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Shoot: Multi Dish Dessert Part 1

Lesson 32 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Shoot: Multi Dish Dessert Part 1

Lesson 32 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

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Lesson Info

32. Shoot: Multi Dish Dessert Part 1


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction






Hero Shots


Motion in Restaurant




Restaurant Details


Lesson Info

Shoot: Multi Dish Dessert Part 1

Going to focus on community at a table because I think that's where food love for todd and I started it wasn't in the individual cherry or the individual cell that it was about gatherings and bringing people together and eating and sharing together because I mean what's the best part about food, right? It's when you're sharing or someone sometimes is sharing with someone who's, not even there it's like you're making remembrance of someone but it's always that sense of home, that emotion that we get from we've shared meals with people, you know, you can spend five hours having a conversation with someone, and you might get to know them a little bit, but it just if you spend just a meal with someone alison, it feels like you just know them so much better you connect with them so much more. So that's what we love, yeah, that's, where I think our love of the big scenes and photography started because we always have gatherings always have family over, and just so everybody coming together a...

nd just eating just throwing any type of potluck food, you have your own dishes and just, you know, cut, documenting that scene, we're gonna focus on that today and because for us it's about sharing, so when we could talk about these things, we call them sharing scenes or food community and those air just about eating together and all the social moments of food because food is so very social, too and that's part of the story because we want to always show that food is social with whether it be just two people like you, maybe a new date or with your family and friends or ah, holiday gathering or an old couple having a meal together, we're through eighteen years, we start calling each other over so that's what we're gonna focus on later att the end of the segment one today, but what we're going to start is by photographing some requests that some people have assured with us about challenges, and so we we're very lucky we talked to our producers asked if we could squeeze into other different topics in just because we thought it was important to cover two and the time that we have, we're going to cover cake and we're going to cover the famous four day old fried chicken because we want to talk for breakfast on so shooting deserts and cakes can be a challenging we know, particularly for height. So in this lesson, we're goingto really be bringing in that discussion of height, shooting high dishes with some low dishes, so go and come on and we're going to set this up and todd's already kind of thought about the light and what he's going to dio we still made tweak a bit yeah, we're still made tweak a bit so right now just you know, looking at the way the light coming in we're going to use just a kind of a touch of backlight coming around the side um I'm a tweak it as we get everything lined up a little bit more but again we have this issue of fight how do you do with it? I just have a table and my wall is really ugly you get a lot of business and stuff behind, so the thing that we do a lot is we just use a board and you don't even have to have any fancy stand or anything to sit on a lot of times we'll just set it on a chair works great, it becomes basically that home easy stand so in this case we have these white boards which we worked great as a surface same thing it also works great as a background it's fantastic we love anything that can be used as a base could be used as a background to and we're showing I'm you know we have access to all of these great tools and years like we have a c stand and the clams and we'll use them when we need to but I think you know in our scenario and teaching here we want to show you simple, easy, trix and what we use so for a lot of these background holders will use a good solve the chair and in this case it works and it works great and talking back about bases in terms of setting up the styling for this sometimes you don't always have, you know, space to store a bunch of old rusty, would you no linens and table claws work justus? Well, so don't forget that these air wonderful textures so what? I'm buying something that I can use as both a linen or as a base texture of gonna grab it and that's why I felt so lucky I found these two for five dollars amazing e dollars I mean you for ninety nine years is a bargain clean queen, you know, like some people kind of like maybe silently brag about how much they spend for something she's like very vocally bragging about how cheap she get something so shop something like ten years later, I got this for two dollars I have a whole collection of dishes, and when my friends move into a new apartment or they move house I stock there fridge stocked the fridge stocked their cabinets with much additions that I find so I'm looking at laying the base here because I wanted the scene in the mood and story to be just something bright and fresh you know let's not start with dark let's start the morning great with something really wonderful like a kick party you know, maybe a sunday brunch or something like that with fresh fruit so I've laid this base and you know everything about this linen is really great cause not only doesn't have texture it's got the lines running vertical from me and it's also got the great tassels on the end so there's so much potential and this london when I work with it and I think sometimes what I'll do is to break it up a bit I cannot I'll use a second one to cross to bring a little bit more texture into it too so you can already see that this has already adalat attention and then it's adds so much more interest to the base so sometimes if you have a linen that doesn't have a lot of texture interest you could maybe use two or three and fold and cross them to create a little bit more movement texture in it but in this case you know I might you know I'll go ahead and use both just play with it see I can't decide well, maybe I won't I can't decide um let's start with not okay so this is what we do said he has to put up with me for a little bit maybe yes, maybe no so with the cake I'm we've already cut the cake already so we really we've already decided that camera front is going to be pretty much cutting through shooting through the cake and highlighting the berries were heading eso again this conversation we're always gonna have between ourselves with especially when we have two pieces of the same thing it's like do we want we have to choose a hero anytime we're shooting it's like you're always choosing hero so sometimes the hero is a particular piece within the dish so you know, we talked about it like we had our hero beans like when we did the chili the other day so in this case we have a cake with two pieces like do we want the cake to be the hero? What do you want the one two slices of the cake sorry when the slices duty here or you want the full cake to be the hero? I think I've decided I want the case to be the hero because it's so pretty it's got so much more interesting it's got that stack of berries that I worked on this morning already spoken to shoot that one so the idea is deciding where camera front is going to be you know is going to be directly into the cut which feels very awkward because what you're going to see is the cake just going like this so having it natural and maybe turning it a little bit this way to where he could still get the edge of the cake and getting the chocolate sprinkles that are underneath so you see what we're looking we're always looking down too and looking up to see where the best angle will be and based on that I'm going to make sure the hero side is gonna be camorra front so always making sure you're moving up and down to look so I think let's go low on this one let's go low and then because there's awesome chocolate sprinkles I love a lot of like the the wedge and the and the how the frosting is not perfectly smooth there's a little bit of layer going on up front here. Did you wanna incorporate one of the slices of cake wall? We shoot? Yeah, we're gonna go ahead and add both pieces of cake, so I'm gonna make that a hero. So when she tells me that I know it's like I'm basically gonna shoot through one of the peekaboo shots I'm going to shoot through no one of my ideas initially I'm gonna shoot through one of these slices of cake to get to our hero, so we're going to have one of slices in the foreground, so that also means I need to shoot more or less low if I want to kind of have the school separation between them s o as she's setting it, I'm going to be looking around seeing how the light is falling on the cake. I might make adjustments to see how the light is falling in within the cut, because if it's all in shadow sometimes and maybe too dark other times we mayfield to do it in there's ways that we're going to kind of move and tweak it, I'm also as I'm down, I'm looking to see how lights reflecting off the top of our icing because again catching those services, how much of a glimmer do we want it? If there's no reflection, then also will seem very rich, too, so just trying to find that right balance between the two and if since he's going to go low, we know that he's going to try to get the height of this cake and in styling, I know that sometimes there can be a challenge, particularly when you have a subject that's really high and you want to add another subjects that subject that super low there's such a big separation between the top of the bottom. So in this case, I'm going to add a third piece of cake, but rather than having it lay down, I'm gonna have it set up to give that middle layer or middle height so that way it it it helps break up the bear middle space in it. And because really the all the interest is up here and the interest is down here and there's not gonna be a lot going on in the middle, so I'm gonna go ahead and add a slice of cake here tto add that middle height, you know, and I'm turning it because I'm trying to find out what I want to highlight to what do I want to highlight the chocolate sprinkles? Or do I want to highlight the layer? Well, it depends on the cake. Some subjects have wonderful texture right through the centre. If it was like a rainbow cake or layered cake with chocolate and white icing, I would probably have a face camera front, but in this case, I probably want to highlight it it's not all that interesting and because it's dark, I don't want it to look like a black mass right there, so see, I'm turning it, and if you can see how the light falls on the face of the slice so that's where I'm always going to be looking, so always be even as a stylist to and photograph are always be cautious of that, particularly with dark subjects. So we specifically chose this chocolate cake because of all these factors we wanted to show you all the challenges that you would come across when you're shooting. I kind of see what's going on okay and then you know like tough I'm gonna place one in front to blur but I want to get out of the way okay? And so get used to this and while he's shooting molly standing behind to see if there's any changes that I can make my enders in terms of styling and separation but I could tell already I feel like this might be to front you know it might be too flat so before I make that change I want to take a look at it and then I'm like I can tell already there's just not a lot of balance between berries there's way too much berries here and absolutely no berries here so I'm going to go ahead and maybe add more berries um and I got blueberries and strawberries and as I'm looking I'm looking down again and I realize that I don't know if we can see the strawberry front you think we could hear you see that there's a missile like was you was your focus on here wondering if I should change this obit and um and then I'm looking here again and then I noticed that I just realized I put the hero blackberries in the back because you see this I'm not black where the blue bear you see this blueberry I just noticed it's got this cute little stem it's okay? You is it gonna bother you if I put this? Tell me now coming out, it's great. Okay, you gotta tell me right now you're gonna tell him it's? Actually, I'm gonna move that up front here. So let me make some changes here real quick. Oh, wow, that looks pretty good. That looks not bad for a first shot. Yeah, that looks pretty good. So let me make this change real quick here. It doesn't suck. Yeah, I stood at the test shot here. Can you move your very bowls? That's actually, not bad, but I noticed already. Can you see that we have this separation here on the base. You might help that's just the slot of the board. Yep, ongoing, actually do that. So okay, not only think of especially when you're doing with the the subject and we started doing the backgrounds you have started thinking about the backgrounds as well. So with this one it's like you have something like this where they have the lines in them, you want to see where they're falling within the frame to see if it becomes distracting or not. So with this one, actually, I feel like if I pushed the boards back further, it'll maybe lay within the frame because this is about the angle that I want but we can slide this back we don't have to have it up against it a lot of times were actually liketo have that nice separation between the table or surface in our background it just kind of makes the background become just that you want to fall off into the background you don't necessarily need it like straight smacked on top of the dishes it looks good so looking here I feel like it's a little too bright you know I look and that's why we keep moving around to look at the screen to see because we want to make sure those of you at home are seeing what we're seeing on your screen so because this um screen is a little bright I'm going to assume that what they're seeing is going to be a little brighter darkling but yeah darken it a bit so right now there's a huge dark spot in the middle of that cake you see that but we're going to resolve that issue later you've got to get exposure for the rest of the frame first and then with that we can always fill into that cake or if we need to sometimes we'll work it in post so there's some issues where we have to just brush in light room to make make it brighter particularly with dark subjects what's over this is looking good I'm not liking you know this ed showing here with the bear cake base I'd rather show it with the frosted tops I'm going to make that change I'm going to make that change and I'm gonna have the blueberries last I'm going to make that change going to see that and then sew while she's working on that I'm also looking to see how all these lineup because the only problem when you start separating the background from the table sometimes one is lying in one direction and the other is just a little tweaked and so you kind of feel like the backgrounds leaning or falling off if it's a enough where it looks intentional a lot of times it looks good, but when it's just a little bit off it just there's a little bit sloppy okay, so made some changes I turned the right piece of cake counterclockwise a little bit more because I feel like it was just two faced friend to see a little bit more the back edge and then I changed oh, I can see something we're not gonna be sorry I want to see the corner of this cake with wanting me the crumb of that. No, I can't let the so that right now I'm seeing within camera I see just all frosting do you want to see any of the cake itself? Just tweak it just a little bit now you have to do much what did you shoot let me see what you see and we all say that too sometimes he's talking to me and I'm not understanding what he sees though I always say just give me a shot and show me what you see because what he sees is different from what I see so we always try to be aligned and not go back and forth in terms of trying to communicate a re explain because it could go on forever on set so we just give me a shot uh now I understand what you're saying and so with that I can tell already that I'm probably going to I need to add berries yeah see that's better so looking at the right side of the cake I like that a little bit better because it seems to have a lot more interest to me you see the crumb the slice of the cake you can see the back edge with the frosting and the chocolate sprinkles I'm kind of liking the front piece too because I could see a little bit more of the texture of the cake and know that it's a sprinkle cake and then I want to walk over on this side just to check exposure to make sure everybody at home is kind of seeing what we see consistently so that was a big contrast between the two could be doing do you want to lighten up the top a little bit I don't know, I kind of like that depends what sort of fill you and that's gonna be a creative question. We go back and forth a lot and sometimes we think, you know, is it too bright right now? I'm not thinking it's too bright on top just because I'm trying to go for that bright, airy look, um, something fresh I want something to feel like there's morning light, you know, shining through window for this cake so let's, start with there, okay? Let's, let's fill because I'm already liking the shadow right here underneath on to the left of the cake plate, but I don't want it to be too shadowy. I just feel like I wantto consult for that. I don't wantto distracting um, shadow on there. So let me go ahead and let's try to fill under. Could we bring out the color of the read a little bit more? I'm thinking that I'm not seeing red, you know, I'm seeing pink and I want to see red, so maybe we can work this a little bit more and if we can so instead of that that's actually used the screams. Yeah, so? So we're thinking about a couple things, so before you move on, I can already identify the fact that that linen isn't as red it looks pink so some people will just go with it um and just say ok it's a pickle in and I'm fine with that but let's pretend this is a linen client and that's their lenin and they need to make sure that linen is red so we're gonna work on that um we could easily just say that's a pink linen but let's focus on that and so todd's got a couple screams but I'm already testing to see already that if I just defuse the base little bit I can hopefully recover some of the red color back so that's gonna be one challenge we're working on sometimes it could take a long time sometimes it could be really quick so we're just gonna try to get some of it back for the sake and this is ah great scream that we buy at the photo store and allows us to be able to defuse light a little bit more and this tool comes in a lot of different variations in terms of stop somewhere a lot more dense you need to defuse a lot more and some are a lot more like thin so that it doesn't diffuse a lot of just diffuses a little bit so this is going to be one way that todd can hopefully recover some of that red so these are great too and if you don't have a camera shop around you which you can get these from there not very expensive I think they're usually thirty five maybe forty dollars you could also make the same sort of thing just using like your screen that you have for windows get him at the hardware stores usually think ten bucks yourself can make your own very, very easily yeah, people will make these frames out of chicken wire same thing um I bought this just little old me window screen at the home improvement stores you know that worked really well to the hardware store dollars hardware stores so let me see I think that helps I seeing a little more red little brightness drop explosion a bit more yeah, I still want to get that red back and that's one of the fun things about shooting the natural light thanks, mike that's great being able to see to it's awesome. Yeah, you see you see the difference already thanks my best you see, you saw what he did, you were able to see that that color start to come back so we're going to keep nurturing this now here's something else the sun just came out war you know that god that's one of the fun things shooting naturally it's particularly some days you're gonna have you have some days which you have clouds come in and then you have the sun coming so even here where we have a nice diffused light um that's still got affected because you're still using natural light and so are you they outside it's still increasing like dropping off in light, so you just have to keep adjusting exposure just kind of roll with the punches with it it's no big deal just you can use the meeting within your camera to help you understand like words falling where it's dropping to see how much the camera is picking up that difference um when we're using the meeting within the camera to a lot of people think it's like, oh, I need to have it so it's lined up directly in the middle? Not necessarily a lot of times you want it a little bit brighter, little bit darker, the cameras just giving its best guests and now you're taking control and deciding it's like no, I want my exposure brighter I want my exposure darker so then on days like this, just pay attention to where that that when you got in the shot that you like initially and then as the sun moves and drops just no that's like, oh I like three lines to the right is like where I'm shooting today or where I'm seeing for this frame, so when that sun comes in, you just have to just keep adjusting my exposure to more or less keep it within that range keeps you close so I think we're gonna work backwards right now because the sun keeps changing and I think this is a really good variable tohave because wonderful seattle has clouds and that way we don't always have in l a so it's a it's a it's a good thing so let's work backwards let's wait to get exposure till we're ready to shoot the final here let's work on the composition so that's what we'll do if we have days like that word it's just fluctuating so fast there's no reason to try to perfect exposure now work the frame at the berries and then have it change again so we're gonna work backwards so my client here what would you like me to change? I know for sure we want to probably had more berries. Yeah, yes I'm probably gonna have more berries. Yes, I was thinking the shot almost looks like a party like you're just starting to serve the cake so maybe forks on the or for a fork on one of the plates that looks like it's kind of get ready to be in like that idea parties I would do it, but let's do. But actually was the one person that I mentioned a party, why don't we make it a party now that you said that, why don't we make it feel like it's a party with everything we have here let's make it a desert party and that way I don't feel like I need to fill it with utensil so much because that's so that's um that's always the default you put a fork, you but I probably will at a fork in but now that you said party, how about I add more stuff in? You want to know? Yeah, why don't we add a little fume or elements and to make it feel like a party until they cool with that? So so all these changes happen all the time sometimes when we're getting creative and we have people on set well, have fun with it and, you know add things take things out, but let's, let's make a party out of this. I have cookies don't let your momma know I actually happen to have a stack of cooking so that's perfect and I have a four day old raspberry tart that's missing it's mental raspberry make you put a cherry on top oh that's, cute that's also because you're here I take the raspberry offered other things, so they're that so that's taken care of let's do cookies to let's do cookie so it's not just about the cake, but the cake is kind of so dark let's do that, okay, so let's play with that so in arranging the cookies I want to do I want to make sure I could see the front of the cookies but have some type of layering so I'm just going to stagger them a bit I love the crumbs on here when I make sure that I can see the texture of the net cooking in front going down so now that I have that I'm probably gonna move that up a little bit more he's making adjustments to see always looking at the last dish you know I don't want a place just so perfectly aligned with each other I wantto arrange them toward they would still be naturally staggered okay I think I'm liking that lets out a few berries in franchise tow brake um just to bring more interest to the chocolate cake that has so much black on it so if that's the case here would add maybe a when I add a few want to acquire oh my god did you see the sun just change probably changed like three stops just right now see what I mean let's work backwards so if you want to like why would just adding some berries australia I've more to the cake already have like this big massive cake wise I automatically being john there a lot of times particularly because we're shooting color color is what is going teo visually draw you into particular area so in this case we have the chocolate cake now much color to chocolate we got brown and brown and then we have, you know, same thing our cookies you know, we have actually a very vibrant color going in that little raspberry tart so that could start to draw your eye into the target more than the cake so it was by adding in those little pops of color just increasing those little pops of color it kind of helps draw your eye back to the cake what I'm putting strawberries I'm just putting it on the side I just want to let people know that it's actually not a strawberry cake it's a chocolate cake with, um some berries on top so that's why I'm not going to just thought the whole cake with barry's I just want to like it lay it really supernatural toe let everybody know he's me that it comes with berries on the side and that because their son is changing let's perfect this and we'll just wait for the sun to be consistent award once we've decided we're just going to shoot it and expose it to the light of this at that time so I'm liking it let's get a shot? Yes, a little riverside question yes about the cookies since we're waiting for that life's er if you just had cookies, what would you do with that? I mean, I feel like it's a flat item so what do you normally do with cookies I'm I usually stack them you know it's a couple different ways you know you're going to shoot it at an angle so I'm gonna ask you are you shooting an angle or top down that's a top down you don't really need height so you could just lay them all out add texture to put crumbs on it break a couple of in half or in quarters at some milk on it you know you could maybe um style it on a couple different plates s o that's more of a texture issue that you have to deal with with the top down to highlight the texture of the cookie so placement and shape is more important if you're shooting on an angle you're gonna have to do with height because they are so flat so shooting on an angle I knew this was going to be an angle so what I did was I stacked them a little bit and I stagger them so if it's a couple different cookies ito's don't always have to be stacked straight up on top I placed one on the side a little bit and add a couple more in front just add fullness and to show that there's just um not just one cookie that you can see from the side so oh it's dark room and just display with it okay no to budget for things like that about me that we actually shot a cookie book so I could tell you after you go through that book because I went through that issue I think it was forty five different cookie shots that had to do that you had to shoot a different ways there we go and the sun just changed again from light to dark I'm rotating the cakes to seabiscuit how since we have the general light sigh or the general angle light that we liked for the scene itself but now we've course we have the issue of the interior, the cake size I'm just writing to see how the light is falling in different angles and then also how it looks looking into this life so you can't have a couple variables they have to play within just the balance the way that you feel is best for the framing we have of course the option of filling in so we can fill in this area is a little bit too, which will deal with as we get a little closer to our final let's get our first initial angles that we liked the best, but as we're going along we're still kind of keep tweaking and finding finding what we like best free shot I'm liking this composition I think it looks great now the key is just billy into the center of the cake a little bit more yeah we'll need to fill in this we'll see how much we look into it see what looks good in the frame but because we have a lot of light objects too so we can't try to feel too much inside of the cake and blow everything else out so yeah, it was that cute and another thing with the cookie see how this helps bring jai to the cookies todd shooting really low so I mean if you shoot two or three cookie staffed if you're standing like at normal height on top looking down it's gonna look flat so try to bring yourself lower to make the cookies look higher so that has a lot to do with your camera angle tuned body positioning and seeing how high because you notice how low todd would then you can see more than cookie here so now composition I think it looks fun but cute any changes before we work in exposure no someone like I'm thinking three to what? Okay, no more let's go to get exposure it's changing it'll change as we go so I don't do that client to do lindsay eight by six can you go overboard? Actually start feeling yeah, well, you know we have boards to fill it, but I'm going to show you different things that you can use, you know that could possibly fill in you can see if if it's a subject that you could have a bounce clothes, anything that's white white linen I'm using a white paper plate it's the same thing as like a white foam core bored you see the light that it emits into that cake already just by doing that question why white right was like why can't you just use anything one mr whatever your bouncing off of that's going to reflect that same color back into your object? So if you're using something blue, you're actually gonna reflect some blue and blue coloring into into the the image. So miss k's white sis nice is clean it's neutral it also the second thing you look at is how shiny is a surface that I am using. So if it's a piece of glass, the photo paper it's actually going to reflect more than if you're using just a regular piece of flat paper so the more shiny it is, the more reflection you get o r them out more bounce so you get into it and then you can then begin to control it. How close or how far away using just that saying whatever you have on hand if you have something super signing and using it right here is like, oh that's to much just move it away a little bit I have to put the fork in because somebody requested a fork I don't forget think of working that stick a fork in it so I'm gonna look and see I think what I'm going to place the fork is right here so we can see in the fun went a place it right here having to handle stick out to camera front blur a little bit just to get to give bring a little bit more depth and layering into the photo so let's see if I can get this on the first try right here hey tweezers real quick here you know that I'm going to care I want to bring the piece of cake a little closer to the cliff to the fork ok a little closer I can tell already that I want to add a little bit of crumb I don't know if I'm going to be able to see the crown but just in case I'm going to go ahead and add a little bit of crumb I'm gonna break apart some crumbs my tweezers because some people do like crumbs and some don't you'd be surprised sometimes on said there's always a debate there's a straight divide half like scrum half dozen so what do we do? We shoot it with a chrome issue do we shoot it with that? We shoot it with the crumb but in this case I'm assuming we all like from we don't like a little bit of mess because we're trying to make it authentic and real and if you do come it's, usually best to if you do the two, do you have it with no come first, due from second? Because it is easier to and that is to take away? Um, I have to shoot you now, and I'm just trying to seo trying to see if I can get close enough to fill in with that's going into its frame, or if it's gonna have to be done in post, actually, if we're coming in from this side here, we're fine. Somebody's coming in from paris, so lets so we're just gonna take a walk on the exposure right now start feeling that way, because as soon as the sun shifts, we're gonna have to start all over again, so I'm goingto move it going, let go and then I'm gonna have you grab it for staying with it and then let's, maybe go about here still looking boy gets so bright, I think it's gonna be bright for the next three minutes, but you never know. With so much cloud cover coming on, I'm going to stand over here just to see exposure on this end a little bit more and it's hard to see the screen, too, because we have so much light coming through, but since yes so diana todd I had a great question come in while we're waiting for the light as well for those people who might not have been with us for the past two days flavor of italy has asked any chance you could go over the light clock again capturing light is so key and that seems really fundamental so not the slide or anything obviously but if you could just mention again what that is for people that would be awesome so you know the direction of light really really effects and changes not only composition and mood so how we approach a shot is understanding how each direction of light changes the mood of a photo so how we started on day one was talking about moving around the subject and treating the light source as if it were a clock like per hour so in reference and relative in reference to where you are with the subject so in basically where we are if todd's the photographer the cake is the subject we look at the light direction based on the clock so if the light's coming at this angle it's basically about a two o'clock so chloe can teo where they each of those subjects were out within the within the clock the photographers at six o'clock the subject is in the center of the clock and then the light direction is wherever it's coming in you can also just refer to backlight skylight you know like for like a million from the foreground so a straight twelve o'clock would be something about like this where I'm here six o'clock the subject is in the center of the clock and then the light direction is twelve o'clock or backlight so this is an example of what backlight does you have just the light coming directly towards you and you'll see it's when you catch a lot of you a lot of bright highlights you have glare coming across the back the shadows are falling directly towards the camera which is not a battle it is pretty she's a good twelve o'clock girl he likes her backlight, then a psych sidelight. So now I'm here about now the light's coming in from the angle so in reference to me it's coming in about three o'clock or sidelight or silas I'd like some people don't understand the clock so just think of it as a sidelight and the same subject just dramatically change just by moving a few feet around it so by moving around you can see how much of subject can change and how much the light changes and relative to photographer subject and light source so we always use the clock as easy way to kind of understand where the light is coming from but some people will just call it back light side lighter front light so I hope that helps right, so now I think we're ready to get up, get back to composition, to framing this's direction we like now we gotta work on working on filling the cake in the center, and then this is a case because we have I'm going to yeah, sure, go ahead, but I forgot I am I am thinking about a tryingto like analyzed see if the light's going to change still a little closer, so sometimes you're basically feeling just outside the frame it's, like you're right, I've just outside wherever the camera's not picking up the balance and again, this is chocolate cake to sew for me. I don't have too much issue with you being a little bit doctor in the middle, I think that's going to be natural, you don't need to fill you want to be an extraordinary amount. You get the fork too, you know, this was just the example. This wasn't our and again, if it's so dark, because there's not much interest inside the cake anyway. It's just pure chocolate cake, we're probably gonna have to work on it in post.

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