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Shoot: Styled Salad

Lesson 16 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Shoot: Styled Salad

Lesson 16 from: Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

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Lesson Info

16. Shoot: Styled Salad


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction






Hero Shots


Motion in Restaurant




Restaurant Details


Lesson Info

Shoot: Styled Salad

So what is this? Pappas, Alan, real quick. Before we go on, let's shoot on a chair. So many people think about textures only being tabletops. Tile tile is a great surface to that we get from home improvement stores. A lot of tile store shoot on did a good job. You know, it's only, you know, for $4 for a square of tile, shoot a ton on tile, we're gonna shoot on this chair, so I'm gonna I only have one dish, but I'm going to say I'm gonna do a stand in here. First of all, we're gonna make it very lifestyle that Todd can catch. I'm looking here like I love. Okay, I'm looking at detail. Not here to shoot this. If I had a bigger background propped, I could probably maybe, actually, maybe we can. Let's go. Let's go detailed on this. How about that thing is how we do it. This'll way. We're pulling things around all time. Sometimes we don't always. We don't have C stands at home. So this is our kitchen like dog. Can you stand here for a sec? So here we go. I mean, this is a great scene right h...

ere looking at this table. The tax, It looks awesome. So I've already decided when do a salad? I chose a rubella, and I chose it because it has a lot of texture. I'm building it high. And the salad? I've added a little bit of rotter, so I wanted to add a radish on the side, but I didn't want to slice it up. I just thought It's just so beautiful the way it is. Why don't we keep it as a whole shape to plate this? I've chose the radish with the really thin leaves. And again, this tale is just so amazing to check it out. I mean, it's just so cute. How can you not love this radish hero? Don't eat it. Okay, guys, but its so cute. I just want to know what I think is gonna be here around us. That's awesome. Okay, so Todd knows that's the focal point. Because it's like a radish. Sell it, or a salad with a side of radish. I'm gonna add some more stuff, but let's keep it simple for a minute, and then I'm gonna, um, go ahead and add a little more layer and how they can do so much. What you want me to dio. How about we do some herbs? Um oh, I bought this to show you herbs. Always keeping them fresh love buying plans, especially if you have a shoot that last three days. Buying This is awesome because they can. They're so super tender leaves or small. The texture is great. These are always my favorite to buy when I need herbs. If I can't get him for my garden in the summer and it's more too early in the season or too late in the season, I'll always bite. Plant on set so on. Say, we'll always have time plants and everything will go to the home improvement store where the local nursery and just buy a ton of herbs plants. How about we stick this back? There? Would not be kind of cool. Yeah, stick some of these there Can't decide. You guys have to tell me what? Oh my God. Cute. That s OK. Ok. Do you want me to use Which one? Where's maritime? You guys Isn't that pretty? Super pretty. See tonight through something of a map, just like that? It's not complicated. Okay? Oh, my gosh, that's so pretty. So we want to draw your eye to the back like writers who know a really good book. A really good story has a beginning, middle and an end. And that's what I was always taught when I was at school. When you write a story, you should have a beginning, middle and end. Same thing with a photograph. Ah, photograph has the beginning, middle and end the different layers within an image. So in this image we have a beginning, which is this blurred tabletop. So there's always now we're thinking in three layers as we're building, as as we're styling, because a great photo also has a beginning, middle and end, just like any story. So Todd knows he shot a shallow to me the first layers. That's blur, which is something that you don't realize, Um, the Blur at so much value, because if you were to make it all sharp, it would be feel very one dimensional. But because he shot at shallow and blurred this out, it adds a little bit more depth to the Frank. So now I have my beginning. This is my middle now I'm gonna bring an end to the frame, help you draw the eye back. So that way, this photo has the three layers were talking about beginning, middle and end. That's how we're breaking it up now. So when you go to a magazine that you love so much, you're gonna know Hey, I know that's two o'clock light bam! Okay, I can see the beginning middle and end on that angle shot because Hot and I talked about it. It's like a well written story beginning middle on that I could finish it just like that, and it's simple, But let's say I want to add 1/3 layer in the back. Just it helps extend the I to the back of the frame. Everybody's gonna buy chair now and look at that soft light on. Isn't it just fabulous, that delicate little back line on up? Here we go. So when a shift, because it's too much to center. So let me make an adjustment back here, but to me, that's a finish from because it still allows you to know there's something back there, blur, garnish or something. But you know it's a personal decision. But as long as I feel like there's two layers and somehow because it makes the frame feel more two dimensional. See, do you shoot a little more top down so I could see my radish. And I like that little ratted. That little lettuce like folding out? That's OK. You know, Don't feel like it has to be all contained in the vessel. That's okay. That's okay. Yeah. Okay. So I wanna have what I'm gonna That's something different. That's great. I think I like the other angle better. So let's go back. Okay. So then I had another right in front here. Gets in between us for a little texture just to show a little over something like that. And then in the bag I could always out of the dressing. I can always add a drink or something like that. April's falling apart, but yeah, they can just continue adding, but I'm happy with this, You know? What do you know when you're happy? Because I think it's pretty not gonna You know, I can eyes at other things later, but Felix rates he had a little bit of texture. Adds to that. He just straighten it up. No. What did I say something funny? Say something mean. It was just your very blunt direction, Teoh. There we go. So it's gonna be a straighter Okay, Okay. Not done yet. Okay, Last thing. I promise. It's not perfect yet. The radishes feeling a little dry. Okay, I have my spritzer bottle. I have my bowl of bottle. A bowl of water oil. Ready? Here we go. I feel like this radish doesn't look fully fresh yet. I feel like it doesn't look like it truly came from the farmers market because I paid 20 bucks for it at the farmers market. Just there we go. And then having those a little bit of touches after it's all in the end, you see? And you know, how long can we work this frame? We can work this rain for another 20 minutes. But do you want to, You know, see, you move away a bit today. You see how that glisten Now, machine. Just that little bit of bam. It went from dry to fresh. I feel like that in itself Just changed the frame. And then I think we're ready for print. That one you just mentioned you couldn't keep working on an image forever and ever. But do you have a mental checklist of the things that you go over to make sure these like key elements are right? That you kind of look at the frame and say, OK, I've got the lighting right. I've got the this and that is that kind of like a top few things that make sure you've got Yeah, I think there's a bunch of things because we've been shooting for something and just you just know by feeling it's just like when you cook like some people don't measure. They just know by taste and same thing within an image we kind of know by taste. So for us, it's always lightings visual taste, your visual taste. So we know by lighting, texture, eyes the hero still there. Did we lose the hero? Sometimes were adding so many things in the frame. We're awaiting that. What was the hero? So we supposed to shoot? That's actually a big part of it, is the first thing as you try to look at it with biscuit open mind and look as if you're looking out for the first time and find where you're drawn into the image. It's like, Are you drawn into your hero? Or do you feel like when you look at the image, you're not sure where your eye is? Landing words finishing and that happens a lot. It's like you. Sometimes you work so hard on building out the props or the different parts of the dishes or everything. It's like you kind of have lost where you're here was gonna be. So I think that's the biggest thing is that you find that your John immediately to the hero. And then the second part is, does this give the feel that I want? And so and that will be through the combination of everything? There's the field through delighting through the propping, and you start to narrow down where you can make a change If it's not there, yeah, can you shoot it warmer time. I just feel if we have time, I feel like it's a distraction. Now this tail is a little distracting. That's not gonna tail. I'm sorry. I just felt like it was crossing the frame a little too much. And I feel like that, I think. Is it you? Are you sure you use annoying to you guys. Then why don't you see? Oh, you were so funny. Oh, don't be afraid to hurt my feelings. Okay? Wait. It's all love. It is It's all I'm so falling on. The people I care about should tell me that At least we all agree, right? Just like your client about it. So I feel like that's gonna feel better, cause that Taylor gets a little annoying a little better, okay?

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