I get about 10 emails a week from people asking me questions about food photography and/or Foodtography School. Things like “How do I take better photos?” or “How do I learn to edit photos better” or even “Is Foodtography School worth it?!” And since Foodtography School recently got a huge update, I figured I would put together this little review to answer all of the questions I get asked the most.
*Post updated August 29, 2022*
Before we dive in, I want to be 100% transparent and let you know that while this will be a totally honest review, I'm a Foodtography School affiliate; which means that if you decide to purchase Foodtography School through any of the links in this article, I will receive a commission (at absolutely no additional cost to you).
Table of Contents
- What is Foodtography School?
- How is Foodtography School structured?
- How much does Foodtography School cost?
- How long does the course take?
- What equipment do you need?
- Does it cover the business side of things?
- Does it teach you how to use Lightroom?
- Does it teach you how to use artificial light?
- Will my images look like everyone else who has taken Foodtography School?
- Is there anything you didn't like or felt that the course was lacking?
- Is Foodtography School worth it for someone who does this casually as a hobby?
- What were your biggest wins after Foodtography School?
What is Foodtography School?
Foodtography School is a virtual photography school that offers different courses and resources that focus on improving your photography skills and turning your passion for food photography into a successful business. It's a fast-paced, information-packed course that will instantly change the way you photograph food. The school was founded by my dear friend Sarah Crawford from Broma Bakery.
The school offers:
- Foodtography School: The original course. This is their most popular option and the one that's reviewed in this post.
- iFoodtography School: A version of Foodtography School for those that take photos with their smartphones.
- Advanced Foodtography School: For the advanced food photographer who already understands how to use their camera manually and how to edit photos in Lightroom. It focuses on more advanced compositional principles and theories.
- Restaurant Foodtography: A food photography course that focuses on the world of restaurant photography.
- Templates and guides: There are also a variety of templates and guides like customizable media kits and sponsored post pricing guides. These aren't really necessary for a beginner, but are super helpful once you start working with brands!
How is Foodtography School structured?
The course is broken up into seven units:
- Unit 1: Fundamentals of Food Photography
- Unit 2: Composition
- Unit 3: Light
- Unit 4: Branding
- Unit 5: Editing
- Unit 6: Social Media
- Unit 7: Business + Marketing
Each unit is then further split up into several subunits. For example, Unit 1 is split into the history of photography, camera settings, how to set up your scene for a shoot, prop & background recommendations, and includes a walkthrough on how to use Lightroom (more on this below!).
How much does Foodtography School cost?
You can enroll in the course for a one-time payment of $997 or you can take advantage of the payment plan - 12 monthly payments of $97.
You can use the discount code MIKE to get 15% off! This will take the price down to $847. (Foodtography School doesn’t allow discounts on payment plans; however, you can use my code for everything else in their shop.)
How long does the course take?
There's about 20 hours of video content to watch, but it's all pre-recorded so you can take it completely at your own pace. Once you sign up for Foodtography School, you get lifetime access, so you can go back to it whenever you feel like it. Me? I binge-watched it in one weekend from all the excitement.
What equipment do you need?
To really get the most out of Foodtography School (especially if your goal is to work with brands), I would recommend using/investing in either a mirrorless or DSLR camera; check out this post for details on the cameras and lenses I use.
If you shoot with your phone, you might want to consider checking out iFoodtography School!
Does it cover the business side of things?
YES! When I took this course I had no clue about influencer marketing and the ins and outs of brand partnerships. The idea of reaching out to brands and negotiating with them freaked me out.
Luckily, Foodtography School has you covered! It guides you through some of the business sides of things and helps you figure out how to actually price your work; a topic that baffles many food photographers!
Does it teach you how to use Lightroom?
Yup! As mentioned above, one of the subunits of Unit 1 includes a Lightroom walkthrough. In the walkthrough you'll learn about:
- Importing images
- Culling images
- The histogram, masks, and basic panel
- Tone curves
- The HSL panel
- Split toning, detail, and lens corrections
- Synchronizing your edits
- Exporting images
The course also has videos showing you how to edit in 4 different styles!
Does it teach you how to use artificial light?
No; this course is structured around shooting in natural light. However, you can still learn and apply the principles taught within the course to shooting with artificial light if that's something you choose to learn (which I highly recommend).
If you live somewhere where natural light conditions are less than ideal or you've just been wanting to learn how to shoot with artificial light, I would recommend trying out my friend Joanie's course: Artificial Academy.
Will my images look like everyone else who has taken Foodtography School?
Okay, so I get this question A LOT. I often hear from those outside of the course that many students who finish tend to develop the same style as Broma Bakery and all look the same. And I've noticed that too...
Here’s the thing... Sarah has a very distinct style that she’s very well known for. Light, bright, & airy shots photographed primarily on a marble or light grey/white background. This style is BEAUTIFUL and I love it; it’s actually what attracted me to the course. For photographers who are new to the food photography world, it’s easy to get seduced by the style and then just end up sticking with it. And there is nothing really wrong with that... (I even had a brief moment where I did that after immediately finishing the course - see below.)
HOWEVER, I personally believe that the course teaches you the skills and then it’s up to you to then develop your own style after you’ve completed the course. Developing your own style allows you to stand out from the crowd. In turn, brands will notice you, and you'll find it easier to land more work opportunities.
Is there anything you didn't like or felt that the course was lacking?
Prior to the update, I felt that the Lightroom editing portions were lacking a little bit and really only showed how to edit in one style (which I think contributed to all of the food photographers whose photos looked the same as mentioned above).
BUT since the update, that's no longer a problem in my opinion. The course breaks down the different tools in Lightroom and even shows how to edit in different styles, which I think is super helpful!
Is Foodtography School worth it for someone who does this casually as a hobby?
In my honest opinion, if you're willing to invest in it then ABSOLUTELY.
When I signed up for Foodtography School, I had NO intentions of turning my Instagram into a blog/business (I didn't even have a website at the time). I was finishing up law school, studying for the bar, and gearing up to start my postgrad job; food photography was just a way for me to de-stress and I wanted to be better at it. (Also, I was getting free meals & product at the time, but never made any actual money.)
NOW?! I'm a full time blogger whose worked with huge clients, been featured in various publications & magazines, and I've written two cookbooks. Who would've thought...
What were your biggest wins after Foodtography School?
- Landed large brand partnerships with companies like Domino Sugar, Butterfinger, Lactaid, Food Network, etc.
- Reached over 100K followers on Instagram
- Wrote and photographed two cookbooks
- Featured in various large publications like The New York Times, Bake From Scratch Magazine, etc.
While my story may be a success, I want to note that Foodtography School isn't just some magic formula course that will guarantee the same for you. It takes hard work and practice; but if it's something you truly want to work on, it's possible to make it happen!