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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Food Photography Talk
Thread started 19 Apr 2015 (Sunday) 22:34
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Food photography workshop input.

 
Foodguy
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Apr 19, 2015 22:34 |  #1

Hoping to do a little focus group research if anyone would care to participate...

I'm wondering if anyone has gone down the road of either offering or attending a genre specific workshop, specifically food photography. I've had the thought for a long time but haven't yet put pen to paper to work out specific details as this idea is still a 'work-in-progress' but I'm getting closer and closer to trying to make this happen and would appreciate your help.

My basic thought is to offer a one day program at my studio, and I'd most likely offer this in conjunction with a food stylist. The program could be anything from 'commercial food photography' to food photography for bloggers/beginners or anything food photography related in-between these two levels. The specifics of the program would be dependent on the level of the group. IOW, once I've determined the 'who' part of the equation, I'll develop a final goal and the specifics steps to get there.

I know that I haven't provided a lot of detail, but for the sake of argument, let's say you were interested in food photography and you came to my workshop. What would I have to provide to make you feel your time and money were well spent?

What's the ideal group size you would prefer to be a part of...is 5 enough, is 10 too many? Some other number?

Are there specific food 'must have's' to be covered...i.e. beverages/ice cream/something else...or does it not matter. Or specific techniques to cover--lighting/camera work/something else? (and this I know depends on what the ultimate level that the program becomes. A food blogger who's interest is in producing and sharing pretty pictures of their creations is less likely to be interested in the same things as a person who's direction is more commercially orientated and wants to learn what's involved in shooting ice cream for packaging).

How much hands-on would you prefer/expect? Or percentage of hands on vs. observing? Morning hours observing/discussing, afternoon shooting your own image(s)?

Cost. While my primary reason for doing this is more for fun, it should cost something. Is there a range that would be appropriate (and admittedly it probably depends on the 'who' part) but is it $50? $100? $500? Something else? Include breakfast/lunch, or bring your own?

Well, if you've gotten this far, thanks...and if you'll participate in my little focus group, I very much appreciate it! :)


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Apr 20, 2015 08:27 |  #2

most of these questions are answered after you decide who your target market will be.

Pros who already target food photography
Pros with an interest in food photography
Pros with no experience …
Semi-Pros ..
Amateurs …
Chefs/Restaurateurs …

I would think you pick two of the above that are near the same skill level. The top two would pay more and expect a smaller group, the last two would pay less and be okay with a larger group, and of course the ones in the middle expect something in the middle.

I definitely think that it is you who define the target market. You live in Chicago or something right? Being in a big city, you'd have your choice of who to target.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Formerly he's gone before apostrophe-gate | Not in gear database: Canon 70-210 3.5-4.5, Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 2x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

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nathancarter
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Apr 20, 2015 09:06 |  #3

I attended a food photography class at Photoshop World a couple years ago, it was an hour or two long. It was pretty informative, about as good as it could be for that length of time. Target audience was semi-pros and skilled amateurs. The class was huge, lecture-hall size, maybe 200 people.


I would have liked a bit more coverage on food styling:
- some basic & advanced concepts on different "looks"
- when to hire a stylist, how to find a decent stylist, when to just do the styling myself or with the chef's assistance
- how to find training in food styling, if I want to be able to do it myself better
- what I should expect to pay a food stylist


If it's a full-day class you could probably cover about four different case studies, and plenty of variation within each look.


I personally like a LOT of hands-on. That would require a smaller class and likely a higher price, though. Maybe do three case studies, then one hands-on "assignment" to be performed during the last couple hours. Follow-up with an online review of the results from that in-class assignment, after the students have had time to process the images and turn them in.


I'd pay $100 for a day class without much student participation, or $200 if I got plenty of hands-on.


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Foodguy
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Apr 20, 2015 13:15 |  #4

Thanks for the input!

I'm in a large city with no shortages of either professional or aspiring commercial photographers or amateurs interested in food photography. I get dozens of calls asking to come into the studio just to 'hang out' and see what and how we do what we do. That's part of the genesis of this idea in the first place. The trick for me is to decide which group to cater to. One would obviously be a more basic approach and the other end, more focused on the techniques and considerations of producing commercial work. Or maybe as you suggested LHB, something in the middle. Both would be fun groups to work with but with different goals and dynamics. As I mentioned, once I decide on the 'who' I'll develop the program to accommodate.

I also appreciate the insight into other similar programs Nathan. I'm not looking to re-invent the wheel but would like to insure that expectations were met. While I've taught in the past, I've never attended any kind of workshop so I'm a little clueless as to what's going on out in the world today.

Also agree about the food stylist input, either actively participating or at least discussed, again depending on which end of the spectrum I decide to go.

I'm also thinking out loud here about the 'hands on' part. Short of adding a few more saw horses, I have enough 'stuff' in the studio to accommodate 6 or so different sets. No shortage of plates/backgrounds/pro​ps etc. I could probably even accommodate 5 different sets with studio strobes and a variety of different modifies, or simplify and shoot by daylight or again, a combination of both.

Choices, choices...


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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nathancarter
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Apr 20, 2015 13:35 |  #5

Foodguy wrote in post #17525185external link
The trick for me is to decide which group to cater to. One would obviously be a more basic approach and the other end, more focused on the techniques and considerations of producing commercial work.


Why not both? Develop two different courses, a "101" and a "201." Charge a bit more for the 201.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Apr 20, 2015 14:21 |  #6

nathancarter wrote in post #17525223external link
Why not both? Develop two different courses, a "101" and a "201." Charge a bit more for the 201.

This is exactly where I was going to go.

So many of the logistical things are duplicated you essentially have half the work of each 101, 201, 301 complete for the different courses before you even consider the curriculum.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Formerly he's gone before apostrophe-gate | Not in gear database: Canon 70-210 3.5-4.5, Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 2x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

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Foodguy
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Apr 20, 2015 15:08 |  #7

All good ideas, and you're both right in that developing a middle ground program can easily be modified up or down as needed and is only a bit more work on my end.

(Seems we've been moved to the food photography talk section. I considered putting it here initially, but thought that 'talking about talking about food photography' was more a general topic. ;-)a)

As before, I appreciate the input.


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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Road ­ Dog
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by Road Dog.
Apr 21, 2015 14:57 |  #8

I do restaurant reviews for a local magazine, and also do the photography for those reviews.

No one's yet complained about the quality of the images (my Editor is quite happy with them), but if a workshop were to be offered around here, yeah, I'd go. For a day long seminar, with some shooting and working with a food stylist, I'd pay $100.00 or so...


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Foodguy
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Apr 21, 2015 18:33 |  #9

You'd be the ideal demographic Road Dog...someone with photography experience as well as a clear goal! One of the issues of dealing with the bloggers is the time devoted to the camera/photography part.

Thanks for your input-


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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breal101
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May 07, 2015 08:26 |  #10

How is the planning going? I can't offer much input, just curious.


"Try to go out empty and let your images fill you up." Jay Maisel

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Foodguy
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May 07, 2015 19:22 |  #11

Thanks for asking. As another example of the serendipity of the universe, I was literally sitting with paper and pen last week working on my plan. An e-mail came in from a local college with a photography program asking if I'd be interested in doing a workshop on food photography. 2 hours, once a week for 3 weeks.

I told them I was interested and also asked if they'd be willing to help me develop a syllabus, to which they agreed. :-)

I have some ideas, waiting on their input but expect that I'll come out of this experience with a 'program' in place that I can use on my own. So in the meantime, I've put my independent workshop on slight hold and will spend the time/effort working on the school's program.


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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nathancarter
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May 10, 2015 10:07 |  #12

That's pretty cool. Serendipitous seems like the right word. Let us know how it goes.


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fotopaul
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Jul 10, 2015 06:10 |  #13
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Sounds very exciting, please let us know how it turns out.

Can only add to the feedback already provided that you need to focus on one group and cater the workshop to their level of experience and how they will use your workshop in practical terms after they'v taken it.

I'v planning a similar workshop this fall, a workshop for foodbloggers/critics on photographing food.

Naturally my target group has no "real" use in me showing them how i do my work with studio lights, as they don't have access to that on daily basis. So i will covering mainly natural light and how to balance it with one speed light and fill cards.

Again would love to hear your experience after you held your's!


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Foodguy
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by Foodguy.
Jul 10, 2015 18:57 |  #14

fotopaul wrote in post #17626733 (external link)
Sounds very exciting, please let us know how it turns out.

Thanks for your comments.

My workshop is scheduled to start in 3 weeks, I'll be sure to follow up in this thread as to how it went.

The group is 8 people at the moment and will be capped at 10 due to space limitations in the studio area. It's part of a larger 'professional' program where this will be one specialty covered. The participants will have camera/lighting experience and most importantly an interest in the material as they seem to have future ambitions in the field. I've laid out a syllabus for the 3 meetings with a fair amount of time having the group shooting. Coincidently, there's a small restaurant adjacent to the school that is in need of food photography and they've offered to supply some of their items to the group. Week one and two will essentially be getting their feet wet, week three brings in a food stylist to work with them on a final image which I hope is of use to the restaurant. I've left it to the school to work out any financial compensations for the work.

Another serendipitous coincidence happened with all of this a few weeks ago: a client of mine asked if I would be willing to do a small program for a group of bloggers who won a contest they ran recently. Essentially the contest was to use the clients product in a recipe and submit it to the company. First prize for 10 people is an all expense paid trip to upstate NY for a 'glamping' experience...(no, I didn't know what it was either...'glamourous camping'. I had to google to see first hand). I'm being flown in with a food stylist to do a short presentation as well as photograph some of the recipes they develop in an iron chef type event. the company's being very generous, paying my fee for the 3 days I'll be on site and asking only that I share my thoughts with the bloggers and offer some tips to help them improve their photography. This will take considerably less preparation than the other program and most likely will be more fun!


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

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