Rustic wooden bowls full to the brim. Crisp vegetables, ready to be crunched. Mountains of cakes, topped with sweet syrups and cascading sprinkles of candy & fruit. Soft & fluffy freshly-baked breads. Forkfuls of pesto-perfection pasta….
Um, hungry yet?!!
Food photography has to be one of the most sought-after niches in photography. Everyone wants to get into it, clients are in big need of these food photo skills, and it’s a visually stunning subject to capture (not to mention mouth-watering!)
Food photography is kinda an enigma though. It’s relatively easy to start to practice & yourself (at the beginning at least). But the learning curve is a pretty damn steep one, so it’s definitely advisable to turn to experts to help you master the techniques.
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The entry to food photography…
1. You’ve got a fridge & larder all ready to go!
Chances are, whatever you’ve already got in your kitchen cupboards at home could pass for great food photography subjects. The granola & yoghurt for your morning breakfast; the chicken casserole you’re cooking for your evening meal; the fresh fruit & veg that’s just waiting for you to create a rainbow under the camera lens.
2. It takes practice, skill AND patience
As easy as the practicing of food photography can be, the art of great food photography takes real skill and technique. And patience. Yup, because those blueberries don’t always behave. Every crumb, every herb leaf, every dash of jam, all perfectly, precisely placed. And the lighting, the props, the camera settings….
But it’s something that CAN be learned (yeay!) and there are a whole host of terrific courses and books out there to suit absolutely every skill and budget level.
In this post, I’m going to focus on those books and courses that definitely won’t break the bank, but will arm you with loads of tips all for under $30 – let’s get going!
The Top 3 under $30!
So first things first, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get some brilliant advice and learn loads in the process! In fact, if you’re just starting out in a new niche, it’s definitely advisable to NOT spend loads of money, and instead get the basics down – but you still need top notch expertise to guide you, and that’s where these 3 books and courses come in…
1. The friendly hand-hold
One of the most thorough and inspiring ebooks out there for food photographers has to be this one from Pinch of Yum. Lindsay coaches you with this lovely friendly vibe, through photo techniques, camera settings to use, and some great composition ideas. This book is really designed from front to back to help you up your food photo game. And at less than $30, it’s an absolute bargain for all the knowledge that’s it’s packed with!
2. The Online Expert
Another course that’s coming in at under $30 is Lighting for Food Photography. Taught by New York Times food photographer Andrew Scrivani, this course teaches you how to get the feel of natural lighting but using LEDs, strobes and flash. A definite eye-opener and again, at under $30 it’ll change how you photograph food from that moment on.
3. The Traditional Book
You can also grab Nicole Young’s book which guides you through the entire food photography process, from the camera settings and accessories, to props, lighting and editing. And again, coming in at under $30, this would be a great choice to always have close at hand when you’re setting up a shoot or for a little bedtime reading.
So which one should you pick?
Each of these 3 take you from the absolute beginnings to having a thorough understanding of how to style, light, and shoot your food photography.
Having gone through them all, there’s something to be said for each one, and you won’t go far wrong with whichever one you decide on.
However, if I had to pick just one I’d opt for the Pinch of Yum eBook – it explains everything really clearly and simply and gets you inspired to both take photographs and then do something with them. So it wins the top spot for me
However, if you learn better in a classroom environment, then Andrew’s course is the best one, as he gives you video instruction, so you can visually be guided through the tips. So a great option too if you need to just listen to tips at times too.
And Nicole’s book is more for people who love the feel of a proper paperback in their hands and on their shelves, ready to dive into at any moment.
Or maybe you’ll pick all 3! After all, that’s still less than $90 for a complete food photography education
Share your skills!
I’d love to see your food photography websites and photos/pins, so feel free to pop any links below so I can check them out – and let me know which resource you opted for!
If you keep teaching yourself, sure you’ll get so far and get okay results. But actually, food photography can be hella expensive if you’re wasting lots of food in your trials (not to mention not great for food wastage) so $30 to save yourself on a shopping bill (or 5!) is definitely worth it!