be a wider nice couple. Can you imagine that? There's a lot of nice couples, but but just the thought of like us never following through with with the blawg and following through with our goal of pursuing food. A zoo, much as we love it, Um, it's crazy. I mean, after that we feel like we have the greatest life there is right now. I mean, so much of it came from following things that we love and then working together. It's basically those two things. Yeah, and they were blogging. And all of you guys here really helped to give us that career. And people always ask. That's like, You know, you made this crew and I think that this career found us, and I really think everybody online helped build our career. I can never take credit just for us in our work. I think it's a accumulation of things that happen online, and this is the generation where we cultivate sharing and cultivate support. And it's just an amazing time, because again, I don't think we would have been at this point even when Internet first came out. So definitely take advantage of that. So many of you have asked already when I looked on phones like, Can you talk about like what? But I'm scared to block, you know, I don't want to dress that really quick was redressed or ah of us. You know, I'm scared of blogging. I just was not open to putting myself out there you know about blogging doesn't necessarily mean having to write about your life story, having to write about your life challenges. It just means sharing. If you just love photographing lemons and read a block about photographic lemons, you know it's funny. There's a sphere of blogging. There's so much email, and over the last like day and 1/2 it's getting this like, Can you get me to overcome the fear of blogging? And I can tell you right now there's a lot of people right now who could probably talk 10 times more than I do about why they love to bog. So if you're scared, first we'll find somebody who is successful blogging, who loves it and ask them what it is that you love about it so much. You know, what is it that that makes you get up on belong every day? And then also, you know, blogging in again isn't talking about your kids or anything. Find something you love and you can write about it. And if it's not for you, it's not for you way. We asked three Internet a little bit about collaboration on. We just got some great great quotes one from Joe, who says, I just finished an intense photo class at school and many of the students are getting together to collaborate and support each other's projects. It's great for constructive criticism, physical support and encouragement, and that that's one of the reasons why we set up our our student galleries here. Creativelive Just so you guys can part of be part of this community. It is virtual. But that's one of the reasons why we set it up over here. Exactly, and semi in the in the chat rooms is also says, I love the chemistry between them. They're so creative. And it just those 18 years really do come through for everybody at home, don't you think? 18 years it is. It gets pretty crazy. But so, like, the last thing I want to show you is a little story about escapism, about our life recipe, you know, for years when we started blogging, everybody says is part of your branding you needed about us or about you video. So it took us about 4.5 years to make this video, and why it took so long is because we really don't like being in front of the camera. I can't even tell you. It just gets so awkward you'll never see her. You never see us like doing selfies of each other. You never see that in Instagram or Facebook. It's just we love photographing and sharing other people's stories. You'll never see is sitting in the cameras for three days straight while they film probably never happen again, you know? But the only reason we are is because creativelive, I think, comes from the same spirit that we dio have they want to share. And so I think for us, we feel lucky that we've been able to be a part of it because I think we are all of the same heartbeat. So thank you. Creative life for having such an amazing platform. Um, what you bring to the world is, Yeah, you can't even say enough about it. So, you know, they said you need to do a video about yourself. So finally, I said, What are we gonna dio? It took us about four years. So again we go going back to what we preach. What we talk about is looking beyond the obvious share what you love and share a story. So for us, we thought, What is it that we love? We love food. We love food so much. So how about we do a spring roll? Video skating, you know, like are like something that we thought about food, but it didn't make sense for us. So again, we went back and thought, What's what's beyond the obvious? What is it that it's not so literal that we can share a little bit about us without having to talk to the camera? And we thought about Okay, We like we love recipes, you know, recipes air so great, because recipes help me cook for the very first time. It gave me a bullet point. All the things I needed to dio it gave me a stepping stone to one step to another to find they come up with a finished dish. So we decided to do a video called Life Recipes and ah, Life Recipe and coming up with a life recipe thinking about all the things and all the ingredients of in life that are important to us, just like with the recipe where your just combining different ingredients when you put them together it creates something delicious. One. This is kind of what we things that we put together just there make delicious. Yeah, we think about all the different emotions and details and facets and everything that makes life beautiful for us. So that's what we did in making this video called Life Recipe. And we encourage you to do the same thing. You know, because we're all food people here we loved eat so many of us right recipes about right a life recipe. Write down all the ingredients in life that are important to you. And these are like the bullet points in life that we go back to when we start bickering because we do will bicker. And there are times when I just get so frustrated. Want to give up on something? But I always go back to this video and it can get a kid. Reminds me what's important and it's not about money. It's not about a client that didn't pay me or disgruntled blogger or whatever it ISS. It's about everything that makes life beautiful. And this is what is our life. Why Teoh you x from me after this after they what do you in the what way? Uh, okay, so we want you to go share your story with the world. It's, um it's been an incredible honor to be here. I gotta tell you guys just, uh huh. But it's been really great honor, and, um and I can't even tell you would like 20 times the life I wanted to quit. And I think about that day with them. I really wanted to my own selfish way. Wanted to not Do you want a nice couple? That's to cry, baby. No, I get the message for all those of you who wanted to quit on the perfect example of somebody who didn't quit because I had somebody to support me and on I had quit. I think about all the beautiful things that I wouldn't lost out on and all the beautiful friends and friendships. And it's not just the opportunities guys, it's think people know anyway, be tough. It's just all amazing opportunities that come this way that I just feel like because of my own selfish way, and that I opened blame myself, that pot. If I if I was sometimes so it's stopping there that I have to walk away and he's a hair to be up to. Tell me, you know, don't quit, Okay? Was equally stubborn. We just balance it anyway. Just think. I wanted to thank you all for being here and spending your Saturday here way. Think that entire creative life team for being such amazing people to produce to work for and 1/2 months. I think that's how long it took just 4.5 months of back and forth and trying to figure out how to make this makes sense. Because first, we're like, Why do we want to do those people have done it already. You know? Is there anything that we can share? But thankfully, there, with their encouragement, support work we were able to build something out here. And I do. It's such a so grateful in such an honor to be here. Tell of you. Thank you for that. I have to answer this real quick. Everybody else who feel that video I have to tell you really quickly with wife. Wait, here's I don't need clinics. No more. Nowhere. But, um who filmed that? But it was us. You know, Rain will return and we want anybody Let anybody film that video. But I'll tell you, technically, we had just been on a tripod and we just started filming each other, and it just happened. So whether they're planning involved in this no, You know, this is probably our one of our favorite videos. And there was really no planning on, actually. Well, there there was one thing going into it, but it all went to pot way. It didn't happen what we thought. And that's so much like life. Yeah, you know, it was we live probably five minutes from our 10 minutes from the beach. It was a perfectly sunny day. We had this one vision of how our this video that we're gonna create was going to be when we get to the beach. And it was this cloudy, you know, marine layer overcast and, you know, just like life it sometimes what you expect isn't what it is. So much like life. It's like that. So I want to thank all of you. I mean, I can't even tell you how it's like you turn only grateful. So anyways, so thanks, guys.

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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!!!!

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