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Story on a Plate: Food Photography & Styling

with Todd Porter and Diane Cu

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  •   Trailer

  •   08 Documenting Food Stories

  •   11 Shoot: Cherries


Class duration: 15h 56m

See all 43 lessons
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    37 student reviews

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About The Class

Learn how to artfully photograph food.

Food styling photography isn’t just about taking a delicious image; it’s a way to tell a story about tastes, seasons, and aesthetics. Learn how to artfully capture that story in-camera and share your work with potential clients and collaborators.

In this course, you will learn how to craft a food story through images that are unique, intimate, and meaningful. Noted food photographers Todd Porter and Diane Cu will show you how to utilize natural light whether you are shooting at the table or in a restaurant. You’ll learn simple techniques for food styling that will keep your food fresh and believable on set. Todd and Diane will also share strategies for creating a thriving food photography business through their successful blend of online marketing and community building.

Whether you want to explore a new career in food photography or are seeking to improve your existing food styling skills, this course will arm you with the technical skills and industry knowledge you need to succeed.

Topics Covered

Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

  2. 02


  3. 03


  4. 04

    Hero Shots

  5. 05

    Motion in Restaurant

  6. 06


  7. 07

    Restaurant Details

  8. 08

    Documenting Food Stories

  9. 09

    Food Lighting Clock

  10. 10

    Lighting Q&A

  11. 11

    Shoot: Cherries

  12. 12

    Shoot: Dessert

  13. 13

    Shoot: Savory Fried Chicken

  14. 14

    Natural Food Styling

  15. 15

    Shoot: Styled Chili

  16. 16

    Shoot: Styled Salad

  17. 17

    Shoot: Fried Chicken with Multiple Dishes

  18. 18

    Shoot: Dessert with Multiple Dishes

  19. 19

    Styling Workflow Between Photographer and Stylist

  20. 20

    Shoot: Herb Still Life

  21. 21

    Capturing Food on Location Part 1

  22. 22

    Capturing Food on Location Part 2

  23. 23

    Photographing in Restaurants: Lighting

  24. 24

    Photographing in Restaurants: Plating

  25. 25

    Photographing in Restaurants: Motion & Portraiture

  26. 26

    Photographing in Restaurants: Hero Shots

  27. 27

    Photographing in Restaurants: Restaurant Detail

  28. 28

    Interview with Ethan Stowell

  29. 29

    Q&A with Ethan Stowell

  30. 30

    Expectations and File Distribution

  31. 31

    Final Delivery and Building Relationships

  32. 32

    Shoot: Multi Dish Dessert Part 1

  33. 33

    Shoot: Multi Dish Dessert Part 2

  34. 34

    Shoot: Fried Chicken with Drinks

  35. 35

    Shoot: Large Table Setting

  36. 36

    Shoot: Hand Model Holding a Pie

  37. 37

    Shoot: Bread Making Scene

  38. 38

    Shoot: Summer Tabletop Scene

  39. 39

    Starting a Food Photography Business

  40. 40

    Making a Living in Food Photography Part 1

  41. 41

    Making a Living in Food Photography Part 2

  42. 42

    Food Stories Through Moving Pictures

  43. 43

    Sharing Food Stories & Life


Meet Your Expert

Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Todd Porter and Diane Cu-Porter are professional photographers and filmmakers specializing in food, travel, lifestyle and they produce content for editorial, advertising and cookbooks. Their work has been seen in national advertising campaigns, magazines and newspapers for clients including Food ... read more

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Bonus Material

Access your course materials here!

Get access to exclusive bonus content when you purchase this class.

  • pdf Gear Guide
  • pdf Places to shop for Food Styling Props
  • pdf Syllabus

86% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Creativelive Student

    June 2014

    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...

  • ValeriaArdiyants


    November 2016

    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

    April 2018

    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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