Those of you who’ve followed me on Instagram for a while will know I’ve been on a photography journey. Eight months ago I had an epiphany of sorts – I love taking pictures of food, and I want to get paid to do it. Turns out it’s pretty tricky, so I’ve spent all my free time (and available funds!) learning how to improve.
Since I know so many people are in the same boat as I was 6-8 months ago, I thought I’d share all the resources I’ve been using to learn food photography – from the free to the pricey (but worth it!).
Learning Photography on Youtube
There are so many talented food photographers creating educational content on YouTube. I have however found a few favourites over the last year or so.
Joanie Simon from The Bite Shot creates the most helpful and niche specific videos I’ve found so far. Another go-to for me is Lauren Caris Short; one of my favourite videos from Lauren is her video on which lenses to use for food photography. Skylar from We Eat Together‘s channel has more of a tech focus. Brandon from figandlight had shared some amazing videos on artificial light. He has a wonderful eye for food and is a brilliant teacher.
There’s plenty of non-food photographers who I’ve learned a lot from including; Chris Hau, Lizzie Peirce, Peter Mckinnon, Nigel Danson, Becki and Chris, Eric Floberg and Mango Street. There’s something to be said for being inspired by people or things outside of your wheelhouse. I think it helps you keep a good perspective and an open mind.
If you’re hoping to get into restaurant photography, you will need a broader knowledge base than with studio food photography. I’ve found learning about interiors, lifestyle photography and portraiture on YouTube an absolute lifesaver! Becki’s video on shooting HDR photos changed the game for my restaurant interior shots, as well as Eric’s video and Mango’s Street’s 5 tips for shooting interiors.
Food Bloggers and Photographers on Instagram
Moriah Brooke is one of my favourite photographers on Instagram. Not only is her work beautiful, but her discussions about creativity and her Q&As about business are informative and uplifting. Moriah’s site is full of practical and creative advice for food photographers – with a particular focus on the business side of photography.
Sharon from WhiskfullySo has been sharing some great content on her blog for fellow food photographers. A quick scan through the resources section on her blog shows everything from budget equipment to styling how-tos. She’s also got some really interesting posts about videography – a topic I’m very keen to learn more about!
Kyleigh from Barley and Sage has so many helpful resources on her blog for both food photographers and food bloggers. All her advice is careful and well researched and her rants about not working for free are something every new photographer needs to hear. I highly recommend you read her blogs on contacts, rates and copyright. So helpful!
Food Photography E-Books
This was kind of a no-brainer purchase for me – drinks photography is one of my weaknesses and is something I’m working hard to improve. The e-book is $27 and worth every penny. A simple 50-page guide to the ins and outs of drinks styling – this book covers everything you need to know about photography beautiful cocktails.
I would suggest it’s not for beginners because you need to have basic knowledge of composition, shooting in manual mode and understanding light to best apply to the advice shared. It’s perfect for those, who like me, have been photographing lots of food but feel let down by their drink photography. Rachel’s e-books come highly recommended. She also has a ton of free resources on her website including guides on composition, Photoshop and Lightroom.
At the start of the big C! I bought a years subscription to Skillshare in the hopes of utilising my time productively. Whilst there were a few all-day pyjama days I did manage to learn a few useful skills during the quietest months. I found Skillshare particularly good for editing tips, and whilst it’s not a free resource like YouTube it was less overwhelming to search through.
Food Photography Courses
The original Foodtography School will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the course that kickstarted my food photography journey. I originally bought the course at the end of 2018 after Gem from The Mother Cooker recommended it to me. Life ended up getting too busy, as it too often does, and I didn’t make my way through the course properly until autumn last year.
It’s an excellent course for beginners who are looking to shoot in manual mode for the first time and goes through all the steps needs to take great food photos in natural light. As much as I love my flash, I would recommend starting with natural light if you’re a beginner, and moving onto artificial light once you’re confident with your camera. My absolute favourite parts of the course are the live styling videos. You learn so much from watching Sarah work whilst she talks you through her process.
I bought Restaurant Foodtography School last year, after finally completing the original course. I knew I wanted to shoot in restaurants so I needed to be ready to pitch to clients and soon as restaurants began opening up in the UK. This course is a lot shorter than the original. Whilst I don’t think it’s essential if you want to do restaurant photography, I felt it was worth the price. My absolute favourite unit is unit 3 – where there’s live styling videos of cocktails, a tablescape and chef shots.
I’ve been watching Joanie on YouTube for around two years and I finally took the plunge and bought Artificial Light Academy. So many people recommended it to me and it’s exactly what they said – everything you need to learn how to master artificial light.
It covers almost every type of artificial light you could use in food photography, and you can skip straight to the relevant sections for the type of light you want to learn. It’s super quick to go through and helped me set up and use my new Speedlight in 30 minutes!
This is my most recent purchase and I’ve already learned so much. I love Lightroom, it’s served me well in my photography journey so far, but if you want to level up and book higher-paying clients you need to learn how to properly retouch food photos. This course was recommended to me by Marina from BallaBites and it did not disappoint.
It’s similar to Artificial Light Academy in the way you can go straight to the section you’re stuck on or you can learn it all. I had some touch-ups I was stuck on for a client, so jumped straight to the relevant section and solved the issue in 30 minutes. It’s a super concise and informative course designed to help you learn an editing software most people find extremely overwhelming.
That’s all my studies so far, but since I’m always learning I will keep this post up-to-date with the latest books and courses. If you have any questions drop me a DM on Instagram or email me. Let me know if you want me to do a full review of any of the courses I’ve taken.