Lessons from The Art of Food Photography class

My latest Salad Recipe: looks as delicious as it tastes!

Since I was 6, I’ve been taking photos. I had an eye for composition, and my Mom let me use her instant, film camera from time to time at family events. I learned at that young age to make every shot count, because each one cost money.

When I finally took an official photography class, it was Photojournalism. That was back in 2000, when we were still using 35mm Cameras and a Dark Room. I remember having so much fun, physically dodging or burning an image, making my own 4×6 or 11×14 prints. It was like watching magic happen. I used an old Contax Camera with a Carl Zeiss 85mm lens, it was sort of an inheritance from my Grandfather (since he’d passed away, my Grandma was happy to see me use it). Today, it sits in an old camera bag in the closet. I haven’t picked it up in 5 years.

Last Saturday, I took Ashely Rodriguez‘s The Art of Food Photography class. It was a very casual class with about 12 others set on a long dining table at The Pantry. We all introduced ourselves, explaining our level of photography knowledge and what we wanted to learn. Thankfully, the class covered pretty much what I recall everyone wanting]. For me, it was a refresher.

One of my first Salad photographs.

White Balance is key!

When I used a film camera, I used to check the White Balance all the time. I got so familiar with the settings for certain lighting situations, that I didn’t’ always need to check the White Balance first. Somehow going from using film with such ease and confidence to a DSLR, I simply forgot or merely assumed the camera was smart enough. During the class, I had a lot fun figuring out how to set the white balance with my Canon Rebel Xti, working with a couple classmates with camera’s a model up from mine. It was pretty amazing to see the difference.

Composition is everything.

Something Ashely said at the beginning is that it doesn’t matter what equipment you have, everyone can take delightful photographs. I agree, wholeheartedly. My food photography has been on the fly. I’m always snapping a few shots just before the food is devoured. Lately, I’ve taken 2 extra minutes to think about composition, and again, I shouldn’t be amazed at the difference.

Setting the WB helped - my new favorite photo.

Creative Camaraderie helps.

What I loved about the class was the physical ability to talk with class mates. And ask questions. I could have easily been reminded of these key lessons by reading around online, but there’s something powerful when you’re in a room with other people. I appreciated talking and learning from others in the class. It’s especially fun to look at their blogs, or see what they’re doing in a Flickr group.

I look forward to capturing more savory photographs of the recipes I create and food in general. If you’d like to see the, hop on over to Scratchtreehouse.com – this is where all the new content is going to find a home.

p.s. Huge Thanks to my friend, Karen, for recommending the class:)

p.s.s. Classmate’s blogs:

First Look, then Eat

Seattle Seedling (great to finally meet her in person!)

Bray Hayden

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