This past weekend, Food Bloggers of Canada hosted our very first member event – a day of food photography workshops at Sugar Studios in Vancouver with professional food photographer (and FBC member with Willowtree) Jackie Connelly as our instructor.
I took my very first food photography class with Jackie a few years ago, before I even had a food blog. I loved her easy, engaging, hands on style of teaching so when we started planning the event, she was easily our first choice as an instructor.
The day was laid out in two workshops. The first was a hands on class where attendees were given 5 very sparsely styled shot setups. Jackie had brought along a large collection of props, linens and cutlery with the idea being that students would use them build on each setup and improve their composition skills as well as their photography skills. Everyone had an opportunity to work with each setup (which included cookies, drinks, salads and sandwiches, cheese trays and dips).
The second workshop was a Q&A with Jackie on the ins and outs of starting out as a freelance photographer. We covered everything from portfolios, to marketing, pricing jobs, working with food stylists and finding clients. It was an information packed session!
We also had the opportunity to work in Sugar Studios, which gave us a huge, beautifully naturally lit studio with white walls and all white shiny furniture. It was great for natural light but presented us with new challenges in terms of highly reflective surfaces! For those of you looking for a setting to work on portfolio work or your own creative projects, Sugar Studios rents out the space at an incredibly reasonable “creative” rate (different from the rate you would pay if you were working on a money generating shoot with a client).
We want to thank Jackie for being so great to work with. She was generous with her gear, allowing students to try out her lenses and tripod, and very candid with her experiences and challenges as a professional photographer. Everyone walked away feeling like they had learned a lot and had all their questions answered. I even got a little hands on tutorial on shooting directly overhead with my tripod, which made my day!
Food Photography Tips and Tricks
Jackie covered everything from composition, gear, lighting, angles, white balance and much more. We can’t give you a play by play but here are some of the great tips we took away:
- Shoot items like stacks of cookies or drinks from an angle just below the surface the food is resting on – it will make the items appear bigger.
- Avoid using your flash at all times – it’s generally too harsh for the food and can cast an orange glow
- Reflectors can be your best friend and it’s even possible to get tiny ones that you can use in restaurants
- Be aware of where ALL your light sources are coming from – it’s likely you have more than one.
- Don’t be afraid to move and change your angle – this can help you avoid reflections and shadows – especially if you’ve taken into account where all of your light is coming from
- when you’re looking to move to the next level, there are great organizations, like CAPIC, to help you. They offer resources and networking opportunities that can improve your work and open doors
- Guidance, information or mentorship may only cost you a cup of coffee. There are very talented and gracious pros out there who are more than happy to share their experience. Just ask!
Thanks to all our members (and a few new faces!) who joined us. Please feel free to share links to any blog posts you’ve written in the comments or on our Facebook page. We’d all love to see your photos.
And to the rest of you, this is something we really hope to be able to roll out to other cities so keep your ears open and if you’d like to help us organize one, please let us know!
Food Photography Workshop Recap was written and photographed by FBC co-founder Melissa Hartfiel with additional photos from fellow FBC co-founder Ethan Adeland. You can follow them both on twitter at @mhchipmunk and @EthanAdeland