27 October, 2010

Artistic Food Photography Workshop

This past Saturday, I taught a food photography class to 12 people at the Dish It Up store in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. It was a new experience for me, as I usually teach camera basics and style/composition to newer photographers, not so much a particular niche. I often attend wedding and food photography workshops and so I was trying to figure what I could bring to the table that was unique from those of my colleagues. I realized that we really all do different types of work. I shoot a lot of restaurants' food, personal recipes, or action shots (food events, chefs in action, and so on). I don't really shoot cookbooks (only a small one so far, as a favor to a friend), magazine or book spreads, stock photography, or food product lines. Not to say I wouldn't (I would!) but just haven't much.

The class discussed mainly the elements of good food photos. We talked a lot about composition, lighting, and styling, but not much about the technical aspects of shooting, as there were people there with all kinds of cameras, not just professional-level dSLRs. We focused on the artistic side of things. We had a really fun time critiquing food photos, going to a great Greek lunch, then watching (and photographing) Chef Becky Selengut cook and serve up six different dishes. The lighting in the store was not ideal (overhead, flat lighting, and there wasn't room for me to bring in lights) but we did great with the light we had. We also got to sample great foods that Chef Becky created for us, and sample wine in the store. It was a really fabulous time, and I hope to do it again very soon. Thanks to all who participated, particularly Becky Selengut, Heidi Kenyon, and Karen Rosenzweig.

Here are just a couple of photos I took. I didn't take a ton, since I was more focused on helping others. But here are a few.

Update: Here's a great post by one of the attendees, Paola.

Ricotta agnolotti (before and after) with chanterelles,
fried sage, and shaved pecorino

White bean and sardine salad w/ poached egg,
pickled onions, parmesan and croutons

Chef Becky Selengut in action

Oysters on the half shell with (melted) cucumber
sorbet and a candied jalepeno

Chanterelles on the stove and Carol taking some 
shots of them

Attendees in action!

Squash soup with Amaretti croutons and browned butter

Wine and fruit/cheese

More attendees in action!

Provencal duck breast in beurre rouge with carmelized
fennel and candied orange


  1. Photos (and food!) look great...seems like you guys had a good time :)

  2. Nice. Now I'm hungry and I wish I had been there. To heckle. And shoot.

  3. I SO wish I lived near you so I could have attended this workshop! I know I would've learned a ton...and that food looks AMAZING. The photos of the oysters actually gave me the shivers.

  4. What a combo you and Becky. Looks like it was a lot of fun!

  5. Wonderful photos as always! Did you say the lighting was the best? You had me fooled everything looks perfect and so inviting. xo

  6. Great post, Jackie! And the photos look terrific despite the lighting.

  7. Gorgeous, stunning photos and I want to take that class!

  8. learning from the master! what an opportunity- i hope all those students clamored for your autograph because you, baby, are going places.

    wanted to drop by to tell you what a fabulous person you are and to explain that i'm very happy to have you in my world. love, linda

  9. Wow... some of those food shots are simply seductive.

    I left some info about Rosetta Stone at Xanga because I wasn't sure where else to leave it.

    Looking forward to your next vegetarian recipe! :)