Food Styling Techniques: Create Your Delicious Photography Portfolio | Rose Nene | Skillshare

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Food Styling Techniques: Create Your Delicious Photography Portfolio

teacher avatar Rose Nene, Photographer and Videographer

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.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Plan, Prepare and Style


    • 4.

      Plan: The best way to get started


    • 5.

      Prepare: Basic styling tools


    • 6.

      Prepare: Props


    • 7.

      Style: Salad


    • 8.

      Style: Soup


    • 9.

      Style: Main dish


    • 10.

      Style: Dessert


    • 11.

      Shooting angles, Lighting and Composition


    • 12.

      Intro to Editing


    • 13.

      Editing on a Smartphone


    • 14.

      Editing on a Computer


    • 15.

      It's Your Turn!


    • 16.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Do you enjoy plating and styling food? Me too! In this class I will show you steps and behind the scenes of how a delicious food photo is created. 

This class will teach you how to do Food Styling. You will learn how to intentionally plan and select props. You will also learn how to use layering, color harmony and storytelling in Food Styling. 

A food stylist is to food photography, what a fashion stylist is to fashion photography. Food styling helps create stunning food pictures by arranging the scene in a visually appealing way that makes the food look even more desirable! This is extremely helpful today if you want to create a strong online presence through your food photos.

Whether you are a food blogger, restaurant owner, content creator, food photographer, a foodie, a home cook or you are someone who just wants to beautifully present your dish, then this class is especially made for you.

Rose is a Food and Product Photographer and Videographer. She has spent many years studying photography and videography. She and her husband gained recognition through wedding highlight videos and food photography for local businesses in the Philippines. She will teach you her 3-step workflow that will level up your food styling skills. She created this workflow after experimenting with hundreds of personal projects and brand photoshoots. 

By the end of the class you will be styling a soup, a salad, a main dish and dessert. Everything you need is in resources :) Let’s start styling and create scroll stopping food photos! See you in class!

Meet Your Teacher

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Rose Nene

Photographer and Videographer

Top Teacher

Hi there! I'm Rose, and I'm here to help you level up your photography and videography game. With a background in events, food, and product photography, I've been through it all, including those times I made mistakes and invested in gear and props that ended up collecting dust.

My mission is to share all those valuable lessons with you, so you can avoid the pitfalls and fast-track your skills. Whether you're an aspiring photographer or videographer, my experience can be your guide. In my classes, I offer you all the wisdom I've gathered, guiding you through avoiding common mistakes and mastering essential techniques to enhance your photography and videography skills. :)

Why I teach?

I believe that education makes the w... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Hi there. In this class, I will teach you how to do food styling. My name is Rose. I am a Photographer and Videographer. Most of my work includes weddings and events, videography, product photography, but my favorite is food photography. This is my recent work for a local brand where I styled and photographed their entire pizza menu. This local business used my photos for social media ads and getting accepted into an online food delivery platform. That soon resulted in an increase in their overall revenue. Yes, beautiful and professional looking images of food can make a huge impact, especially online. Whether you are a food blogger, restaurant owner, content creator, food photographer, a foodie, a home cook, or you're someone who just wants to beautifully present your dish, then this class is especially made for you. You won't be needing fancy gears to participate in this class. For your class project, you will just be needing your camera, maybe DSLR or a smartphone, basic food styling materials, and the food to style. We will be styling a soup, a green salad, a main dish, and dessert. By the end of this class, you will learn how to style a plate in a scene. You will learn how to arrange, layer, and style food so you can create a stunning and scroll-stopping image out of it. We will learn about basic styling tools, composition techniques, and basic photo editing. I hope you are excited as I am. See you in the first lesson. 2. Class Project: For your class project, you will be styling a soup, a salad, a main dish and dessert. I attached PDF guides at cheat sheets to help you in doing your class project. You will be needing the food to style, ingredients, props that can be found in your kitchen and your camera may it be smartphone or a DSLR. Don't worry about making it perfect and fabulous the first time. You will learn and get that thereby consistent practice. If you are not happy with your work the first time, take note of the improvements that you want to make and repeat the process. This is how we improve and become an expert. Finish the class and start styling one dish. It could be a soup, it could be a main dish, a salad or dessert. Start by choosing just one dish to style and go from there. You can absolutely follow the recipe I used for this class. Everything you need is in resources. Have fun. 3. Plan, Prepare and Style: Welcome to this lesson. We are now officially diving into food styling. First things first, what is food styling? Food styling is the art of preparing food to be photographed and filmed. This can be as simple as shopping for fresh and perfect looking ingredients to staging a four course meal. A food stylist is to food photography, what a fashion stylist is to fashion photography. Food styling helps create stunning food pictures by arranging the scene in a visually appealing way that makes the food look even more desirable. All throughout the class, I will teach you the three important steps to help you succeed in food styling. These three steps are: plan, prepare, and style. I developed these steps from years of experience and countless photo shoots. In the coming lessons, I will unpack these three steps, one by one, starting with planning. See you there. 4. Plan: The best way to get started: When I started doing food photography, food styling is where I struggled the most. My main problem was, I don't know where and how to start. After many failed photo shoots and food styling, I figured that my biggest mistake was not planning, whether in food styling or any other creative skill you are cultivating, planning is very important. This is where you brainstorm and get inspiration. The reason why it was difficult for me to start is because I wanted to start from scratch, even if there is an easier way to do it. That is number 1, to get ideas from other people. Today, before I do food styling and photo shoots, I check Pinterest, cookbooks, magazine's, Instagram, and other resources to get my creative juice flowing. This is why I don't have to start from scratch. For example, for this class, I will be styling rice porridge, a green salad dish, and a dessert. One way for me to get my inspiration and ideas is Pinterest. I can just type the food that I will be styling. For this example, it will be chocolate milkshake for our desert. As you can see, I will have a lot of inspiration and ideas from other people, so what I can do is I can just save it, so I'll just create a board for it and I'll name it, "chocolate milkshake," and then create, and that's it. I can just scroll and check for more inspiration that I like and I'll add it to that board that I created, so chocolate milkshake. Depending on the feel and the look that I want for our milkshake and our desert. From there I will just go to my boards and go to chocolate milkshake, and it will show me all the ideas, and from there I can just check out the styling and the prompts that I can use or ideas that I can get from these inspirations. This will help me in the selection of props, backgrounds, composition, etc. I did most of my research and brainstorming before shooting this lesson, so I already have my other boards in here. As you can see, this is for the main dish, this is for the soup, which will be a rice porridge, this will be for our green salad, and of course for our desert, a chocolate milkshake. I also have a cookbook to get more ideas with props and food styling. Next is recipe testing. Now that I have ideas of how my final image will look, and I have decided what food I will be styling, it's time for me to do a test run. This is perfect because, number 1, you will discover problems that may occur on the actual food styling and photoshoot. Number 2, it's not the actual photo shoot, so you can eat the food right away. For this class, I did a test run on the rice porridge and the main dish, and I found out that this is very challenging for me to style those two dishes at the same day, so there was a lot of chopping and cooking and when it's time to style, I was very tired already. Top tip, have someone assist or help you in cooking and styling. If you will be doing everything by yourself and you will be shooting multiple dishes, take it easy and do it one dish per day. Another problem that I discovered is that most of the ingredients change their appearance over time, the chicken looked dry and sad, the rice porridge is changing color and consistency. For the actual food styling and photoshoot, I will be setting aside ingredients and cooking it separately. Once everything is ready, I will use the freshly cooked ingredients to style the food. To recap, the best way to start is by planning, getting inspiration and ideas from different resources. It's okay to copy other people's ideas at first as long as you will be incorporating your unique touch on it. Next is doing a recipe tests to find out problems that may occur on the actual day of food styling and shooting. In the next lesson, I will show you simple styling tools that you may already have in your kitchen or your house that can help create stunning food photos. See you there. 5. Prepare: Basic styling tools: Welcome back and welcome to my studio. This is just a spare room in our house which became my food studio. This is where I do 90 percent of my food styling and photo shoots for clients and personal projects. This is where I have plenty of space to move around and to shoot food. This is also the best place in the house to get natural lighting. But since it's night time, I will be using my artificial LED light. Moving on to styling tools. Do you ever find yourself looking at a photo and saying to yourself, "Wow, how did they do that?" I remember looking at a perfect pie with perfectly positioned crumbs, chocolates sundaes with spills that looks like perfect accidents, and salads that look like they were styled and arranged by the gods. When I gained more experience in food photography, I discovered that these beautiful photos are achieved with the help of tools that are very accessible and affordable, starting with tweezers. This little thing can help you make delicate tiny changes. This can help you precisely position tiny garnishes and ingredients. It can also help you remove and move tiny and fragile objects in your scene. I am sure you will discover more uses as you go along, but I'd recommend that you include tweezers in your styling kit. It doesn't matter if it's a professional culinary tweezer or just the plain ones that you can buy from beauty shops, as long as it serves its purpose, then you're good to go. The next tool are sharp knives. Yes, it has to be sharp because you will be needing to make flawless cuts. With that said, I also recommend having a knife sharpener in your styling kit as well. Another tool that you will find helpful is a funnel. You can use this with drinks and soups. This will help you avoid marks from slashes on the side of your bowl for soups or your glass for drinks. Next are brushes. This tool can help you with many things starting from intentionally brushing salad dressing, instead of just pouring the dressing into the salad, which can affect the overall appearance of your salad. Another use is when you want your dry ingredients to appear alive and shiny by applying a bit of olive oil. You can also use the brushes to brush away crumbs, clean your plate and you're scene. Another favorite styling tool for me are squeeze bottles. Instead of directly putting sauces and your liquids to your food, you can use squeeze bottles to make it look flawless and fabulous. You will see me using squeeze bottles to juice oil olive oil into the soup in the demo lessons. Finally, and a must have for me are dried herbs and garnishes for that fabulous final look. Please don't be limited to just dried. You can definitely collect fresh ones by growing them. I personally have a parsley plant because I use it a lot as garnish. This styling tools are just some of the basics and commonly used. As you go along and style your food, you might end up owning more and discovering household items that are useful in food styling. I hope you will remember me and let me know. In the next lesson, I will share with you three things I wish I knew about props. See you there. 6. Prepare: Props: Welcome back. Don't judge. But I wasn't that emotional creating this lesson. I remember when I was just starting out, I felt so inferior, especially when I compared my food photos with other people's work. I felt such a loser and I would stop practicing for weeks. But then a client would call me or contact me, so I don't have a choice but to continue shooting and improving, not just for me but for the people who believed in me. Because of this, I had to face the truth. I kind of suck with food photography props. Sp that is where I spent time studying, practicing, and building a better prop collection. Here are three things I wish I knew about prop styling when I was just starting out. Number 1, it does not have to be gigantic. The food is the hero, the star. Props are just the supporting cast, so they can't be bigger than the food or else they will be distracting. Number 2, it does not have to be colorful. When I was just starting out, I thought the more colorful my scene and my setup, the better. But unfortunately, my final photos look like a joke. I had to really study color theory to be able to use color and to tell a story and create a compelling food photo. Props are better if they have neutral colors. So you can use them multiple times and you can match them with many dishes, like this. The ones that I have in front of me right now are neutral colored props. I now shop for props that have neutral colors and have those unique characteristics that can add a visual interests to my overall scene and my overall photo. Next, number 3, it has to have purpose. Sorry, but going back to my unfortunate past and beginner mistake, I spent a lot of money shopping for props that I could not use. Why? Because they don't serve a purpose in my photo shoots. For example this thing right here, which I don't even know how to call. I got it early this year, but have not used it until now because it is so big and usually does not have a purpose in my photo shoots for brands. So what they do now is plan my photo shoots. I look for ideas, do a recipe test before buying additional props. If I have personal projects, I usually plan my photo shoots based on the current prop collection that I have. I learned the hard way that I need to be subtle when selecting props in food styling. It can be as simple as just the one table napkin, one fork, and a cup of tea. The goal is to tell the story, to invoke a feeling or emotion when your viewer sees your photos. For example, for this green salad, I wanted a light and airy breakfast look, so my props included a white surface, a white plate, a white bowl, this cute dispensers, a book, this table napkin, and a fork. For this other dish, which will be the main dish in this class, I wanted a rustic look, so I use this wood background and these props to support the story. I also followed the analogous color scheme for yellow. You'll notice that the main colors here are shades of yellow, green, and orange. Basically, be intentional when selecting props. Consider the size, the color, and the purpose. Our goal is to make the food stand out by intentionally using props. Your prop should support the story you are trying to tell when styling. Be subtle and intentional when selecting props. Props does not have to be gigantic, it does not have to be colorful, and finally, it needs to have purpose. In the next lesson, we will finally get our hands dirty. We will proceed with the actual food styling. See you there. 7. Style: Salad: Welcome to the food styling demo lessons. Now that we're done with planning, getting inspiration, testing a recipe, selecting backgrounds and other props to support this story, and the final image we want to create, it is time to actually style the food and the scene. I mentioned in the previous lesson that working with food can be challenging because it changes color and appearance over time. A tip that really helped me with this are dummies, blocks, and stand-ins. You heard that right. Just like in the movies, but this time stand-in for the food. The first step is to set everything such as the background, the table, or the surface, the placing of props, and all of the things you need, except the actual food. You can use dummies or blocks or absolutely anything to mark where the plate with the actual food will be. In this case, I will use this bigger plate so I know where exactly the ball will be, so there's no need for me to use blocks or dummies to mark the position of my food. But later in the styling of the main dish, I will be using actual blocks to mark the position of the plate. I added this plate to add layer. This is a common and powerful food styling technique, adding layers using props and adding layers on the food itself. In this case, the table is my first layer. The second layer is the table napkin, then the plate, and finally the bowl where the salad will be. That gives me five layers, including the food. Layering creates depth, texture, and visual interests. Now, for me to really see how my final image will look, I will use a stand-in or anything with the same color or characteristics of the food so I can rearrange the props and make adjustments through the entire scene. For the salad, I wanted a breakfast salad look, and I wanted it to look light and airy. Here are the props that I selected. I could not find a newspaper so I ended up using this book. I used white prop, so it will be consistent with the look that I was going for. I included this banana because I feel that it would contribute to the breakfast look. You can do the same thing if you want to replicate a breakfast scene. What would be the things that you can include to your scene to help tell that story? It could be a cup of coffee, a newspaper, an orange juice, pancake, fruits, etc. Once everything is set, the next step is to style the food. I mentioned into styling tools lesson that it is important to have a sharp knife in your styling kit because you will be doing a lot of chopping and cutting. Now that I have everything chopped and ready, it is time for me to style our green salad. Since I am using a bowl, I'll be using this smaller bowl turned upside down to give our salad a little lift. I have perfect and imperfect cooking lettuce. I will start with the ones with the holes and flaws and then I will just cover it up with the more or the nicer looking lettuce or the perfect looking ones. But of course you can, sauce perfect looking leaves for your salad, that'll be better. As you can see, I'm still covering up those holes and those imperfections and trying to fill the bowl with leaves or the lettuce leaves. I am using a Romaine lettuce for this salad. It was actually fresh and beautiful when I got it, but then it took me a whole bunch of these to do this demo, that's why some of them became a bit sad. Moving on to our cucumbers, as you can see, this is how I cut the cucumbers, so it will be consistent with how the eggs and the tomatoes are cut. I'm just using a tweezer just to help me make those precise positioning of the cucumber, making sure I don't do so much damage with a lettuce. Next are the tomatoes. Same card quartered, and later on you will understand why I only have three tomatoes, why I have three eggs, and then I have seven cucumbers. Then to top it all off is our yellow onions. As you can see, I'm using these ingredients to create different layers and textures, patterns, and visual interests to our salad. For the final touch, I will be brushing the dressing, instead of pouring it just to create those nice highlights. When the light touches our food, it will create that nice glow and highlights. That's a tip when styling salad. Instead of pouring in the sauce or the dressing, it will be better to just suddenly rush the dressing or intentionally put the dressing or the sauce into your salad instead of just pouring it in. Here is our styled and plated green salad ready to be photographed. Here are styling top tips. Number 1, style with fresh ingredients. Even just one rotten ingredient can ruin the food styling you worked so hard for. For me, I grow some of my garnish. If this is not possible for you, you can connect with someone near your place who can supply you with fresh ingredients. I do this for some of my ingredients needs. I have a friend from the farmers market who supplies me with fresh Romaine lettuce, kale, tarragon, cherry, tomatoes, mint, etc. Next is to cut your ingredients intentionally, using the bean salad as an example, the tomatoes and eggs are quartered. The yellow onions are sliced vertically and the cucumber is cut this way to create harmony and consistency in the appearance of the ingredients. In the next lesson, I will show you how I style the soup for the rice porridge. See you there. 8. Style: Soup: For the rice porridge, I wanted to focus more on styling the food, so I selected very few preps. Again, just setting up the background and the surface, and just a couple of preps. You can go as simple as a table napkin, a chopping board for that extra layer, and soup spoons. Once everything is ready, it's time to style the food. Because this will pass a thicker consistency, I can already fill the bowl to my preferred height. But if you will be cooking and thinner soup, I recommend using a funnel. All you need to do is to fill the bowl halfway, position it in your scene and when it's final use a funnel to add the remainder of the soup to avoid creating a ring around the sides of the bowl when it's moved. The next step for me will be adding the ingredients one by one, starting with the chicken. I'm using these tweezers to help me position the chicken. As you can see here, I'm just filling up just one side of the bowl to create a negative space. My very first layer is the rice porridge, then my second layer is the chicken, and then the next layer will be the ginger. I did it this way because I want the ingredients with vibrant colors to be at the outer layer. As you can see, the chicken has a very neutral color, so that's why I placed it at the very bottom after the actual soup or the rice porridge. Now, I'm putting in the the toasted garlic. For the garnish, I'm putting in spring onions. To add a little twist, instead of me chopping the spring onions, I did it this way to create those three lines and to support the look that I was going for and I'm just adding dried oregano to add more texture and layer. That's why I love herbs or dried herbs. To top it off, I'm drizzling it with olive oil in a linear direction. Again, to be consistent with the shape and the pattern that we are going for, and this is our final result. For the second version, I will be building up from the center. Instead of having an empty space, I will try to create a circle pattern for this second version. Again, starting off with our chicken because of its color, but I love the texture, so that's why I wanted it to be shredded. You can actually opt to shred or to put whole chicken or the real parts of the chicken here but then I opted for shredded ones because of the texture. But again, I'm putting it at the very bottom of the layer next to the soup because of its color, so followed by this nice round ginger and then of course our toasted garlic for the next layer. Just making sure it's evenly spread so it looks balanced and just using my tweezers to give me a little help with the positioning of the garlics. That is a really powerful styling hack using tweezers. Of course, our spring onions, this time chopped to match the pattern and the look that I was going for for this version, making sure it's evenly distributed and balanced looking. Of course, dried oregano for that additional texture and layer. Finally, I will be drizzling olive oil in spiral pattern to support the shape and the pattern that we're going for for this second version. Here's the final result. Here are styling top tips. Take advantage of color, shapes and pattern to suggest consistency in styling. Next, use layering to create depth and visual interest. In the next lesson, I will show you how I will be styling the main dish, which is the Peruvian Arroz con Pollo. See you there. 9. Style: Main dish: I wanted to show you different ways that I would style food and a scene. For the main dish, I decided to create a rustic look. Starting with our surface and our background so we can see that I'm using an office table, so I'll be needing this backdrop to create an illusion of a different surface. I'll be using this background just in case it will be shot or it will be included in the frame. This is the plate that I chose for this setup. Followed by the napkin, the spoon, and fork. Then the other props to support the rustic look that I wanted for this setup. This is actually the time that I'll be using blocks to mark the plate. I mentioned before that you can use blocks, dummies, standings to help you with your styling. We can definitely use this technique when you want the mark a bowl, plate or anything in your scene, and that's how it works. You just remove it and voila. This is how you use standing. I'm just using those papers. I will get an idea of how my scene will look like using this standings. I know it's not very accurate, but then it helps. Then for this setup, I decided to add this chopping board as an additional layer. Because I have this chopping board, once I styled the food, I won't be needing the blocks and the dummies anymore. I'll just continue on styling the scene. Adding this parsley all over the scene. With styling, you can actually start with just a few props and then just build from there. You can start taking photos with just three props on your scene and continue to add, and take for those and see which one is better. In this case, I'm adding chili flakes. These are the ingredients of our main dish. That's why I'm adding them to the actual scene. For this setup, I am following the analogous color scheme for yellow. If you are following the analogous color scheme for yellow, you can use other colors such as green and orange. That's why, as you can see, my props and the other objects that you see on this setup are circled around the shades of green, yellow, and orange. I'm just adding these props, I got this online. I don't even know what it's called, but I feel like it will add a bit of accident and color and a different feel to the overall scene, like I mentioned, we can use orange. I feel like I can use this and it won't distract from our food once it's ready. Just making sure it's balanced, looking and it's not awkward. Making sure all the areas have those, I think those are pebbles. Once we're ready, we're going to style the actual food. To start, I'll be putting in our rice. I put the chicken on a different plate so that I can distribute the rise and position it perfectly on the plate. I'm just following the circle on the plate to position the rice. Don't worry about those cramps, I will be removing it later. Thank you tweezers. Next, I'll be putting in the chicken. I'm adding chili flakes because our chicken, I feel like lacks texture and color. That's why I added chili flakes and adding more green peas that I mentioned before, that I cooked separately so that I can add it and help balance the scene, and the plate and the food. I'm adding in our banana for another layer. Of course, just brushing in some olive oil to make it a bit shiny because it's a bit dry, even though I just cooked it. Just adding more onions, garlic, and bell pepper to add layer and balance. Later in the following lessons, you will understand why I only have three bananas and why I selected the number of props and the number of ingredients that I put in the scene and the food. Of course, to top it off, I'm putting in fresh parsley for the garnish and using paper towels to clean the place. Finally, putting our plated styled main dish to our styled scene. This is the final result. Here are styling top tips. Use garnishes like fresh or dried herbs to add texture and interest to the overall look of the food. Make sure to review the color wheel or any color harmonizer tool to help you create compelling and scrolls topping food photo. We are almost done. In the next lesson, I will show you how I styled a chocolate milkshake. See you. 10. Style: Dessert: Welcome to the final food styling demo for this class. Last, but definitely not the least, is our chocolate milkshake for dessert. This is going to be a bit tricky because we are dealing with liquid and whipped cream, so we need to be quick. This is when planning and putting your ideas on paper is super helpful. You can just review them and focus on the styling. For our milkshake, since the milkshake and chocolate are color brown, I check what is the color complimentary to brown. It turns out, it's the color blue so that's why I selected this background and surface. This is just a cheap backdrop that I ordered online. The one holding it is just a T-stand. Starting off with our second layer, which is the chopping board. Our first layer will be the table or the surface. Then second layer is the chopping board. Actually, I added another layer, which is these pages from an old book because I can't use a table napkin for this scene. Next is our glass for the milkshake. Just checking the position. Of course, a stand-in, milkshake is color brown, so this will do. Of course, our chocolate chips, our sprinkles. These are the ingredients of the milkshake. You can definitely do the same thing when styling. You can use the ingredients to fill in the frame. I'm just making sure that it looks organic and not totally staged. I added this, I think these are tableas. Since our milkshake is a dark chocolate milkshake, I added these tableas. Again, you will understand why I positioned it that way, and why it's just three. So far, it's looking good for our set-up. Let's go ahead, and style the milkshake. As you can see here, I am using a lint-free microfiber towel so that my glass won't have fingerprints and smudges. I'm starting with this trick that I recently learned. To add drama to the rim of the glass, using chocolate syrup, and dipping it into sprinkles, to give us this effect. My favorite part is putting the whipped cream, nicely done. Of course, the sprinkles. More sprinkles for added texture and layer, and the chocolate syrup, using a squeeze bottle so that it looks fabulous, and it's not messy. It's more controlled that way. I'm just adding in more chocolate chips. I think I'll be adding in five chocolate chips here. Perfect. To top it off, our cherry, and using these two straws for that final look. Finally, putting it to our scene. Here's the final result. Styling top tips. When using glass to style, use a lint-free microfiber towel to dry and get them sparkling. Use gloves or towel, when moving and styling your glass or your drinks to avoid smudges and fingerprints on the glass. Just a recap from all the demo lessons. We learned that the technique for food styling are creating layers to make it look visually appealing. Next is to be intentional when cutting ingredients and garnishes, making sure it is consistent with the look that you are going for. Another technique is to use a fresh ingredients so the food will look vibrant and delicious. Remember, that we eat with our eyes first. That is why food styling is an important and fun skill to learn. If you are any restaurant owner, an influencer, or a food blogger, it is important that you practice and cultivate the skill of making food look delicious on camera. Final technique is using color harmony when selecting props and the ingredients. This is how you keep your viewers eyes glued to your food photos. In the next lesson, I will show you the angles and composition I use to get these final images. 11. Shooting angles, Lighting and Composition: Now that we have our setup and our food ready, it's time to take pictures. How many shots do we really need? I usually go for 3-5 strong images per dish or per setup. Next, what is the best angle to shoot? There is no right or wrong answers to this really, it will depend on the food that you are shooting, but the four commonly used shooting angles are eye level or straight on, 45-75 degrees angle, overhead, and close-up. Eye level or straight on are best for drinks, overhead are best for soups and food with design and pattern like pizza. What they do is take photos using different angles. From here you can seen which angle is more appropriate and sometimes all angles look great. Next is lighting. Just in case you're not familiar with lighting yet, this is actually one of the most important factors when shooting food photos. You want your food to look vibrant and delicious. Make sure that when you are taking photos of food, you consider the source and the direction of lighting. If you don't have access to a professional artificial lighting, you can definitely use natural light from the sun. To do this, you just need to set up your table or your scene near a window or a door with adequate lighting. You can position your setup lateral to the light source, diagonal or even at the back, creating a nice backlighting effect. Notice that I did not recommend front lighting. Front lighting can be achieved by using a flash from your camera or your camera phone or any light source position in front of the food. This is not a very flattering when it comes to food photos. It creates a flat looking image. Food photos standout because of depth and texture. To get depth and texture, you need light from the side of the food. This creates shadows and a 3D effect in the overall image. Next thing to consider when photographing food is composition. Once you have your props and the food, the next question is, how do you arrange everything in the frame? Common composition techniques in food photography are rule of thirds, rule of odds, leading lines, shapes and patterns, negative space, and using foreground. The rule of thirds is following this grid line as a guide. Most cameras and smart phones have grid line functions which can be turned off and on. Basically you place the subject or the food on the third line or third intersection. Next, the rule of odds is using odd numbers such as three, five, and seven when deciding how many props and the number of ingredients to put in the scene or the food. Leading lines are using lines to leaded the viewer's eye in the photo, taking advantage of props and ingredients to form lines. The same goes with shapes and patterns. You arrange the food and props to create a shape or a pattern that is familiar to the human eye. Negative space is arranging and positioning the food and the props on a particular area creating an empty space. Finally, using foregrounds to make your scene look realistic and dynamic. This is achieved by placing props or ingredients before the food closest to the camera to create this effect. Tip; if your camera is capable of a wider aperture like 2.0, maximize it to create a blur or bouquet in the foreground, making your subject the star. The reason why I showed you these composition guides is to help you create a balanced looking image. You can definitely experiment, you can even use more than one composition technique in one photo. The important rule to remember is that your image should look balanced, pleasant, and easy on the eye. Just a quick recap. There are different angles you can use to take photos of food. These are overhead, straight on, 45-75 degrees angle and close-up. Aim to get 3-5 strong images per dish. To achieve this, you can try different angles and follow a composition techniques such as rule of thirds, rule of odds, leading lines, shapes and patterns, negative space, and using foreground. In the next lesson, I will show you a quick editing demo to achieve this final image. 12. Intro to Editing: I am so glad you are still with me. This is going to be our final demo for this class. One question that kept popping up when I was just starting out in food photography is if it's really necessary for me to edit my photos. To be honest, I tried to avoid doing this for a couple of months, but I am not satisfied with my final photos, and I really wanted to give my clients the best output, so I had no choice but study and practice editing. Good news is you don't have to experiment so much and make so many mistakes like I did. In this lesson, I will show you basic and important edits you can do to achieve that fabulous final photo. To start, here are photo editing apps that you can use. These apps are available for both android and iOS. You can use Lightroom for mobile, Snapseed, VSCO, Afterlight, and Photoshop Express. For this demo, I will be using Lightroom for mobile. 13. Editing on a Smartphone: First step is to import the photos. These are my favorites from the milkshake, the salad and the main dish. Let's start with the milkshake. When editing, the first thing you want to correct is the crop. Depending on the purpose of your photos, you can crop, let's say, for Instagram stories, Facebook stories. With that you will be needing the 9 by 16 crop and then you can just adjust it. We want the rule of thirds and then just click on the Check icon and this looks better. Next thing you want to adjust is the light or the exposure. For this one, it looks well exposed so I will not be changing anything but the highlights I want to decrease, so I will have more details. Top tip for food photos. I like to decrease the highlights so it would give me more details of the food then I can just compensate it with adding exposure or adding whites. Then for the shadows, I think I'm going to add a bit of shadows to make it look more dramatic. I want to add more contrast to this photo. Next is to adjust the colors so in here I can adjust the white balance by clicking on this eyedropper tool and then just select on something neutral. In this case, I don't have a white or a gray area to click on, so I will just use the drop-down for white balance. I'll select "Auto" and it did a pretty good job. This is the before and after. Next, I want to adjust the vibrance. I want to add a bit of vibrance to the photo. I am not using saturation for my food photos because it can really strengthen all the colors in the scene as you can see and it's not very flattering. It doesn't look natural. I want to make the edits as subtle as possible so that it will still look real. I won't be touching the saturation. Next, in Lightroom or in Lightroom mobile, you can actually adjust the color separately. When you click on the mix, you'll see all these colors so you can adjust them one by one. Let's see, for the cherry, that's the color red If I want to desaturate the cherry, as you can see, just by dragging or just by using the sliders, it changes the saturation for the cherry. I'm actually quite happy with the color of the cherry. But what I want to adjust is the brown so that's equivalent to orange. I want to saturate it. This looks okay to me and I want to adjust the blue, the one in the background so I want to saturate it a bit and darken it using the luminance. Actually, I want to desaturate the cherry a bit. This is our before and after so it looks more colorful. I'm done with the color. Next, for the effects, I want to add texture since I kept on saying add "Texture", add "Visual interests", but just don't go overboard with the textures later. Just a bit we'll do. When you touch this slider, it depends on how it looks. Just don't go overboard and make it look unreal as much as possible. You want it to look delicious and appetizing and real. I want to increase the clarity as well. Of course, we want our photos to be clear and sharp and I won't be adding vignetting. What else can we adjust here? We can definitely sharpen it and then add masking since we sharpen it. In the optics we want to remove chromatic aberration and enable lens correction for that final touch. Here's our before and after, I'm quite happy with that. But of course in the real-world, I'll be making more tweaks and adjustments, but then you get the point like, what are the basic edits that you can do to your photos that can make a huge impact as you can see from this to this. So that's for our milkshake. Let me just quickly edit our salad. Same thing. We want to start with a crop. Oops, what happened? "Crop" and then for Instagram and Facebook, the best crop is 4 by 5, or 5 by 4 which is the square so we can do that and click the Check icon. We want to adjust the exposure or the light. For the salad, I want to add a bit of exposure. Maybe just 30, not so much. Then again, decrease the highlights so we can retrieve those details. I'll actually really, well, go with the highlights, that's good. Then I want to add shadows because I want depth and I'm actually happy with that. Then I'll move on to color. For this one, I really wanted up correct the white balance because it looks a bit off so I'll try the eyedropper since we have whites. That looks pretty good, but let's try this one. This looks correct. So from here to here, just correcting the white balance. Of course, I want to add vibrance again, instead of saturating the whole scene and then I want to do the mix. For this one, I want to, let's say, saturate the greens and then the orange and the yellow. Looks good. Then click on "Done", and then I want to add texture again, just a bit, maybe 20 and then clarity 15, and do I want vignetting? Let's see. No, the white vignette actually looks good. I'm going to add five and details. Do I want to sharpen it? I'm actually okay with this. There's no noise so I won't do noise reduction. For the optics, of course, we want to remove chromatic aberration and enable lens correction all the time. For the final touch and this is our before and after. Very subtle, very few edits but as you can see, it really enhance the overall look of the photo. I'd recommend that you do the same with your photos even just little tweaks, will not hurt. It doesn't take so much time as you can see, it just took me a couple of minutes to do that, but then the final result is actually better. We're done editing our photos using the Lightroom for mobile. Just quickly, I want to show you how to properly export your photos. When you upload it on Facebook and Instagram, they do a poor job at compressing the image to match the platform so it's degrading the quality as well. What you can do about that is to lower down or how do you say that? Make the adjustment yourself. Facebook and Instagram doesn't have to do it for you. What you can do is properly export your photos. On Lightroom, what you can do is just press the Share button, I think. Yes, the Share button and then export as, and then select the file type which is JPEG or JPEG dimensions. You can customize it, for Facebook, 2048 pixel is actually the best and quality should be 80 percent so you're the one adjusting the quality, not setting it to 100 and then Facebook will just do a poor job but compressing it. Select 80 percent and more options. Make sure that the output sharpening is screen since if you will be uploading it on the internet but if you'll be printing it, of course you want to select "Matte paper" or "Glossy paper" and then amount is just standard. Then color space should be sRGB. When you're done, you just click on the Check icon and you're good to go. I will be attaching other export settings for different purposes. In the next lesson, I will show you how I will be editing the other food photos using Adobe Lightroom on desktop or on a Mac. See you there. 14. Editing on a Computer: Welcome back. In this lesson, we are going to edit some of the food photos using Adobe Lightroom on a desktop or a Mac. You can definitely use other editing software, but I will make sure that you can apply everything that I will be doing here on Adobe Lightroom on other editing apps that you will be using on your end. I just want to make sure to show you both editing on mobile, and on a computer. Let's get started. The first step is to import the photo. These are my two favorite from the soup, and the main dish. I've already imported it on Adobe Lightroom, we will click on "Develop." Let's start with the soup or the rice porridge. Like I mentioned earlier, the first thing you need to do is to adjust the crop, or to correct the crop. For Facebook and Instagram, again, the best crop is four by five or the square. I'm assuming you will be uploading your food photos on social media, that's why I kept saying the square and the dimensions for Facebook, and Instagram. Let me just put our subject at the very center, done. This looks better. Next is to adjust the exposure. I'm quite happy with how exposed this photo is, I won't be doing anything with that, but I do want to make sure that our white balance is correct using the eye dropper tool, and just pointing on anything white. That's good, that's better. Again, decreasing the highlights so that we can get those details, texture, and just compensating with the whites. Of course, I want to add contrast, maybe adjust to 15. Then I want to add more texture 15, actually, its too much so just 10, and clarity, maybe at 10 as well. Let's see. Before, and after. It's looking more vibrant, looking more alive, and colorful. Of course, I want to add vibrance. Let's see if I want to adjust the colors, or some of the colors in this photo, I can definitely do that using the HSL, which stands for, hue, saturation, and luminance, or the color. I'm quite distracted with how bright the yellow is. I'll just desaturate it a bit, as you can see from here to here. That looks better. We want our food to be the main star, the hero. That actually decreased some of the yellow on the foods. Let me just back that up a little bit, 25. That looks better for me. Actually, I'm quite happy with the rest of the photo. I don't want to add more sharpening. I'm happy with that. Remove chromatic aberration, enable profile corrections. Let's see the before, and after. There's more texture, there's more details. I'm quite happy with how this turned out. Let's move on to the main dish. First again is the crop. I want the square again. I will just adjust it to be a bit thicker. As you can see, it captured something in there, we can definitely crop that. I want to crop the empty glass there. This looks good to me. Then done. Actually no, I want the plate to be the middle. Let's see. That's better, and then adjust the white balance. Let's try this. Pretty good. I like it better. Decrease the highlights. I want to remove some of the shadows because this photo is very shadowy. Then I want to compensate with the whites, and add a bit of exposure, just a bit. Then add texture, and clarity, and vibrance. I want to desaturate the green in this photo just a bit. Desaturating green as you can see because it's really shiny. Just a bit, maybe 15. That looks better. What else? I don't want to touch the sharpening. I want to remove chromatic aberration, enable lens correction, that is it. Again, when you're done with your edits, you want to properly export your photos. Before we do that, let me just show you the before and after for our main dish. The colors here looks correct. White balance is correct. It looks real, and more delicious, more vibrant. That is the importance of editing your food photos to make it more appealing, and more delicious. Moving on to exporting. We just click on "Export", and you select a specific folders, or let's just first save it on the desktop. Do I want to put it in sub folder? Yes, I can put it in a sub folder called, EDITED photos, existing files, ask what to do, of course. I want to custom name? Yes, I can. Rename to custom name sequence. I always do this, especially if I have multiple photos to save in custom text. I'll just put here, let's say food styling, photoshoot. Then, again for the image format, you want it to be a JPEG. If you will be uploading it on Instagram, best to lower it down to 70 percent for the quality. Then color space should be sRGB. Then resize to fit. I usually select long edge, and then 1080 for Instagram. Then sharpen for screen. Same thing. I don't add watermarks to most of my work, but it's up to you. You can definitely do that here. You can add the watermark, and edit it. Then do nothing after exporting, and I just click on "Export". This is our final photo. Perfect, lovely. That is how you edit food photos using Adobe Lightroom on a Mac or on a desktop. 15. It's Your Turn!: Now it's your turn, plan, prepare, and style. You can start by styling a soup, a salad, a main dish, or a dessert. Plan by writing down the food that you want to style, the ingredients, and define an image you want to achieve. Check out Pinterest, Instagram, cookbooks, and magazines for inspiration and ideas. Prepare the ingredients and the props that you will be needing. Do a recipe test to see what problems could occur on the actual styling and photoshoot day. Schedule a day when you will be styling and doing the photo shoot. Set an alarm and make sure you are relaxed and have plenty of time. Set up your scene where there is best lighting in your place, prepare everything before cooking. I have attached guides and cheat sheets in the resources, so feel free to check them out and download them. I also included the recipe for the rice porridge, the green salad, the Peruvian arroz con pollo, and the chocolate milkshake in case you want to use it. If you need any help, you can start a discussion so we can help each other. I am super excited to see your project. Don't forget to upload it in the project section, so we can share it with other students and learn from each other. Finally, have lots of fun. 16. Final Thoughts: You made it. Congratulations on finishing this class. Imagine we covered everything from planning and putting ideas on paper to actually doing it and creating something that we can now share with the world. If you haven't already, I encourage you to do the class project. If you find it challenging to do four dishes, you can definitely start with just one dish and attach your final photo in the project section. If there is one thing I hope you take away from this class is this: You learn by doing. It's nice that you now know basic techniques in food styling, but you can actually grow and be the best by practicing and actually doing it. Don't give up if you don't achieve the photo that you have envisioned the first time. Nobody starts as an expert. We improve via consistent practice and improving ourself. If you are on Instagram, feel free to tag me when you upload your photos so I can give it a thumbs up. My Instagram handle is @rosellenene. Thank you so much for choosing me and this class to learn more about food styling. If you're into photography and videography, I have other classes that might help you in your journey. You can also follow me here so you will be updated when I publish other related classes. I really hope you found this class valuable, but either way, please leave a review and share your experience. I'd love to hear from you. Thank you again and see you next time. Bye.