Dark and Moody Food Photography Workshop for Beginners | The Artmother | Skillshare

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Dark and Moody Food Photography Workshop for Beginners

teacher avatar The Artmother, Professional Art Teacher and Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      About the Author


    • 3.

      Materials Needed


    • 4.

      Analyzing Pictures


    • 5.

      Get Inspired


    • 6.

      Finding the Right Spot


    • 7.

      Defining the Scene


    • 8.

      Playing with Light


    • 9.

      The Background


    • 10.

      The Chalkboard Effect


    • 11.

      Camera Basics


    • 12.

      The Shooting Process


    • 13.



    • 14.

      Be Mindful of Your Purpose


    • 15.

      Telling a Story


    • 16.

      Negative Space


    • 17.

      Finding the Best Shots


    • 18.

      Editing in Photoshop - Set the Size


    • 19.

      Editing in Photoshop - Retouching


    • 20.

      Editing on Smartphones


    • 21.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Welcome to the Dark & Moody Food Photography!

Are you into food and you are looking for inspiration to make your Instagram more appealing?

Do you have a small business and you would like to make Stylish and Rustic photos of your (hopefully small) products?

Are you writing a blog and you would like to get inspiration how to make stunning photos to attract your audience?


Hello! I am Alexandra and Artist and an Art Teacher! I have lots of experiences in Photography - I made food/product photography for companies, had my photos even exhibited in Art Shows.


I have created this course to show you the BEHIND THE SCENES of those amazing rustic&stylish&dark&moody photos and that they can be created in your home, even with your SMARTPHONE!

Check out this amazing short course and GET INSPIRED!

You don't need to purchase anything to accomplish this course: just be creative, collect the things around your home and BUILD YOUR OWN DIY HOME PHOTOSTUDIO with me!

What will you learn?

- How to analyse light on photographs

- How and where to find inspiration

- How to analyse light in your home - spotting the right place to build your studio (you don't need a big space, a chair is enough)

- How to play with light (creating a light tunnel, using a home made reflector)

- How to create a background

- Camera Basics

- Composition Rules

- How to Set a Scene

- How to Play with Angles

- How to tell a story with your photos

- How to use negative space

- How to edit your pictures on your Smartphone and in Photoshop

- How to set the perfect size of the pictures for sharing on different Social media sites (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest)

So, what are you waiting for? Let's start this Dark and Moody journey together!

Meet Your Teacher

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The Artmother

Professional Art Teacher and Artist

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Welcome to the dark and moody food photography. My name is Alexandra, and I'm going to be your teacher today. I'm a professional artist and art teacher. But you will learn about me in the next video. Right now we are going to answer questions like, what is this course about? Who is this course for? What will you learn? This course aims to teach you how to set up a photo studio in your home, not on a professional level with the light and stuff, but we are going handmade and we're going to use things you have around in your home. I will give you tips and tricks. How can you use your stuff to create quality photography and to create this stunning, rustic looking, stylish, dark, and moody photographs? The course is for everyone who uses social media. Basically, anyone with a smartphone. You don't even need a DSLR. Of course, you can use it if you want. But you can use any device you can shoot photographs with; a digital compact or your smartphone. Maybe you just want to create amazing photographs for your Instagram, or you're a food lover and you want to create amazing pictures of your food you create, maybe you write recipes for a website or your own blog, and you love this dark and moody style. Maybe you're just a regular social media user and you want to create a picture to illustrate your Palo Alto quote on Facebook. Or you can be a creative person who is interested in the behind the scenes of these photographs, or you are a real photographer and you want to get inspired and learn how to make amazing photographs on a low budget. Even you can be a business owner and you might want to make amazing pictures of your own handmade products, for example of jewelry or, I don't know, little comics. As far as the theory, you will learn these things in the course. What will you learn? You will learn how to analyze light on photographs; how and where to find inspiration; how to analyze light in your home. You are going to spot the right place to build your studio. You don't need a big space, a chair is enough. You're going to play with light. We are going to create a light tunnel and a homemade reflector. We're going to create our own backgrounds. You will learn camera basics, compositional rules, how to set a scene, how to play with angles, how to tell a story with your photos, how to use negative space, and how to edit your pictures on your smartphone and in Photoshop. Now please watch the free lessons and if you like what you see, enroll. See you inside the course. [MUSIC 2. About the Author : Hello, my name is Alexandra and I'm a professional art teacher and an artist. In the virtual world you can find me by the name DR. totter. I've chosen this name because these are the two things which want to last in my life. Art and motherhood are like forever. I have lots of experiences in different fields of art. I'm mainly a painter. I use mainly acrylics, sometimes oil and I love to create amazing colorful watercolor illustrations. I have experience in textile design. I have my own brand of handmade dolls lollipop. I also have experience in drawing graphic design, digital arts, and digital illustration. I made my master thesis about animation. I have experience also with that. But all main point is that I have experience with photography. This dark and moody tone can be found in all of my art. I use lots of black color. I also try to implement black in my colorful illustrations with D is black bubbles. It is my artistic side. This model shows, not just my art, but also my life and my home. Even my fridge is black and my sink is black. I always wear something black, but I'm not sad person, I just loved black color. I experimented a lot in photographing, for example I painted with light. I painted on photographs. I also made a lot of photographs for businesses. I also had some of my photographs exhibited in art shows. To love to experiment with portraits. I started to make photography back in 2009, when this big Facebook bone happened and selfies started to be popular. I wanted to stand out and be different. I played a lot around and made this interesting shots. The fun fact I didn't own a DSLR until this christmas when I got one from my husband.I didn't invest in it because I think photography is about the eye, not the camera. You can create amazing photographs with an awesome camera and the beautiful girl for example but the art of capturing moments is about how you see. The most awesome pictures I've taken from my smartphone and from a small pink digital olympus compact, which was an amazing camera was stolen in a party. My heart broke and I got this white Nikon D2. This is a handy camera on our travels. We traveled a lot on motorbike with my husband around Europe. It was not a big DSLR, I was able to get it and make photographs right on the motorbike. I also collect old photo machines, for example here is Smena 8m. [NOISE] Here is my favorite Lubitel. I don't make photographs with these machines. I love how they look and I decorate my living room with them. I use them as SSRIs for my photographs. I own the DSLR, which I'm exploring right now and I'm shooting this video with it. In this course, I want to show you that making amazing photographs is not about buying the expensive stuff. It is about you being creative and using your eye to find the details, to capture the moment, to find the most interesting part, to be able to analyze the light coming from the light source, which is going to be the natural light in this case. I will show you how to find the best spot in your home to build this little shooting studio, how to analyze light, and how to set the scene to play around with angles and your objects and some editing options which will make your photos even better. As an art teacher, I tried to make this course as good as possible. I hope that it will be beneficial for you. Let's begin. 3. Materials Needed: [MUSIC] Materials needed. You will need some stuff so look around in your home. You can also go and buy some cheap things in a [inaudible] store. But let's just see what we have around. [MUSIC] The first thing is the main subject : food or your products. You can bake your own cookies, get some fruits, vegetables, chocolate, anything which you think is interesting. You can get some seeds and ******, coffee beans, salt. I love, for example, cinnamon rolls and tamiya. If you will do product photography, get your products. Just make sure they're not too big. The second are other fillers. So in creating a scene, we will need some nice objects which make our composition more interesting. For example, pieces of newspaper, ribbons, small objects like spoons, watches, or cups, anything you think might look good. Third one is the surface. So the surface can be your desk or table if it has a nice wooden texture. But as we are going for a dark and moody tone, find something black or rustic. It can be a black plate, a crunched piece of paper. You can buy tile with some texture or tapestry, or some textiles. The background. I'm going in detail with background in a later section. Now I just wanted to show what can you use. So again, as we're going for darkness, obviously you need something dark. You can buy a big piece of black paper. You can paint a single piece of cardboard black or even buy a black cardboard. If you have canvas, paint it black, I'm going to do that and use this black canvas as my surface, as my background, and even as a light blocker. You can use textiles again. I'm going to use simple black t-shirts of my husband. I have a black leather chair, so I can use it also as the full scene without using any other surface and any other background. There are two other important tools. One is the light blocker and the other is the reflector. The light blocker can be a piece of cardboard again. I'm going to use the pure package of the watercolor paper I ordered this week. Our reflector is going to be a smaller piece of cardboard covered with aluminum foil. Or you can just use simply a white sheet of paper. The last thing on the list is the camera. So get your DSLR, digital compact, or your smartphone. Before we start the actual shooting, we will analyze some pictures and get some inspiration in the next videos. Now, take a look again in the materials needed recap then continue to the next video. [MUSIC] 4. Analyzing Pictures: [MUSIC] Analyzing pictures. Before we start, we are going to look at some pictures and try to figure out how were they done. Where is the light coming from? How is the composition done, and what is the scene telling us? I have collected some pictures to a Pinterest board. I hope you know Pinterest. If not, I recommend you to sign up. I have collected these pictures so that we can go through them and do a little analyzation. Let's find at first pictures where there is only one subject. I can see a cherry here. Let's take a look at it. As you can see, here is a very harsh highlight. I suppose the light source is somewhere here. I think it is natural light. The subject is on a rustic table and we don't know what the background is. It is fully black. I don't even think there is any background. I think there is just the light somehow blocked so that it doesn't enter this background so that it just stays on the subject and on the surface where these pictures take up. Let's take a look on another one-step [inaudible] picture. Here is a bread. Here you can see that there is actually a background. Maybe it is the wall which is painted black, or it is a big black cardboard. It is again, a rustic table and the only subject is this fresh bread. The light source is a window at this side and it lights the whole bread and also the surface it is put on. Let's find pictures where there are just two or three subjects. Let's take a look at this donut. We can see that the background has some texture and the surface is maybe black marble or tile, I don't know, but it has got some reflection. The light is coming from this side. Again, it is, I think, a window. I think that the light is coming from this direction. Let's take a look at another one. [MUSIC] Here are two, three subjects. Again, it is a rustic surface. I don't even think it is a table, maybe it is a box or just a piece of wood. I don't know. Here you can see that there it is the window focuses, of course, on the eggs and there is no background. You will see that in a later section when we are going to talk about backgrounds and playing with angles, that if you play well with angles, you don't even need a background so your background is the surface itself. Here is a nice one. I think it is a black paper as the background. Here's a rustic black mat. Light. The light is coming from this side. Here you can see the window itself. This is a picture where it's just only one subject. Even though there are lots of cinnamon rolls, there is only one subject and it is a very interesting way composed. The focus is on the edge of the cinnamon rolls and you can see the background. Now let's take a look on pictures when there are lots of subjects, for example, this one. There's lots of chocolate. There is cinnamon. There is some sea salt. You can see that it is a black leather. This surface is, again, the background. Here is another one. Here you can see a rustic wooden table with lots of things. It is a little bit chaotic, but I like it. Here is a similar one but with a different angle. The background is the part of the composition, so it is continuing. There is another thing I want to show you and that is negative space. Negative space is basically space which is not filled with a subject. It is very interestingly used here. Here is the giant negative space and here is the composition. It's diagonal and leads the viewer throughout the whole picture which is also a diagonal composition, but I can see a spiral here. Here is the giant negative space and also here. Here is negative space in this picture and again here. As you can see, diagonal composition, you can lead the viewer through the whole picture. This negative space gives elegance to the picture. It makes it also interesting. You can play it also with that. I told that we are going to talk about what these scenes want to tell us. I'm going to go through these pictures and tell if they are static pictures or they are active pictures. Static pictures are where it is just composed and there is nothing happening on them. But the active pictures want to tell us something. There is something happening. There is something missing, for example, this is a static picture. You can see that nobody ate these cookies or what are these? It is broken down, but you can see that this is a little bit forced. It is not bad, but it is a composition. A picture like this tells a story. There's the cheese missing. Someone ate, someone cooked. There is some action which happened. This is a composed picture again. Even though this cookie is not on the plate, you can see it is static. This is also static because it is just chocolate which is broken down to pieces. Again, it is not bad, but it doesn't tell me anything. However, here and this tea, it says that someone prepared. I can't imagine that someone prepared this tea. It is [inaudible] Even though it is composed, I can see a story behind it that someone sat at this table, [inaudible] this cup and the phone rang and went away to get it. I hope that you now have an understanding of analyzing pictures. I recommend you to make a board like this. You will see in the next video how we will do that. But you will need to go through some pictures and just look at it. Look at the background. What it might be? Is it a desk? It is a paper. It is a textile. Where is the light coming from? At this picture, light is coming from here. You can see it because of the shadows. These cookies are in the shadow. I think here is light blocker so that the light is allowed to hit just these objects. That you can see how to make compositions with different numbers of subjects, for example, if you have only one subject, if you have more subjects, if you have lots of subjects, and that you have the possibility to play with the negative space. Now, let's see how to get even more inspired, and then let's get to shooting. 5. Get Inspired : [MUSIC] Get inspired. We discussed some important concepts regarding light and composition. Now I want to show you how can you get inspired. Pinterest is a search engine for images. Basically it is like a wiggle gathering space for creative ideas. You can find awesome images, paintings, do-it-yourself projects, sewing ideas, almost anything you can think of. Signing up is as easy as in any social media nowadays. You can do that even with your Facebook or Google account. On Pinterest, you can search for images with key words. Then you can create virtual ports to which you can pin them. For example, I like this picture. So I just move the mouse on it and click the pin, Save. I can choose the boards I have created but I can create a new board. I'm going to paint this to my dark and moody food photography board. Pinterest is like the most awesome place to get inspired. Of course by getting inspired I don't mean being a copycat. We just want to see different points of views on the same thing. Pinterest works with keywords. You can see [LAUGHTER] search these keywords like whale drawing, whale in sunglasses, etc. I will put dark and moody food photography in it so it shows us lots of ideas right away. We are not going to add keywords randomly. Now your task is to go and find a subject you will like to use as your main subject. I will go for garlic now. I'm going to put keywords in here like garlic photography. It shows me tons of pictures. I can see that for example here is an interesting picture where they use textile to create a composition with garlic. Here is a rustic table again. Here's a spoon and some ******. Looking at pictures like this gives me an idea what accessories can I use, what to look for, what looks good with the subject I've chosen. Here you can see how I use this inspiration and use the textile together with garlic. I will try another one. Now let's put coffee photography. This is not the loop we are looking for, so let's try beans. Wow, you can see that these coffee beans are put into the summer bowls. Here is again, use some textile, here is the spoon used. Here's a light tunnel which actually inspired me to take shots of my chocolate and coffee beans with this method. I'm going for rusty cookie photography. You see here is a ribbon used against some textiles. Here is an interesting composition with milk and the black background. There are tons of possibilities, tons of points of views on the same subject. Well, now your task is to put some subjects in the search and take notes or just create board for yourself with the pictures you like and use them as an inspiration. Now we are going to move to the next section and we're going to look for a light in your home. 6. Finding the Right Spot : [MUSIC] Finding the right spot. In this lecture, we are going to make clear how our homemade shooting studio will look like. Take a look at this picture. As I said before, we're not going to use any artificial light. Natural light is the best we can work with so our light source will be a window. We could define to which direction should your window look to. To north, to west, to east, or to south. But I can't see a point in that. Everyone has a different home, different schedule, has different weather conditions so I wouldn't get into this. For example I can use only two windows and my kids sleep in the other rooms. What I can shoot and I can't even shoot anytime just from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM so I will work with that. I was shooting some of the pictures when it was snowing outside so really even weather doesn't matter. What matters is that it is a big enough window and there is nothing in front of it that could block the light coming in like a huge building or a solid bush. You should take all of these in consideration, walk around your home and try to find the window that you can work with. Here's the spot I'm going to use. This is my kitchen. I have my working station also here because the kids do cover the bedrooms and I can actually cook lunch while I wait for paint layers to dry. As you can see, I have two big windows and a front door here. To work on this project, I have chosen this window. It's just big enough. I like it because the light is almost never too harsh. There's also the front door which brings in even more light, so I can play a lot around with angles. The basis for the studio will be a simple chair. It is a good choice because you can put your background and surface on it without the need of any other supporting supplies. I sometimes use another chair if I need to support something, for example a big surface, or if I want something to support the light blocker or the light softener. Take a look again on this picture. As you can see, this is the way we are going to set the studio up. Here's the window, the scene is in front of it and we are going to shoot from this side. We will take a deeper look on the scene in the next video [MUSIC] 7. Defining the Scene: [MUSIC] Defining the scene. Let's take a bit deeper look on the scene itself. As you can see, there is the background and the surface. The subject is on the surface and here is a so-called shooting path. By shooting on a different spots of the shooting path, you get different results. Let's keep in mind that the window is on the left side of the scene. Taking a picture totally on the left side is not the best idea. You missed the background so you can make a good picture only if you shoot from an angle when the surface becomes the background. By this, you even block the light but it is still possible to make a nice picture, for example like this one. The other four points on the shooting path will be a better choice. The second spot will allow the background to enter the picture. The third spot is the front when you can see the horizon line. Then the fourth is similar to the second but in this case you will get a back-light on your subject which makes it more interesting. Then the fifth has a full back-light, but the background again leaves the perspective. This is the setup I used for this experiment. I use the black canvas as the background and a piece of tile for the surface. Don't get confused by the light behind the scene, it is the front door, my window is here and this light has nothing to do with the scene as I was shooting. If you have time or mood, try this experiment on your own. Play with the angles and observe the light, how it hits your subject. Actually, if your schedule is not that tight, observed the light coming from your window in different parts of the day so that you can try out when you can shoot the best photos. Now let's continue to the next lecture where you will learn how you can control the light coming from your window. 8. Playing with Light: [MUSIC] Playing with light. Now that we have our scene spot, I'm going to show you some more tips how you can play with the light and shadows a little more. The first tool is the reflector. Let's say, our light is very harsh, and the other side has details I would like to see. I don't want it to be in a full shadow. For this, I can use a blank sheet of white office paper or a piece of cardboard covered with aluminum foil. You can see that if I put my reflector here, these details in shadow become brighter. The light blocker. To achieve a darker and moodier look, it is a good idea to use the light blocker. To block out the light, I can use a simple piece of cardboard. I sometimes use my black canvas for that. By this, I can manipulate the angle and the quantity of the light. With the light blocker, we can make a light tunnel. It is the reverse situation when we don't block the light, but we let sunlight in to our dark scene. By this we can create a dramatic look and amazing pictures with backlight. Smoothening the light. If I have a very harsh light, I can use several things to make it smoother. For example, use a transparent curtain or tracing paper or even baking paper. The difference between these last two is in thickness and in tone. Stick with the whiter tones if you can. Now you have some ideas how you can control the light coming through your window. Let's see, what can you do with your background? [MUSIC] 9. The Background: [MUSIC] The background. At first, I would differentiate between three kinds of backgrounds. The first is when you shoot from the front and you can see the borderline of the surface and the background. This is the case when we are using a black cardboard or some textiles. As we are not looking for dark mood, our background, should be black. In this photo, I use the black canvas as the background and an interesting soft leather textile as my surface. In this other case, I used staple back T-Shirt, pulled on the back of the chair and a piece of leftover tile from our house renovation. In both cases, we are using the depth of field. Depth of field is when the subject is in focus and the background is blurred. You can achieve this on your DSLR, setting your aperture lower than 5.6, and on your smartphone, when you tap on the main subject. This obviously means that the background is out of focus, so no detail texture will be seen. The second case is, when you play with angles and take photos approximately in a 45-degree angle, you can see the subject, the beetle ball, and this border line of the background and the surface moves up. The surface itself becomes the background. In this case, you can play with continuing to composition to the background as for example I did in this photo. The third one is when you shoot from above. The surface is the background again, but no depth of field is used. These last two cases, it is important to have a nice surface. But I really love the texture of the black letter, but a crunched piece of paper and a nice wooden texture or an interesting textile can be also a good choice. In the next video, I'm going to show you what I did to my black canvas to achieve a chalkboard loop. [MUSIC] 10. The Chalkboard Effect: [MUSIC] The chalkboard effect. Chalkboards are very popular nowadays in interior design. They are used as accessories, but sometimes more walls are painted with chalkboard paint to create a modern industrial look. People can get really creative. I also have a little chalkboard wall where our guests, for example, code surfers, can leave lovely messages. I was looking for inspiration again on Pinterest, and there are lots of great ideas to use chalkboards as a background or a surface. Look at this picture. Here the chalkboard is used as a simple background, and here we've got a more functional role as there is this little comment written. Personally, I'm not good in lettering, so I would add text in the editing phase. There are lots of free fonts online which look as they were written by chalk. Look for them on 1001fonts.com. Let's get back to these pictures. Chalkboards can be used also as a surface and you can get really creative with them. To create a chalkboard, you don't need anything special, a big cardboard painted black, or in my case, a big canvas painted black will work. I will add few layers of chalk on it and rub it inside with a paper towel. You can run through it with your fingers to add a used look. Well, that's it. I used this chalkboard as a surface when I was shooting the blueberries. It gives it an elegant and stylish look. Don't you think? You can try to make your own chalkboard to have something to work with. In the next section, you will learn little camera basics, then we will finally get to the shooting itself. 11. Camera Basics: [NOISE] Camera Basics. In this lecture, I'm going to explain briefly how cameras work. I'm not going into too much detail because as I stated at the beginning, you can have an amazing camera, you can know the settings, but what matters is how you see. Let's begin with the DSLR. DSLRs are very smart. You can shoot with them very well on automatic settings. However, when we are looking for a darker mood, we should take the control a little bit over, because our camera can't think well, that the image is too dark. The exposure triangle is the most basic concept we should mention when we are talking about the setting of DSLR. There is the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Aperture is the number indicating the size of the opening on the lens, which is letting the light in. It controls the quantity of the light which goes to the sensor of the camera. Obviously, the bigger the opening, more light is let in. The number is indicated with the letter F. Paradoxically, the higher the number, the smaller the opening, so if the number is 5.6, the opening is smaller than a 2.8. It is different for each lens, how wide the opening can be. On my camera, the least is F3.5. Look at these photos, they were taken in different aperture settings. Here is a 3.5, 5.6, and 8, and here is the 11. You can see that the lower the number is, the background is more blurred. When it comes to a depth of field mentioned before, setting a low aperture number is the key. The second thing is shutter speed. The shutter controls the duration of the light hitting the sensor. The number given means a second. If you set one, the opening is letting light in for one whole second. It actually seems to take forever. In one second, too much light is let in, unless you are in a dark environment,so a picture might get overexposed like for example here. If you lower the number for example one per eight, one per 125, one per 500, you get darker results. When you look into your camera, there is a meter telling you if your picture will be too light or too dark, and you can see what your settings will result. Here it is where you need to take control because your camera might think the picture is too dark. You should not rely on this meter when you are shooting dark and moody photos. Go for darker results, even though we can edit the pictures afterwards, it is good to have a good material to work with. The third is the ISO. ISO controls light sensitivity. The higher the number, the higher the sensitivity. High ISO makes the photo grainy, so it lowers the quality of the picture. Therefore, try to keep the ISO number as low as possible. For example 200 or 400, that is enough on DSLRs. Let's talk about your smartphone. You can get the manual settings even on your smartphone, so try to play around. You can set aperture, shutter speed, and ISO too. Different smartphones have different possibilities, so look for your settings. Two things I would mention though, the focus and the brightness. You can get your subject into focus by simply tapping on it on your screen. Then you should see a little sun. If you tap on it, you can set the picture brighter or darker. Set it a bit darker again. If you have a digital compact, I recommend to find in your settings how to set brightness. If you can't find it, doesn't matter. I will show you editing options later. Let's summarize what we have learned so far. [MUSIC] 12. The Shooting Process : Welcome to the shooting section. I hope that you're excited to do the shooting and that you're not too tired of the things learned so far. If you're watching this lecture, you should already have chosen your window you're going to work with, your chair, something for the surface, something for the background, and also your subject. I've chosen delicious doughnuts to do the shooting today, but I have done lots of shootings to do this course, so I'm going to include them also in the videos. We're going to try out the things learned so far. We are going to play with angles. We are going to shoot from above, from the 45 degree, from the front, we're going to play with the light, we're going to create a light tunnel. It is going to be actually really a playing around thing, because as I mentioned before, everyone has a different camera, window, schedule, and weather conditions. The point is to experiment and enjoy the process. If you don't have mood right now to do the shooting, do it tomorrow, next week or later when you have this moment of, wow, I want to shoot today, then grab your camera and do it. In the next videos, I'm going to go deeper in some topics regarding the shooting, but right now I'm going to show you the simplified process I'm following when I'm shooting something. The first thing I do is that I set the scene with only one main subject and I take photos of it from different angles. I tried front, the 45 degree, and from above. I try to find out what works best for my subject. For example, in the case of the doughnut, the front shooting is not the best as it is missing the hole of the doughnut, which is the most characteristic thing of the doughnut, so I would like to see it, therefore, the 45-degree and above is going to work for me. The second thing I do is that I play with the surface and the background, so I look for the best background which fits my subject. For example, I tried this blue textile, it looks good, but I have found that it is limiting my possibilities, so I changed it. I tried out a tile, a leather textile, then the chalkboard canvas. The third thing I do is that I play with light. I try different angles on the shooting path, I try different angles for the light blocker and even try the light tunnel. The fourth is that I add more elements. After I find the best solutions, I add some more elements. I tried a cup of tea, for example, some more doughnuts. When I have a shooting to chocolate, I added the coffee beans and in each adding, I again played with angles and light. The fifth is that I stopped sometimes to check the photos if there is a setting which I like, but maybe it was out of focus or I missed something or I can improve it a little more, so I go back to the setting and I try to work on it. This is the simplified process I'm following. Now, let's see some topics in more details. Our first one is composition. [MUSIC] 13. Composition: [MUSIC] Composition. After we find the perfect scene and we arrange our subjects, we need to think about the composition of the shots. There are three rules I would like to present to you. The first one is the rule of odds. It just simply about the number of subjects we are going to use. Odd number of objects is always more interesting for the eye than a fair number because our mind pairs things, and it might think, okay, here are two or four doughnuts, cool. But if there is one or three, here's the doughnut, here's the doughnut, well wait, here's the third one. The viewer spends more time looking at our picture and well, that's a point, isn't it? The second, don't use more than three different subjects. Meaning you can have five pieces of chocolate, lots of coffee beans, and a cup of tea. But don't put in more subjects as a bone, for example unless you are a professional master of composing, your picture view that overwhelming for the viewer and he will be lost. Try to keep things simple, but also rely on yourself. If you feel that adding another subject will make your picture better, try it out. The rule of thirds. When you look at your camera, you should have, or you can set your camera to have a grid. This is the whining that picture to three even parts, both horizontally and vertically. In photography, the basic rule is to put your main subject to one of the four crossing points. It will again make the photo more interesting. If you have a horizon line in your setting, where the border line on the surface and the background can be seen, keep the line close to the upper third or the lower third of the picture. I have two more bonus tips. First, don't place your objects too tight to the edges. It creates tension in the viewer, try to keep even distance from it. The second, don't place any object leaving the picture right in the corner. It leads the viewer out of the picture, and we don't want that. Try to keep a distance also from the corners [MUSIC] 14. Be Mindful of Your Purpose: [MUSIC] Be mindful of your purpose. When you are shooting, you need to be mindful of your purpose. Are you shooting for Instagram? Then try to keep a distance as Instagram is focused on square pictures. You should want your composition to fit a square size. However, Instagram got more flexible and you can post a non-square picture. However, the thumbnail grid is still using square thumbnails, and if you want your feed to look good, be mindful of this right before taking the shots. Take a step away. It doesn't matter if there are other things in the picture, for example, you can see that your background or surface is ending or your legs can be seen. They will not be seen after editing. If you will add the picture to a blog. And then you would like to add this picture to Pinterest. Think more about creating vertical images because Pinterest's speed uses vertical images. Here is a guide about the best sizes for sharing images on social media. We will go deeper into fitting your pictures into these sizes in the editing section. If you are not thinking about social media but rather printing your photos out as a flyer to your business, be mindful of the purpose again. If it is going to be a flyer advertising your creme brulee in your restaurant, and you need to feed text to that picture, make vertical photos, and keep your subject in the lower third of the picture. If you know your purpose, but you are not sure what kind of a composition would work best for you, ask me for help in the questions and answers section. I will be happy to help you. Now let's see two further things you can involve in your composition to make your images even more interesting. Storytelling and negative space. [MUSIC] 15. Telling a Story: Tell a story. I hope you remember that in the beginning of the course, when we were analyzing pictures, we were deciding between if the picture is static, so simply composed, or active, so there is some action in it. Adding action to the scene is not an easy thing. There are two ways to do that. First, you can notion a happening in the past. A bite from the doughnut, a cup of tea which is not full, or these circles noting that the cup was moved. The second, when the action is happening right on the picture. You can see a hand. Someone is pouring something or is eating. Try out this arrangement yourself. I tried to do it with doughnut, so I've taken a bite from it. It looks a bit like Pac-Man on its own. I tried to arrange some cramps around and later added more full doughnuts. Shooting and being the model at the same time can be challenging, so ask your friend to help you if you want to try it out. [MUSIC] 16. Negative Space: Negative space is basically a space which is left out of the composition, or rather the subject matter, because using negative space is actually the part of composing picture. It is used to create a balance in the photography or to draw the attention of the viewer on the subject. Negative space can rule the whole picture, like in this case, where all the space around the doughnut is the negative space. Or here on this picture with the blueberries. Negative space can be the space of the background when we focus our subjects into the lower third of the picture. Or it can be just a small space surrounded by all the subjects around, for example, like here. Try to create at least one picture where the negative space is in dominance. Don't forget, you can always get inspired on Pinterest. After you're done shooting, let's move to the editing section. [MUSIC] 17. Finding the Best Shots: Finding the best shots. After you're done shooting, you might find yourself looking at hundreds of pictures. Looking at all those pictures can get really overwhelming. I have a process for choosing the few perfect or almost perfect shots from those hundreds. First of all, I keep in mind my purpose, and if I have more, I create separate folders for them. Now, let's just create folder, Pictures OK. Secondly, I go through all the pictures and I put the pictures I think are okay to this folder. They need to fit criteria. The focus, the subject I want to be in focus is in focus. Light, the light looks good, it hits what it has to. The picture is not too bright, not overexposed, or too dark. Composition. I don't care about the rule of thirds now, I look just for pictures where are not big mistakes like where the composition is really off, for example, where the border line is not vertical, the arrangement is weird, so I try to avoid pictures where the big mistakes can be partly edited. You can choose either pictures there are mistakes, but there is a detail you like. Again, rely on your eye. When I'm done, I might have 20 percent of the original number of pictures. So I repeat the process until I find the perfect 20 shots or the amount needed. Then I continue to editing process. Let's see what we can do in Photoshop. [MUSIC] 18. Editing in Photoshop - Set the Size: Editing in Photoshop. The photos I take with my DSLR, I edit in Photoshop. If you don't have it installed on your computer, it's not a problem. You can download the free trial on the official Adobe site, or you can use PIXLR, which is a free, simpler online photo editor similar to Photoshop. The first thing I'm going to show you is how to set the size of your images or crop your images to size you need it to be. I always start with creating a new document into which I will add my picture later. Open Photoshop or Pixlr and ''Click File,'' then new or new image. You can start the process details. You can choose if it is going to be a photo you will printout, or it is going to be a print. You can choose from the International Paper sizes like A4, A3, or you can create your custom size. Always set the resolution first. It is jumping sometimes, so keep it 300 PPI, which means pixels per inch. Set for example, the Facebook size provided in the size guide, so 1,200 and 628 pixels. When the document is created, open your photo, so click "File Open,'' and choose the photo you want. Take the selection tool and select the whole picture. Then click Control C or Command C on Mac. Then click on your document and insert your selection with Control V or Command V on Mac. Now click Control T or Command T on Mac and holding down the Shift key to key preserve proportion. Make your photo fit the document then double-click to keep the transformation. [MUSIC] Let's do it again with the setting for Instagram. As you can see, you can play around a little bit with composition again. If your picture wasn't following for example, the rule of thirds, you can move the photo to fit the set size and also to be better in composition. You can play with the size of the subject either, for example, I can put just a quarter of the doughnut to the picture. It looks pretty good. Or I can place the whole doughnut, which looks even better. In the resources, you can find composition grid vector by which you can check the composition regarding the rule of thirds. Simply download the file, open it in Photoshop or Pixlr, select all, copy and paste it into document, then fit it. It will be on a new layer so it is easily removable. To align the subjects with the grid, click the layer of the photo then move it around. The grid can be any dimension, so you don't need to hold the shift key. Now, let's see how to do a little retouching. [MUSIC] 19. Editing in Photoshop - Retouching: [MUSIC] Editing in Photoshop, retouching. In this lecture, I will present to you two tools by which you can make unwanted objects or texture disappear. Then I will show you some possibilities in settings to make your picture even more dark and moody. All the pictures I have presented to you so far weren't edited, so that you can see that editing is just the possibility. A two perfect picture can be seen artificial. If you feel that your picture is good as it is, don't edit it, just let it be, but if something doesn't seem right, try to fix it. Look at this doughnut and the marks it lagged on the surface. At first I thought it will give the picture a human touch, but I don't like it, so I will make the surface clean. To do this, you can use the spot healing brush tool. Simply set the size and go through all the spot. Make sure it is set to the Content Aware Fill. If you have something that you want completely to disappear, for example, like this shadow here or this coffee bean, select the area with the Lasso Tool, click ''Shift'' and ''F5'', and choose the Content Aware Fill. You see that after the coffee bean is gone, there is a not nice spot out of focus. Click on the ''Clone'', ''Stamp'', click ''Alt'' or Option on Mac, and place the cross to texture which would fit that area the most. When using the clone stamp, we will clone or copy this area to the place we're going to click. In this case, to the spot, which is out-of-focus. Differences, we can clean up again with the spot healing brush. Now, let's move to the settings I wanted to show you. You can set the picture darker or brighter by clicking on image, adjustments, brightness and contrast. I usually just add a little contrast. To make your picture a bit more saturated so that the colors of your subjects are more vibrant, go to image, adjustments, hue and saturation. With setting the hue, you can play with the colors. and by setting saturation, you make these colors more or less intense. There are two trending looks in dark and moody photos; the faded look and a sharp loop. You can fade your picture right here by setting a higher lightness or by clicking image, adjustments, exposure, and setting a higher offset. You can make the picture more interesting by setting a higher gamma correction. If you like the sharp, look better, click the author, sharpen, smart sharpen, and here you can start the amount of sharpening. Personally, I prefer the faded look more. That's it. If you have anymore questions about editing in Photoshop, don't hesitate to ask it in the questions and answers section. Now let's see what can we do on our smartphones. 20. Editing on Smartphones: Editing on smartphones. There are lots of possibilities to edit pictures on smartphones. There are different applications to do so, and types of filters to choose from. Depending on the type of your phone, you can have different settings. I'm sure you can crop your picture on all of your phones. If you want to shoot for Instagram, you can shoot right to its size or figure picture after shooting by cropping or using the inserter-size application for example. You can get both measure effects also on your smartphone. You can set the sharpness by simply tapping on its pattern. Set the picture faded, I was only able with setting a low contrast. It is definitely different than in photoshop because in photoshop you don't get upgraded look with low contrast settings. You can also find tons of applications for editing your pictures and you can also import them to your computer to edit them there. I will expand this topic based on your questions. If you have anything, you would like to know for example which applications are the best for editing, feel free to ask any questions and answer section. Then based on your questions, I will add new content, for example, tutorials for picture editing in different applications. I have one more tip for smartphone photography I would like to include here and that is that I have a bit different processing, choosing the right shots. I not start with sorting out the good ones, but sorting out the bad ones. I delete any picture that is bad in some way. Just checking the browser if there are pictures left to sort out. 21. Final Thoughts: That's it. I hope you enjoyed this dark and moody journey with me. Your task now is to upload one photo you've taken for this shooting process. I hope to see you again. I wish you all the best.