Dark & Moody Food Photography for Instagram Success: Visual Storytelling with Emotional Food Photos | Sean Dalton | Skillshare

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Dark & Moody Food Photography for Instagram Success: Visual Storytelling with Emotional Food Photos

teacher avatar Sean Dalton, Travel Photographer

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

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.

      Anatomy of a food photograph


    • 3.

      Storytelling and photo review


    • 4.

      Course Project


    • 5.



    • 6.



    • 7.



    • 8.



    • 9.

      Common Mistakes


    • 10.



    • 11.



    • 12.



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About This Class

Join popular lifestyle photographer Sean Dalton as he shows you how to capture visual stories with dark and moody food photography — the style that helped Sean establish himself as a photography influencer.

Dark & moody food photography is what Sean does. If you've seen his Instagram, you'd know that. But there is something deeper to these photos that you might not notice at first glance. Each photo tells it's own unique story, a story about a place, a person, or a culture. Together, they comprise a collection of works that aim to elicit emotions within their viewer. This aspect of emotional storytelling is central to any form of photography, and is one of the most crucial aspects to capturing powerful food photos. 

In this 60 minute course, Sean breaks down his entire visual storytelling process, providing practical insight on how he achieves his unique food photography style. Some of the things you can expect from this course are:

  • How to find perfect lighting
  • How to style your photos to enhance the story
  • Three simple compositions to follow
  • Essential gear and smartphone photography
  • Editing on computer and smartphone

Whether you’re someone that photographs their food with a smartphone, an amateur food photographer with a passion to improve, or professional food photographer, this class mixes technical information with foundational photography skills that appeal to everyone. See the inner workings of a professional food and lifestyle photographer, and take your visual storytelling skills to the next level.

Meet Your Teacher

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Sean Dalton

Travel Photographer

Top Teacher

Hey guys! I'm Sean.

For the last 5 years I've been traveling the world capturing as many photos as I possibly can. I'm drawn to a wide range of photography styles, and constantly striving to improve my art. Emotion and storytelling are two central pillars of my artwork, and I am always looking for new and interesting stories to tell via my camera.

I'm originally from San Francisco, California, but have spent the last few years chasing stories and light throughout Asia.

Most of what I teach relates to my background with travel and lifestyle photography, but I am constantly expanding my focus as I continue to grow as a photographer. I'm pumped that you are here, let's grow together!

I'm active on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube.... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Food photography is one of those things that pretty much anybody can relate to. When we see a photo of food it affects us on an emotional level. It also has the power to tell a story that goes beyond the visual aesthetic, a story that can spark imagination in your viewer and make them feel like they're actually there. That's why food photography is so powerful. My name is Sean Dalton, l'm a professional food, travel and lifestyle photographer from San Francisco, California. Food is one of the first things I started shooting as a young photographer, and it's still something I shoot on a weekly basis, whether it's for an actual client or just for Instagram. For me, food photography is so much more than just capturing a beautiful image of something that you can eat. It's telling a story. I use a combination of lighting, styling, and composition to tell that story. Today, I'm going to show you exactly how I do it. In this course we're going to talk about how to capture a moody and emotional food photos. I'm going to take you to one of my favorite cafes in the world, where I'm going to walk you through a dessert menu shoot, step by step. I'm going to break down the anatomy of a food photo, give you practical tips for shooting and editing, and teach you how to tell visual stories that can spark imagination and wonder in your viewer. This course is pretty much for anyone that has an interest in food photography, whether you're somebody that only has an iPhone and you want to learn how to take better food photos with that, or maybe you're a professional photographer with the pro-level DSLR and you just want to learn a different style, there's something here for everybody. With that said, I really hope you take the time to enroll in this course and if you do, I will see you in the course dashboard with lesson number 1, the anatomy of a food photo. Let's go. 2. Anatomy of a food photograph: All right guys, thank you so much for taking the time to enroll in this course I am super excited to dive into this information. I've been a food photographer for a long time and I've been waiting to do this course for quite a while, so thank you for taking the time to enroll. With that said, let's dive headfirst into this content with lesson number 1, we're going to talk about the anatomy of a food photograph. Basically, the three main things that comprise a food photograph. Before we do that, I want to define what food photography actually is. What is food photography? While a food photograph as he's tackling what you think it is. It's a photo of food or something that you can eat. There's nothing fancy about that. There's no crazy definitions in this course. But what comprises a food photograph, what are the things that make up a food photograph? Well, those three things are lighting, styling, and composition. Those are the three things that are the building blocks to a beautiful food photograph. When you get all three of those things right, you have the power to tell a very meaningful story that can elicit strong emotional responses in your viewer. In this course we're going to really talk about these three things, lighting, styling and composition. Before we really dive into them, I want to overview them a little bit. Lighting, lighting is hands down the most important part of your photograph. The reason for that is because cameras record light, that's where the information comes from. That's how an image is created within a camera body. Lighting is incredibly important for food photography because you're essentially trying to make a 3D object look 3D on a 2D surface. Photograph is 2D and you have to make it look like it's 3D and make it look appetizing despite being limited to that 2D surface. If you use lighting properly, you can do that. Lighting has such a strong impact when it comes to the mood and emotion of your photos and for me, it's the most important thing when I'm going out and shooting is to really make sure I'm finding that good light so I can get that nice dark to light gradient that you've seen in my photos and in this course we're going to talk about how to do that. The second piece of a food photograph is styling or content. In the styling of the content basically refers to what's actually in the photo. The content is the food or the poster that you're using or whatever the actual physical items in the photo are and the styling refers to how those things are arranged to look beautiful for the photo. You're going to see in this course I'm going to be using a lot of props and props are great because it just adds a lot of content in interest and if you style it correctly, you can really express this powerful mood that really helps you tell that meaningful stories. Styling is incredibly important and I think it's one of the things that most young photographers overlook. We're going to really dive into styling and I'm going to teach you how I style, give you some practical tips for styling. The third piece of a food photograph is composition. Composition is basically tying everything together into an actual photo. Basically a composition is how you arrange those things in your frame to make them look beautiful. You can adjust your composition by one, adjusting your position or adjusting your lens, or adjusting the contents of the frame. Composition is very important and I'm going to teach you four different food photography compositions that work, that have been tested, that have worked for thousands of food photographers in the past. But one thing I want to note before we move into the sections and really started digging into them, is that all of these factors really affect each other in one way or another. For example, if you adjust your lighting, well, that's also going to play an effect on your composition. If you adjust your styling, is going to affect your composition and your composition can affect your lighting and your styling. All of these things are very interrelated and they all affect each other in one way or another. They also play a really important part when it comes to storytelling. If you want to tell a good story, you have to make sure that, not one, not two, but all three of these factors are in a really cohesive theme and if you can get it right, you can tell a really powerful and meaningful story. That's what we're going to be focusing on in this class, is telling that meaningful story and eliciting that emotional response within your viewer. 3. Storytelling and photo review: When it comes to food photography storytelling should be your ultimate goal. It can be difficult to tell a story on a two-D surface. Like I said, it's one image, it's not a video. With video, you can add music and you can appeal to so many more sensors. But with a photo, it can be very difficult. With that said, if you can achieve it, if you can tell that story in one photograph, your viewer, will remember that photo so much more than if that photo didn't have any story tied into it. if you can do that, you can create some really powerful images that people will never forget. There's a big difference between aesthetic beauty and emotional beauty. That's one of the things I want you to think about as we're move forward is, yes, there's an aesthetic beauty, a visual beauty behind an image. But if you can also achieve that emotional beauty, that emotional interest, your photo will be so much better. How do you tell a story in a photograph? Well, like I said, lighting, styling, and composition all play a very significant role in telling a story. In fact, those are the three building blocks of an image, but also of a story. If you can really bring those three things together in a cohesive way, you can tell a really meaningful story, but even just a discrepancy in one of those things can greatly hinder the story that you're trying to tell. The best way for us to talk about storytelling is to look at it head on. Is to look at other images, that are doing it well and break down why they're doing it well and evaluate how they're telling that story, and what story they're trying to tell, and how they tell that story as well. We're going to look at a few photos here. These photos are great because not only are they teaching us the practical side of photography into the lighting, the styling, and composition, but they're also serving as inspiration for us when we move forward. Inspiration is one of those things that is very important for us as photographers, as food stylists, or as content creators, is to learn from what other people are doing and translate it into our own work as well. Think about those things as we look at these photos and let's dive into it. This first photo we have here is by this amazing photographer on Instagram called The Kitchen McCabe. I love this photographer. I follow this photographer for inspiration for food for quite a long time. She's absolutely amazing. In this photo we have this gorgeous stack of pancakes in the middle of a wooden table with fruit on top and fruit all around the frame, these flowers as a hand coming in. It just looks absolutely amazing. Those are my initial observations. When we really break it down, we can see we have a very well thought out photo. She's really looked at all of these aspects, lighting, styling, composition, and mastered them in a way that tells a really meaningful story. Starting at the top with lighting, we can see here because the light is a little bit bright on the left of the food that the main light source is to the left. In fact, it looks like it's probably a window or something like that. She has a window to the left. This wooden table. That light is coming in and creating a really nice dark light gradient from the left to the right of the food. That really adds to that moody tone that we see here, because we have the shadows and highlights. It makes the image looks so much more deep and meaningful. When it comes to styling. She has amazing styling. I think one of the reasons why she such a good photographer is because her styling is absolutely incredible. So we can see this there's some fruit on top of the pancakes and then there's fruit scattered all around and natural but a calculated natural look. That really adds to the scene if those fruits weren't there, it's still been amazing photo, because the fruits are their it paints the scene as like this. Sunday breakfast, maybe you just live in this area where fruit is plenty for and it just adds this really nice happy emotion, those colors as well play a really significant role in doing that as well. Those things are really tying into that. Even the flowers and the bowl those are calculated placements that really affect the styling of the image and create a really beautiful look. We have a hand here as well, pouring some syrup over the top of the pancakes and that is both a styling and a com positional technique. It's really balancing out the composition by filling up that negative space on the top right corner and it's also tying into a mood of pouring something over your food and it's more immersive and it really brings you into that frame. This is a beautiful photo and I really love it. I'm going to teach you in this course how to do things like this. How to do the styling, how to capture lighting like this, and how to capture compositions like this as well. But this is really good photo and I definitely want to include it in here. This next photo is from Our Food Stories. This is another amazing group of photographers on Instagram that I love that are serving as a huge form of inspiration for me. I love a lot of their work and here we have an image. Once again, they're pancakes. It's actually very similar to the last photo in terms of the food. We have pancakes or crips, but some fruit on top. Then it's being held in this a wooden platter kind of thing. You can see this girl here has a tattoo on her right hand and her clothing. Everything really ties into this mood. Nothing is out of place here. Everything looks like it should belong in this photo. It looks really good as an initial standpoint. Let's once again break it down. Here we have a much more complicated light source. It looks like they're outside. Not sure what time of the day it is. It could be cloudy or they could be behind some soft diffuser. The light is very soft, so the light is not creating any really harsh shadows, Very nice. It's also flat, but I think in this situation it looks okay. The lighting is taken care of when it comes to the styling. This is where Our Food Stories really shines. The styling is absolutely incredible. From the clothes on a girl to the wooden platter, she's holding to the flowers and the fruits in the cloth and then even, the table in the background or the bench in the background of the rock wall. It all ties into this beautiful style and it just looks so cool. It tells us really cohesive story. Then the composition are tying it all together is this awesome composition. Shooting from the top down at a 45 degree angle and capturing everything in an interesting way and not just straight ahead. It's really adding a lot of diagonal lines of interest here. Crossing the frame in it just allows your eyes to really navigate throughout the photo in a really simple way. It makes the photo look much more aesthetic. Here's a photo I included from one of my good friends, Tor Thanit here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He's an amazing photographer and actually he has taught me a lot of what I know as a photographer. I'm very grateful for that. But this image, I included it because of its simplicity, and because I want to show you the impact that light can have on your photo. The strong impact, that light can have on your photo and this is very much my style. A minimal styling, but really moody lighting that really add so much to the same. The lighting here is coming through a window from the left side of the frame. The reason I can tell that is because we have shadows on the backside of this piece of cake here. It's adding these really interesting shadows, just creating this really moody scene. That's definitely what makes this photo good is the lighting. Styling wise. It's very simple and I think in this situation it works. It's on a stool. He was at this small cafe that was new. He just made it work. I think a lot of the time, a lot of us are shooting food out and about in public, at restaurants or whatever. You're going walk into a location and recognize the good areas to shoot in and figure out how to make your photo look good. In this situation Tor Thanit did that and the photo came out really well. The styling is very simple. Like I said, there's a little bit of garnish on top that looks pretty cool, but even the bush to the side and everything adds to that moody emotion. Composition wise shooting down on a 45-degree angle. He's using the bench to create these diagonal lines of interest and the lighting as well. You can see in the top of the photo, there's that big cascading lights spilling into the photo and creating a dark light gradient there at the top and that looks really cool. I wanted to include this photo to show you how important lighting is and I think this photo definitely does that. This last photo is by another photographer that I love on Instagram, just an amazing photographer. I'm not really sure how to say their name, but it's Ezgi Polat. Absolutely amazing and I included this because it was a flat lays so it was a bit different in terms of composition from the other photos that we've looked at in flat lays are one of the things I want to be focusing on in this course because it's so easy to do flat lays with an iPhone or a smartphone for that matter. Here we have a very simple image. There's a clock based, a lot cloth, lot of cherries and grapes, and a camera. I included this photo because I think it tells a story better than all of the photos that we've talked about and with flat lays, you can really do that. Here it's,pretty simple. There's nothing crazy about it. There's just some basic fruits. But there's a camera and there's a book and everything is really adding to the style, this theme, this motion, this story. The light source in this photo is coming from the top of the photo and you can tell because the shadows on the back of the photo, on the back of the camera, on the back of the grapes, on the back of the book. You know where the light source is coming from. It looks like it's natural light. It's very soft. It looks great. BS, That's the styling. Here's what makes this photo, shine so much. Everything is natural. It's laid out, it just looks very beautiful and it tells that story of like a Sunday morning picnic, you've got your camera, you got your book, you just kind of chill in on the grass somewhere. It's really nice. I absolutely love this photo and the composition was, yes the flat lay. We're going to talk about that in this course. Evaluating those photos is incredibly important for us as photographers because not only like I said, does it teach us those practical things, those technical side of photography, but it also gives us inspiration for our future shoots. That's something I want you to think about before we move on to this next section is, where does your current inspiration come from? For me, I like physical books, and also Instagram. Physical books are great because I can really be in the moment I'm not getting notifications that are pulling me into different apps. When I'm looking at a physical book, I'm sitting there, I'm holding it. I can feel the photo and I can just stay for hours and just look at these different photos and just take in all of this information as inspiration. Before we started from this course, I was actually pouring through the Kinfolk books. The Kinfolk books are amazing because they're all about styling and design and telling stories, that's what they do. Those are great for photographers and there's so many other good ones out there. But I want you to think about where your inspiration comes from and really dive into that inspiration. Spend time every day looking at it and trying to figure out how you can capture those things that you have in your mind, that creative mindset, how to translate that into an actual photo. That's what I wanted to say, and with that said, let's move on to the next section. 4. Course Project: All right guys so for the class projects, I want you to share three food photos that were inspired by this course. Ideally, these will be your photos that you've taken, maybe before the class or after the class. But if you don't feel comfortable sharing your food photos or you just haven't taken them yet, and you want to do the project now feel free to share three photos that inspire you, that inspire you creatively, that you want to pursue as a creative, that similar style. So feel free to share through photos that inspire you in some way or another, and then I want you to write a few sentences discussing why you chose these photos and how you hope to improve as a food photographer in the future. There's a few questions you can ask yourself when you're doing this project. Number 1 is what makes the photo that you chose good. Is it the lighting, is it the stylings of the composition, is at all three. You know, what is making that photo look good. The second question is, what was the first thing you noticed in the photo? What was it that originally drew you to the photo? What did you notice first? The first thing that popped out to you, and why do you think that is? The third question is, what story is the image trying to tell? Is it actually telling a story? Is it failing in that regard? Is it doing well with telling that story? Kind of explore that a little bit. 5. Lighting: Now, I really want to dig into these core topics, lighting, styling, and composition. We're going to start at the top with the most important aspect of photograph, lighting. Lighting is hands down the most crucial aspect of a good food photograph. Not only can it affect the mood and emotion of your photo, but how it looks as well. It's incredibly important for capturing beautiful images and that's simply because, cameras record lights, so you have to make sure that your light is good. My style is very moody, I like a very strong dark to light gradient on my food. What that allows me to do is make that food look 3D. Like I said before, food is 3D but you have to make it look 3D on a 2D surface, which can be difficult. But if you're following these proper lighting techniques you can easily do that. So when it comes to lighting, natural light is always key. In fact, I never use artificial light it when I'm shooting food. I never shoot food at night, I always shoot in the morning, or in the afternoon, or in the middle of the day if I have to. The reason natural light is so much better than other forms of light is because the sun is so massive and essentially, the bigger the light source, the softer that light source is going to be. That's why photographers that are shooting high-fashion have these massive soft boxes that just spread the light out in a very soft way. So yeah, natural light is king, it's what I use for every single one of my food photos on my Instagram and I think a lot of other food photographers follow that train of thought as well. When it comes to utilizing natural light properly, there's a few things you should think about. So number one, is location and location is hands down the most important part when it comes to finding good lighting. The location is going to dictate your light. Where I'm sitting now is an absolutely fantastic location and the reason for that is because we have a window to my left and the rest of the room is dark, and I've turned off all the lights in this room because I didn't want them to cast a weird shade of color on me. So one of the tips I have for you is to turn off the lights when you're shooting food and just use the light from the sun. You're not going to have any weird colors that are being casted on you from the lights in the room and it, just the light is so much more better more when it's coming through the window. So I like to shoot in rooms that are dark with a big window, and that allows that natural light to spill in, in a really soft way, that creates that nice light to dark gradient, like I said. So if I had a piece of cake in front of me right now, the right side of that cake, your left would be dark and the other side would be light and that would create that 3D gradient that looks really, really good on food photos. Also, another good tip is to make sure that the walls are a neutral color. If you have colored walls in your room, that's actually going to cast a colored tint onto your food. So shooting in neutral environments is best for getting the most accurate color in your food. When you're selecting a location you should also think about the style of that location as well. For example, the location that I'm in now, it just works. This wooden table is nice and moody, we have this really artistic hipster ladder behind me with books hanging on it, and there's just a lot of really cool things in this location that really add to the style. When I go shooting, this location is really going to help me capture that story or that emotion that I'm going to be aiming to capture. So make sure when you're choosing a location, think about not only the lighting but the styling of that location as well on how it's going to play into your photo. Okay. So another crucial tip I have for you with lighting is to shoot in the morning or in the afternoon and the reason for that is because the sun is at about a 45 degree angle in the early morning or in the afternoon, and that allows for a much softer light. If you're shooting in the middle of the day, the light is going to be harsh and that can cause a lot of really weird shadows and really weird highlights onto your food. You don't want that, you want soft light. So if you are going to shoot in the middle of the day, use some diffuser. It could be a diffuser like this one that I have. If you don't have one of these, you can use a bed sheet, you can use a piece of paper. Basically, any piece of transparent white fabric or paper can really take that light and diffuse it and make it much softer, so I really cannot recommend this tip enough, it is crucial for achieving a nice soft light. The third tip I have for you is one that I've never heard any food photography teacher say before and that is, never shoot with the light. When you shoot with the light, which basically means that the light sources is to your back, you're missing out on so much interesting dynamic light. When you're shooting with the light, you're only seeing part of the food that is lit with light and you're not seeing part of the food that is darkened by shadows. If you move to the side and you have the light source hit your food from the side, or hit your food from behind the light and you're facing the light source, it's going to add so much more light interest to your photos. So never shoot with the light source behind you, it just creates a really flat, boring photo, especially when it comes to food. That is the best tip I have for you when it comes to lighting, shoot with the light source to the side of your food or behind your food, that is crucial for capturing that really moody, emotional food look. 6. Styling: The next thing we're going to talk about is content and styling. Essentially content refers to the actual physical things in your photo, whatever that might be, the subject matter and styling is how those things are arranged to look good for the camera. When it comes to food photography, styling is incredibly important. The reason for that is because a lot of the time when food comes out of the kitchen, it doesn't really look that good. A good example of this is, when you see the McDonald's advertisements for this burger. The burgers look amazing and then you go to McDonald's and you order the burger and you're like, what is this? It looks nothing like the burger that I saw on the advertisement. The reason for that is because the McDonald's food photographers are amazing and they have these crazy good food stylists that sit there and measure everything out so it looks absolutely perfect for the photo. Sometimes the food does look really good and like the cafe I'm in now, they make sure that their food is served in a really beautiful way. That eliminates a lot of the problem for me. Sometimes when I go to a cafe or a restaurant, I order something that I want to shoot and then it comes out and it just doesn't look good. Sometimes I just don't shoot it because if the food doesn't look appetizing, it certainly won't look appetizing in a photo as well. One of the best tips I have for you when it comes to food photography styling is to use props. Props are basically everyday objects or pretty much anything that you're adding into your scene to help express that mood or that emotion that you want to express. I think props are so underutilized by a lot of food photographers, because they can really add so much depth and emotion to your photos. But one of the things to think about when you're using props is that they greatly impact your composition. A lot of the time, one of the biggest mistakes I see is people using way too many props and it just creates this really confusing and jumbled composition and it's so hard for your eyes to navigate around the frame. That's one of the things you need to think about is when you're adding props and you're styling your scene, is first of all, number 1, do those props help add to that story that I'm trying to tell? Number 2, how are those prompts affecting my composition or composition of my photo? At the end of the day when it comes to food photography, your goal is to make that scene look as natural as possible and make that food look as appetizing as possible. Utilizing props allows you to do that, but you can easily go too far and add too many irrelevant props and make a jumbled scene. Make sure that every prop you are adding to your scene is 100 percent. Fix that story line that you're trying to tell. It might even be a matter of taking out silverware, even though it's relevant, it just might be not exactly relevant to how you want it. Think about everything that you're adding into your scene and really evaluate if it should be there or not. With that said, styling is very much an artistic process and at the end of the day, you can't really be wrong. Anything you do because it's artistic process is right if you can justify it. If you say, "No I added this there because a lot of balance of the composition, etc, that's totally fine. I'm giving you these tips, but at the end of the day, your creative and I want you to push your comfort zone and try new things because that's how you will innovate as a creative and capture photos that you're really going to love and the other people are really going to love as well, those unique photos that you can really get behind. Try new things, be creative. These are just overall guidelines. 7. Composition: Now, it's time to talk about composition. Composition, like I said before, is that third factor of what constitutes a photo. We've talked about lighting, I've given you tips for that, I've given you tips for styling, and now we're going to talk about composition, basically bringing everything together and capturing it in an actual photo that you can share on social media or whatever you plan to use that photo for. As I said before, composition is basically how you arrange the subjects in the frame of your camera. There's two ways to adjust your composition, one is by moving yourself, or number 2 is by moving the things in your frame to make the composition better. Good composition requires you to do both of those things, and as you're going to see while I'm shooting, you're going to see me moving around, as well as moving things around on the table to make sure that the composition is exactly how I like it. With photography, there's so many different ways you can compose your photo. There's so many different types of compositions that work, that people use, and there's a lot of compositions that are different and unique that you can use as well. But in this course, I want to focus on some of the more foundational compositional techniques when it comes to food photography that you can use immediately and that are pretty simple to understand and that will definitely get you good results with your food photos. Essentially, there are three main compositions that look best with food. The first one is a simple 45 degree angle, and this is a really great angle because a lot of the time when we're looking at food, we're looking down on a table or were standing or we're looking down at a 45 degree angle and that's how we naturally always see food. We're not often looking at food at eye level unless it's at the grocery store where the food is unprepared, but 45 degree angles is natural for us and it's pretty simple. Basically, you just stand up and you take a photo down at a 45 degree angle. One of the things to think about when you're doing this is to, of course, invite your lighting and invite your styling, but you're going to want to compose things in your frame around that 45 degree angle. You don't want to have something directly behind your food because it can look distracting, so make sure when you're shooting at that 45 degree angle, you're evaluating how everything in the frame fits into that composition. You can do a variation of the shot by using a macro lens and getting really close to the food and you can still shoot it that 45 degree angle. But I'm going to talk about this later as why I don't really like those macro close-up shots. I don't really recommend that. I think it's overuse. I think a lot of people have been doing that for a long time and just isn't seeing that creative. But that's not to say it's wrong, but it is a possibility you can shoot at that 45 degree angle, get really close to your food with the macro lens and really have a big image with a lot of the food in the frame. The second compositional technique I want to talk about is probably the most popular form of food photography on Instagram or a lot of social media, and that is the vertical flat lay. The flat lay is exactly what it sounds like, you basically put all your food on the table and you take a vertical shot directly down onto your food. I think the reason why this form of food photography is so popular is simply because you don't need a really nice camera to take this type of photo. You don't need a fast lens with a low maximum aperture, you basically can use your iPhone to take amazing flat lay photos, and I think most of the flat lay photos that you see on Instagram are taken with an iPhone or a Samsung or some type of a smartphone. The reason for that is because a 28-millimeter lens on the iPhone or smartphones for that matter, is absolutely perfect for capturing a lot of subject matter on the table. When it comes to flat lays, lighting is less important than styling here. Styling is absolutely crucial and the reason for that is because, you have a big flat frame and you just make sure that everything is laid out in a really aesthetic way. One of the tips I have for you in capturing a good composition with good styling when it comes to flat lays, is to enable the grid lines on your smartphone or your camera and make sure that every intersection within your frame has something in it. Whether it's a plate of food or a side dish, or a glass of water or a cup of coffee, anything, make sure that every intersecting line has some type of subject matter in there. That will allow your eye to naturally navigate around the photo in a very simple way and it can look really cool. Alternatively, you can do a flat lay with a very minimal approach where you can put your plate of food right in the middle and basically just use the textures of the table, the textures of the floor or something that looks nice to fill the rest of the frame with an interesting negative space. Instead of adding a lot of jumbling prompts and stuff like that, you can just put a plate and then have everything around it blank and that will really put the focus on the middle on it more of a minimal approach, so it looks cool. Another creative tip I have for you is to put your food or your coffee or whatever you're shooting on the corner of a table and use the table's corners to add some diagonal lines of interest. That can look really cool, it can look really unique, I mean if you're lighting is good, it can be an absolutely killer shot. The third food photography composition that I have for you is called the holding shot. Essentially, it's exactly what it sounds like. It's having your friend or somebody that works there or whatever, pick up the food, the plate and hold it in front of them or hold it in a place that looks good. This is a really great composition, not only because you have hands and as human beings we like to see hands in the frame, which is just so cool, it adds emotion to it, but also you can have complete control over your lighting. You're not bound to a single table. For lighting, where you're sitting isn't very good, just pick up your food, go to a different part of the restaurant or cafe, and hold your food in that good lighting and then capture it. You have a lot of flexibility here and it adds a level of creativity that I think could be really unique. Even though it's done a lot, I think it can still be very unique. This is one of the compositional techniques that I think is really cool and it's very easy to learn. You can even take the food outside if the location is not that good. In fact, a lot of the time when I go cafe often with my friends and we want to shoot a piece of the cake, the lighting inside the cafe is just not great, so we'll take it outside, find some cool green bushes and shoot there, and I think that often creates a very cool look. With that said guys, these are just guidelines, and I don't want you to confine yourself to these compositions. There's so many different compositions that you can utilize and you should be creative and push yourself to come up with something different. Move around, try new things, push your limits, you're going to come up with something cool and unique. 8. Gear: Now I want to take a second to talk about gear and camera settings. When it comes to gear for food photography, you don't really need a big camera. If you guys have seen my smartphone photography course, you've seen me shoot food with an iPhone 8 plus and you've seen how amazing those photos are just from an iPhone. iPhones are incredibly good today in 2018, as well as a lot of the other smartphones now. They all have an amazing camera. You don't need a big DSLR to take good food photos. With that said, I'm a professional food photographer, so of course, I shoot with a DSLR. I'm actually filming on a DSLR that I shoot food with right now, but that is the Sony a7R III, which is Sony's flagship 42 megapixel camera. It's an absolute beast. I love it for food photography. But there's a lot of different cameras you can use. If I had to recommend one camera for you, for food photography, I would say get a full-frame camera, which means a 35 millimeter sensor. There are so many on the marketplace, and there's a lot of good ones out there. But I use this Sony a7R III, and I typically shoot with three different lenses. The first one is the 35 millimeter, which is on my camera right now. That's what you're seeing me through. It's the 35 millimeter lens. I use that one almost exclusively for flat lays. The reason for that is because when I have everything spread out on the table, a 35 millimeter is great because I don't have to stand on a huge chair just to take a photo down on the top of my food. With a 50 millimeter, it's going to be a really tight frame, because you're really zoomed in, but the 35 millimeter is fantastic for that. The 55 millimeter or the 50 millimeter lens is a classic and it's an amazing lens for food photography. The reason this 50 millimeter is so good for food photography is because it has very little distortion. When you're shooting food, having no distortion is crucial. It's also pretty versatile. You can take a lot of different types of shots with the 50 millimeter lens. If you had to get one lens for food photography or for a lot of different types of photography, I would say the 50 millimeter, it's a fantastic lens. The last lens that I use, and actually this is the lens that I use most of the time when I'm shooting food is the 85 millimeter f/1.4. The reason why I love the 85 millimeter so much is because 85 millimeters is where the cutoff is, where there's no more image distortions. There's no more distortions in your corners and what you're seeing through the frame, it looks as natural as possible. 85 millimeters is fantastic for that. It allows for a really shallow depth of field so you can really blur things in the background of your photo. If you wanted to blur some props and really put the focus on one part of your food, 85 millimeters is fantastic for that. With that said, it's limiting if you're in a small room. If you want to step back and get the whole table, and you want to get the corner of the room. The 85 millimeters isn't great for that. That's why I recommend the 50 millimeters. It's just a fantastic lens overall. When it comes to lighting, yes, I always use natural light. I've hammered that in this course a lot of. But sometimes, the natural light is too harsh, especially in the middle of the day. For that I use a 5-in-1 reflector. The inside of the reflector is a transparent white sheet. This white sheet, you can put it in front the window and when the light hits it, it will be much more soft. The light on your food will be soft and it will look a lot better than just having some really harsh sun hitting your food and casting a lot of weird shadows, and you have these really bright highlights. Essentially, you want the softest light as possible. For my camera bag, well, I have a few different ones. If you guys have seen my YouTube channel, you've seen all the bag reviews that I've done. Well, right now I really like the WANDRD PRVKE 31L. It's great for traveling, it looks cool and I can carry all of my food photography gear to my shoots, and it just works really well. With that said, if you guys want to see all of my gear, you can check that out on my website at seandalt.com/gear. I have basically everything listed there so you can see exactly what I'm shooting with, exactly what I use each lens for, etc. When it comes to camera settings, it's going to vary for each one of your photos. I don't often like it when people ask this question, what camera settings did you use for this photo? In my opinion, one of the only things that really matters is the aperture. The reason for that is because aperture is going to dictate the depth of your photo. The depth really helps add that emotion and get that mood across that you're trying to get across. A lot of the time, I'm shooting in a very wide aperture. f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2.0, f/2.8 and the reason why is because that allows me to create a lot of bokeh in the background. That bokeh looks really cool and a lot of people like bokeh. I'm shooting at wider apertures. With that said, when I'm shooting food, oftentimes I'll stop down to f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6. The reason for that is because the closer you get to your subject, the shallower that depth of field becomes. If you're shooting at f/1.4 and you're close to your subject, well, most of your photos is going to be out of focus. You have to stop down to a smaller aperture to get more focus throughout your frame. Another tip I have for you when it comes to camera settings is just to keep your ISO as low as possible. Keeping your ISO as low as possible will help you maintain an image quality, and it'll also increase your dynamic range. Basically, which means you'll have more information in the shadows and more information in the highlights, and when you go to edit, that dynamic range is important. Keep your ISO as low as possible. When I'm shooting food I'm usually shooting at a 100, 200, 400 ISO. I don't usually go above that of that because I don't really need to. With older cameras, you might need to, but with a Sony or any of the newer camera bodies out there, you don't really need to raise your ISO too much. 9. Common Mistakes: Guys, we are almost ready to start shooting but before we start shooting, I want to talk about some of the common mistakes that I think a lot of professional food photographers make when it comes to food photography. I've alluded to these throughout the course, but I really want to hammer these in so you are aware of them before we go into the shooting scene. The first mistake I see, and this is probably one of the most common mistakes I see with with everybody, is using indoor ambient lighting so not turning off the lights when you're shooting in a cafe or a restaurant or at home and relying on man made ambient light sources to fill your frame and make your food look good. It's just not going to happen. They all have weird colored tints. It's difficult to do it unless you know what you're doing with the proper flash. But the sun you can never go wrong with the sun. Always use natural light. Just ignore any kind of ambient light that you see and just use natural light.That's one of the best tips I have for you. The second common mistake that I often see is what I talked about in the lighting section, that's shooting with the light. It would mean if there was a window behind me, I would shoot with my back to the window and the reason that's not good is because it makes your food looks so flat and boring. If you're shooting your food, make sure that you have your light source to the side, either side or behind your food because that will add so much more dynamic lighting to your scene. It'll make your food look 3-D, and it'll make it look really appetizing and very beautiful, so make sure that you're not shooting with the light, shoot against the light or with the light to the side of the food. The third common mistake that I often see, and this is, you know, I was guilty of this for a long time as well, is shooting too close to the food. Getting really close up to the food and just taking a picture that way. When you do that, you're losing so much of the surrounding environment of that photograph that really adds to the story of that photo. There's a reason why street photographers have always shot with wide-angle 35 millimeter lenses. It makes it such a more difficult job because you have to get closer to the people on the street. It's a lot more difficult, but they use a 35 millimeter because it allows to see more in the frame and more subject matter that helps paint that story and tell that story about the person that they're photographing. Make sure you take a step back and get more into the frame. Your image is going to be a lot more interesting, where as if you're really close up to your food you're taking a macro shot. It is just boring. It works and a lot of the time it's going to be cool but if you step back and put more into the frame it is going to be much more impactful image. The fourth mistake I always see is not making sure that the food looks good before you shoot it. When something comes out of the kitchen, it doesn't always look good. Play with it a little bit. Make sure you are organizing the food in a way that looks good. If you get a piece of food and it just doesn't look good and it's not going to look good, sometimes you just got to take one from the team and just not photograph it. Sometimes I don't photograph my food because it doesn't look very good. Sometimes you can make it look, sometimes you can't, so take it in your stride, if you have good looking food shoot it, if you don't, just try your best to make it look good. The fifth common mistake I see is not utilizing props correctly. Oftentimes it is people adding props that just don't add to the scene and they just don't add anything meaningful to your image. A lot of people putting in their iPhones and their wallets and sometimes it looks really cool, but oftentimes I think it's just distracting. It distracts from your story, it distracts from the visual aesthetic, it just doesn't look good. If you're going to add props make sure, one, it adds to the style, and number 2, it's not going to overthrow your composition and your composition is starting to look really good. The last common mistake I see is shooting at too wide of an aperture. I think when a lot of us get our first DSLRs and our first fast lenses we want a shoot wide open all the time to get incredibly soft bouquet in the background. The problem with that is that when you're shooting food, you really need to make sure you're focus is in the right place. If you're shooting wide open with your fast lenses on a piece of cake, well, only a tiny bit of that cake is going to be in focus, so don't be shy to stop down to f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6 to make sure you're getting more deeper depth of field and just more focus throughout your frame. 10. Shooting: As we have talked about a lot of different stuff in this course, but now we're finally ready to start shooting. We're here at this lovely cafe, the Barista at p river in [inaudible] Mai, Thailand. We have this lovely set up here with props. We have this beautiful carrot cake that they gifted us and a bunch of other really interesting props. Before we really dive into the shooting thing, I want to talk about this location and why it's so amazing. The bottom line is because the light here is absolutely gorgeous. You can see this giant window here to my left. It's spilling in this beautifully soft light, and I've taken the curtain and I'm actually put it on the table to even soften that light more. We're shooting in the afternoon here, it's about 04:00 PM. The light is already really really soft. It's a great time to shoot. But coupled with this location and the darkness of this room with the lights turned off and this big window, the lighting is amazing. I think that's what makes this location so good is yes, the lighting, but also the fact that the styling of this location is just perfect. You know, the table, the wood, everything. Like I said, starting at the top, the lighting here is absolutely awesome. If you can see this cake here of my camera man walks up here and kind of zooms in on this cake. You'll see the gradient from light to dark, and that is what I was talking about when you want that really dynamic lighting, that light to dark gradient that makes your food look 3D. Actually where you're standing right now, right where the camera is, is a perfect location for that 45-degree angle composition that we talked about. But before moving onto those compositions and actually taking the photos, I do want to mention the styling here as well. You can see we have a lot of different props. We have, of course, the cake which in this matters, is the content or subject matter. We have some hipster plants here. We have a canali with a cool plate, a book, and then these candle sticks. Then one of the things that I did was I went to the store and I bought these fabrics and they were super cheap. But these fabrics add so much depth and interests to the photo it creates these lines of shadow. You can see the highlights and the shadows and just adds so much more interests to the photo. I think when it comes to styling, that is an awesome tip that I can give you. Go down to the fabric store, buy some super cheap fabric, and display that on a table. It will create so many different lines of interests in your photo, and it just adds so much more of a stylistic aspect to that story that you're trying to tell. Speaking of which in this situation we are trying to tell a story is something like a classy, vintage, rustic brunch or weekend dessert, a moody style, really emotional. That's what we're going for here. I think everything plays into that, especially the books here we have these candles, which I'm going to light when we start shooting. We have all of these props that are kind of feeding into that story, that peaceful, serene show environment, and then of course we have this beautiful cake in the middle, we are going to cut it. But I want to start off with shooting it just naked, just how it is now. Then we'll move on to cutting it and doing some of the other compositions that we mentioned. But that's about it. That's what I'm going to talk about, and now we're ready to start shooting. As I'm shooting I want you guys to look at the light, but look at my position, my body in accordance to the window, and if I'm shooting into the light, if I'm shooting against or with the light or how I'm arranging things because all of these things are very important as you're shooting. I've lined up the first shot. We're going to start with that 45-degree composition that I talked about earlier. That really common way, we always look at food from a 45 degree angle and that's why it makes such a good photo. I'm shooting with the Sony [inaudible] with the 85 millimeter f 1.4. This is, like I said, a fantastic lens for really making sure that there's no distortion in the photo. In this cake, we're going to shoot this cake and it's going to look absolutely awesome. I've laid up a shot. We have our main subject in the middle here, the cake, and then all of these things are just around the cake. They're not distracting too much, but they are adding to that scene. Let's take a few shots and see what we can do. The reason why I'm standing so far back is because the 85 millimeters has a pretty long zoom. I'm shooting out f 2.8 to make sure that we have a lot of focus throughout the frame. My ISO is about is about a 200, which is pretty low. Then my shutter speed is about 100th of a second. I absolutely love this shot here. It's very beautiful. We have a lot going on in the background, but I'm finding that it's not too distracting, and the reason for that is because it's pretty simple. We have this white cloth that's taking up a lot of the space in the background. You can see I'm just continuing to move around and try different angles because that's going to present us with a lot to choose from when we do go into editing. Actually one of the shots that I like to do is the standard hallway back and really get the whole corner of the room because there's just so much emotion to be halved when you can show the interior of the room as well. I'm going to do that. Very, very cool. I'm going to arrange stuff here. I really liked this first style that we had going on, but we have a bunch of props over here. I'm just going to play around with it and see what we can come up with something a little bit different. If you've got some books here, and we have these amazing little carnelis which they look really cool. When it comes to styling, like I said, there's no right way to do it. You just have to keep trying different things and you will eventually come up with a style that looks really good. I like to describe it as like organized chaos, you just throw things around and just put it in different places, and eventually it'll come out in a composition that looks really cool. I like using plants like this as well because they can just really add a lot of depth and interest to your photo. We have some coffee here, so a coffee bag that is adding to that theme as well as this little coffee thing. We can just try putting it back there. I'm actually going to light these candles as well because, why not, maybe it'll look cool in the photo, we have a lighter, so let's do it. Very lovely. Don't try this at home kids. This can be dangerous. But really they know what these open class and stuff it it could be dangerous. But actually this is interesting. Once you bring the camera over here, you can see what these candles are doing. They're actually casting an orange light onto the opposite side of the cake. In this situation, I think it could be cool because that is an order light source. It's contrasting the light source that we're getting from the window. Let's try that out. It's very lovely. I'm going to switch to the 50 millimeter lens here because I want to get more of the corner. That's why the 50 millimeters go to so she can get a little bit more in the frame. Wow. I want you to notice, one of the things I've talked about in this course is never shooting with the lights. I want you to stay cognizant of where the light source is. It's back there. I'm never shooting from here. Here is okay because we're still getting some dynamic lighting. But if I were to shoot from here, which is kind of impossible because there's no room, but if this was a bigger room, the light would be completely flat because I can't see the shadow. But if I'm shooting on this side, the light is cascading over the top of the cake, just creating this really interesting light dynamic and it just looks awesome. All right. But that is the 45-degree angle shot. It's the one that I use the most. If you go to my Instagram, most of my photos, if not all of them are shot on this natural 45-degree angle. Or maybe I'll move down and shoot horizontal to the item as well if I want to show the height and the depth of it. Like this cake, if I want to show how tall it is, I can move down and shoot on an equal level. I think shooting with cakes, that's okay to do but I do like shooting at a 45-degree because you can see the top of it and you can see that interesting light on the top of it as well. But that's all I got for you for the 45-degree angle. Let's move on to the flat lay. All right, guys. Now we're going to do the flat lay. I'm actually going to shoot this on my iPhone to show you that for a flat lay, you really don't need a DSLR. You can do it with your smartphone and still get an amazing photo. I've laid everything out here and just did a basic styling. I don't usually do flat lays but they're a really cool photo and I did want to talk about them. I have these three different fabrics that are creating a lot of interest around the frame. I have some coffee, I have two things of food, so a piece of that cake here in the middle and then I have some [inaudible] , some of these plants, everything just laid out in almost randomized but almost calculated randomized. So I'm actually going to stand up on a chair here. I took my shoes off so I can get in a good location here. You can see here once again, the light's coming in and we have a really moody shot now. It's about 5:15, so it's a little bit later in the day. We have a really moody shot here. I'm actually going to record my screen for you guys. One other thing I'm going to do is drag the exposure down here. So if you tap and then drag up, it's going to darken the exposure. I'm doing that because I want to have a really moody look with lots of shadows. There's a lot going on in this picture. In fact, I think there's a little bit too much going on. So what I'm going to do is take some of this out and just use more of that table. I'm going to do that by removing this whole gray cloth here because I just think there are so many different shadows on here. Usually, that's good but for a flat lay, I'm just finding it a little bit distracting from the food. I'm going to take out this big cloth here, this fabric but I'm going to leave this white one. I think the white one's pretty cool. Then we can have a diagonal line crossing through our photo. Get some forks in there, get some coffee in there, I do want to use these again, and I do want to use a book. Could just try different things. One of the things that I do like to use when it comes to flat lays is actually using ingredients. Because we're shooting here, I didn't really have access to them but that is a good choice. So let's try something like this. I actually do like this a lot better but I'm going to extend things out a little bit just to fill more of the frame here. I'll try that. I'm trying to fill every intersecting line here with something. In this case, we do have food in the middle but if I move this over and fill those four areas with something else, that might look cool. Then we can add maybe another corner of a book here in this one or we can just put that there. Put the book here. Let's try this out. Now we have all four of our intersecting lines. There's something there in all of them. I think that's a pretty cool shot. After editing and all that, it's going to look really awesome. But yeah, that's the flat lay guys. It's pretty simple. You can just really experiment with it. Throw different things on the table, move things around, and you're going to come up with an awesome photo. But with that taken care of, let's move on to the third compositional technique that I talked about, and that is actually having your friend hold the cake or hold something. I think that's a really cool stylized look. Let's move on to that. All right guys. Last but not least, we're going to do the handheld shots, where somebody is actually holding the food and you're taking a photo of it that way. That adds a lot of interest because having people in your food photos can add a lot of interest. I'm here with my camera man, Jesse. He's helped me throughout this whole course and now he is holding this beautiful cake for me. You can pretty much have anybody hold your food for you. I think the most important thing is to make sure that their clothes are matching that theme, that style that you want to portray in your photo. In this case, Jesse's are totally fine. So he's going to hold the cake here and it's like he's placing the cake down and then I'm photographing that moment of when he's placing the cake down. Same thing, I'm shooting with 85 millimeter at about f/2.0 because I'm going to stand back a little bit, get the whole corner of the room. I'm not getting his face because I want to keep the focus on the food but let's try this out. Perfect. Can you go down a little bit more, Jesse? Right there. Perfect. We're good now. I want you to set the cake down but just leave your hands there. Very nice. Yeah, I like that. You guys can't see me. I'm on a frame but I'm moving around and taking different angle shots here. Very cool. Now that Jesse has just done this, you can move around. I'm actually going to have Jesse pick up the cake and stand right here. I'm doing that because the window is right here, we have the darkroom here, and like I said, that light to dark gradient is going to look really cool. Jesse, I want you to pick up the cake and hold it right about here. Perfect. Right there. Nice. If I could change one thing here, I would have Jesse change his clothes but I think for the purpose of the course, I just want to display how important the lighting is for this scene and how you can come up with some really cool compositions by just moving around with the subject holding the piece of food. Very cool. You can do this with anything. We can do it with these [inaudible]. You can do it with any kind of food, just stand up and move around the cafe, you can come up with some really awesome shots. But yeah, that's all I got for you guys. I really hope this shooting session was helpful. Thank you so much to Jesse, my wonderful assistant. But yes, we talked about a lot of different stuff in the shooting section. I hope it was helpful for you guys. With that said, let's go and take a look at these photos. I'm going to teach you how I edit them from start to finish without using presets. Just going through the whole thing, the whole entire editing process for a few of these photos, and then we'll close out. Thank you guys so much for watching. Let's move on to the editing section. 11. Editing: Hey guys, what's up, and welcome to the editing room. We've taken a lot of awesome photos in this course, and I have selected five of some of my favorites not taken on the smartphone. We'll do that editing section after this, but these were all taken on my mirror-less camera, the Sony a7R III. I want to show you guys how I edit them. Typically, how I would edit these is I would use my presets. My cafe food presets, that's what I use for editing all my photos, but for the purposes of this course, I'm not going to do that. This is how it'd edit it with my Crisp Modern preset, but I'm going to show you guys how to do it from scratch and how to get a similar type of look. Here we are, and we are editing this raw photo from scratch. First off, when you are looking at the photo, one of the first things you'll notice is, yeah, it's incredibly dark, so I'm going to raise that exposure up to maybe right about pretty high. That is just going to create a general good exposure overall, it was a little dark. I usually shoot dark to maintain detail on the highlights. When you're shooting digital, it's good to underexpose. Next, I'm going to go down and bring the shadows up a little bit, and that's just going to increase our dynamic range. But then I'm going to take these blocks and really bring them down, and that's going to really enhance those dark areas and make them moody. Looking at this photo now, it seems very high contrast. That's okay, we're going to fix that in a little bit. Next, I'm going to take this white balance selector, I'm going to find a white area, and luckily we have this white curtain. I'm going to click here, and that's going to change our overall white balance. My opinion, it's too warm, so I'm going to bring this down and make it more blue. This is very much a stylistic thing. Some people like warm images, some people don't. I personally like cooler images. It's just the tone that I am more drawn to. Next, I'm going to go down and bring the vibrance down. Let's do minus 15. Let's try that out. That's just going to mute out the image a little bit and tone it down. Next, we are moving on to the tone curve, and this is where you can really make your photo unique with the tone. We're going to do just a basic S-curve here, so I'm going to put two points there, I'm going to drag the blocks down, but then in the corner, I'm going to drag it up. This is going to soften out those blocks. You can see what it's doing to these darker areas, it's going to soften them out and make it more of a softier moodier look. I'm going to do the same thing with the highlights here. I'm going to go in the corner, and I'm going to drag this down a little bit, if I can find it here. It's so small. Drag that down. That's going to soften out the highlights as well. Now looking at this image before and after, it's not doing it for me. I'm going to bring down the shadows a little bit, darken it up, and then I'm going go mess with the colors. I usually like to bring down the red saturation a little bit, maybe the oranges, but that's going to do too much. So in this case, I find this green destructing, I'm going to bring that green way down. Bring that green down a little bit. Looks pretty cool. As I'm editing the image, I'm often coming back to the basic adjustments here and just adjusting these things once more. That's something that you never stop adjusting. We got our tone curve done, and coming into the colors. This is going to vary for each photo. You can play around with it. In this photo we have a lot of blues. I like actually desaturating them a little bit, because then we get more of a cleaner white here. But I do like to have blues in my photos. If you guys have seen a lot of my images, I do have a lot of blue on their lining tones. There's two ways to do that. With my presets, I'd do it through the tone curve. It's a difficult thing to do and it takes some time, so I'm going to show you guys the second way to do it, and that is through, split toning here. I go to the shadow splits running here, click on the hue. I'm holding down alt on my computer, and that will show me 100 percent saturation for each color. As I drag this hue slider, you're going to see what this is doing. I'm going to find a color that I like, like a darker blue, maybe somewhere around here. I'm going to release alt and then I'm going to slowly drag up that saturation until we get a tone that we like. I want you guys to take a look at the overall image and look what this is doing. This is just adding blue into these dark areas. If you guys have seen my Instagram, you guys have seen these dark blue tones that I like to have, deep blue tones, the signature of my style. I think it adds so much depth and interests to the image. If you do want to offset it, you can go ahead and move this back. The temperature slider back, gets more oranges in there, and that's what I'll do. I'll usually play with the temperature sliders and then I'll offset it with the split toning to make sure I'm getting the colors that I really want. This is an image that I really like, and we can see the before and we can see the after, here. Before, after. I really dig in this moody look, crisp white's, this nice, blueish, deep, moody tone, very signature of my style. I would say this image is pretty much done. There's other stylistic things that you can do if you guys want to change it. Like I said, the temperature, if you want to add some clarity, make it a crispier image, you go add a little bit like 10, but overall, that's what I would do. We'd be going to these next images. Now that we've edited this one, and we've got our basic tone here, we can do develop. We can go to "right-click", develop presets, and we can go to copy settings, and we can copy everything. Usually I don't copy the crop and I copy everything else. Copy that. We'll go here, "shift", select all of the images, and then we can just go ahead and paste these settings onto these other photos. Sometimes it doesn't work the first time around so I'm going to do it again. There we go. Right off the bit, you guys are going to see this photo looks ridiculous, and that's because it's way over exposed. Simple, "double tap", "double-click" that and bring the exposure down to normal. The photo already looks really good. That tone just perfectly transfers over to our second image. I wouldn't even do anything to this. That's where the beauty of this comes from. When you edit that first photo, you can save that as a preset if you want to, and then just apply the presets over to the other ones or you can do it like I did, copy paste. Same thing moving on to the third image, clicking that exposure, bringing it down, and then just fine tuning here to make sure it's how we want it. Let me bring up these shadows a little bit. That is really cool. I love this one with the candles here, you can see the reflection on this out of the cake and there's so much going on. It's such an interesting photo. I absolutely love it. We are going to the fourth one here, same thing, bringing that exposure down, and then fine tuning. This one is also gorgeous. I love the colors here. I'm going to straighten it out a little bit and I'm going to crop some of that bottom. The bottom is an empty space there, it's not really necessary. I think that's pretty dope. Really loved that shot. Then this last one, of Jesse holding the cake, once again bringing down that exposure and then bringing it slowly back up. I'm going to do it less so here because we have a lot of bright highlights here. I like these darker areas, so I'm just going to raise the shadows a little bit, maybe. Fine tuning. Overall, that's how I would edit these photos. The signature thing you guys should think about, is bringing down these blocks and that's really going to enhance the moodiness of the photo, making sure your exposure is correct. But even this photo is still technically underexposed, even though I raised that exposure up. All of these photos are under exposed and I think that's one of the things with moody photos. Underexposing them is going to make them look really moody and really having a lot of shadows and darker areas. The next thing that's really a signature of that is the tone curve here. Bringing up this corner, is going to soften out those blacks, it's going to look really cool. The last thing, remember is the split toning in the shadows area, and that just adds a lot more color, depth and interests to the photo. You can add whatever color you want, that's signature of your style, so it doesn't matter what that might be, but experiment with it, find a style that works for you. Lightroom is a great tool and if you guys don't have it, I highly suggest you get it, and you can play around and get the look that you really want. But that's all I got for the computer editing session. Now, I want to show you guys how I edit the flat lays using my mobile phone, so let's move on to that. All right. Guys, here we are in the mobile version. We're going to edit the photos from the flat lay here. What I usually do is, just like my computer, I edit using my presets and I do that on Lightroom Mobile because Lightroom Mobile allows you to edit with presets, which is great. What I'll do, is usually I'll find one of the photos that I like, I'll scroll over here to presets, and then I'll find my cafe phone preset pack and I'll apply the one that I always love, and that's Crisp Modern. I love Crisp Modern because it adds these darker blue tones, it adds a little bit of crispiness and it's just overall my favorite preset for food. Then I'll go ahead and drag the exposure down, maybe adjust highlights, and boom, that's about it. There's the before, there's the after, before and after. But I told you guys that I want to teach you how to edit without using presets, and I'm going to do that. For the longest time, if you've seen my other courses, I've showed you guys, I love to edit in VSCO. VSCO is an awesome editing app on mobile. I've added some of the photos here from the course. Go ahead and tap on the first one, and then you can go here and you can select different filters, and there's a lot of really awesome filters. VSCO is like the king of mobile filters. They've done such a good job creating interesting filters that give you a vintage film look, and just an overall really cool artistic look like this one. I love HB2 here, really adds that dark and moody tone to it and softens those blocks. Just looks awesome. I always use A6. A6 is my go-to. It's just an amazing preset. Actually, the flat lay photos that you saw in the shooting section where all edited with this preset A6. After I add A6, I can go here and I can actually go to HS tone, and I can bring down those highlights a little bit because I like to bring down the highlights that are often very distracting. Actually, I think it's okay, but then you can also soften the shadows here. You can go to exposure, you can adjust the exposure if you want to make it a little bit darker, you can add fade, et cetera. There's a lot you can do in this app and if you upgrade, you can even get HSL sliders and you can edit like you do in Lightroom, which is amazing. That's how I'll edit that photo and the same as I'm going on looking at different photos. Go here. This one, I already added the A6 filter to it, there's before, there's the after. There's before, there's the after. It adds so much interests, so much depth to the photo. Like I said, for the longest time I edited all of my Instagram photos using this VSCO app. That's before I develop the presets and all that, I loved editing in this app. A lot of people still do it, and it's amazing. But with that said guys, that's pretty much all I got for you guys. Go ahead and download this app, experiment with it. You're going to find some awesome presets, and they're all going to look good on your photos. Thank you once again for watching this section. If you guys are interested in checking out my presets, they are available on my website. They work on both Lightroom PC, Mac, and also Lightroom Mobile, so you can edit on your phone, just like I showed you in the beginning of this mobile editing section. But that's all I got for you. Let's move on to the next section. 12. Conclusion: Alright guys. We've covered a lot of information in this course. We talked about the anatomy of a food photo, I gave you tips for shooting and editing, we talked about a lot of different things, but before you go, I want to talk about a few different things in depth a little bit. As we said before the anatomy of a food photograph is lighting, in solving and composition. One of the things that I want you to remember is that, yes, these play a very significant role in the visual acidic, but they play an even more important role in the story, the emotional aesthetic. That's one of the things I want you to think about going forward is what story is your photo trying to tell. What is that story, how are you going to tell it, and how are those three things, lighting, as tiling, composition going to come together to create a cohesive story that's meaningful and that's going to elicit an emotional response in your viewer. I gave you a lot of tips to help master those things, aligning sign composition. That the end of the day, it is up to you, the creative to think outside the box, try new things and come up with images that are unique to your style and your vision. Don't be confined by the things that I've talked in this course. Feel free to branch out and try new things. Look at inspiration from other photographers and make sure that you are just continuing to shoot and learn from others and grow as a food photographer, the more you shoot, the better you're going to get and the more meaningful your photos are going to become. With us had guys, thank you so much for taking this course. We've covered a lot of information in this class and I'm really glad that you stuck through the entire way with me. I hope it was helpful for you in some way. Before you go. I urge you to do the course project. I love looking at your photos, whether the your photos, your inspiration. I especially like it when you post your photos and inspiration because that helps me get inspiration as well. I'm always on the lookout for more inspiration for every type of photography that I do, especially food photography, because the sensor controlled environments. Please take the time to do the course project. I can't wait to hear from you. You guys can check now Instagram very active across a lot of photos there. I'm at Sean Dalton. Please leave a review if you'd like to course, it is very helpful for me. Thank you so much for watching. I can't wait to do another course in the future, so please follow me on Scotia. She can get notified when I release my next course. Thank you guys so much and I'll see you in the next one. Have a great day.