An in-depth look into one of the most popular Food Photography Courses out there. Looking to combine my passion for baking and hobby of photography, I enrolled in Foodtography School in 2019 with the aim of creating a thriving business. This is my honest Foodtography School Course Review sharing the ins and outs of the course that helped me with the career of my dreams and land my incredible cookbook deal within 18 months of attending the course.
Feb 2021: This post has been reviewed following the launch of the newly improved Foodtography Course. I have myself studied all the course changes and have modified my review accordingly.
What is Foodtography School and who created it?
Foodtography School is an online food photography course aimed at turning your passion for food photography into a business. The course teaches you the relevant skills to transform your food photography but also guide you through the social media and marketing skills to successfully create your own business.
Who is the course aimed at?
Food photographers who are at the start of their food photography journey and have had no other formal training. Food bloggers or food photographers who want to not only understand how to create awesome well composed and edited imagery worthy of selling professionally. It's also aimed at those wanting to create their own food photography business.
In my opinion, other food photography courses are lacking in the business aspects that this course provides.
How is the course run?
Being a virtual school Foodtography School is all done online. The course is split into 7 units and each unit has short information-packed videos. Each video is 5-15 minutes long and can be re-played as many times as you like.
How long does the course take?
The course is designed as a 5-week course and recommended that you do one unit every week, setting aside 2-3 hours for the course per week. This is being said, you can run through the material as quickly or as slowly as you like.
YOU get to set the speed which is what I love.
Binge watch a unit in one go, or split it up throughout the week. That’s what I love about this format. Life is unpredictable and sometimes we can dedicate time before having to take a break from a course.
BONUS: you have lifetime access to the course so can enter your membership area in Foodtography School and access the curriculum at ANY time.
What’s in the Course Curriculum?
Alright let's get to the nitty gritty. Foodtography School is split into 5 units:
Unit 1: Fundamentals of Food Photography
Rightly the first unit of the course touches on the basics of photography starting off with the history of photography, your camera setting basics, setting up your food scene and a bonus video on what props and backgrounds work best.
Sarah the delves right into Lightroom (the editing program of choice) and enjoy a thorough walk through from importing your images into the program, all the necessary features within Lightroom and exporting once finished. This is an additional component added in the revamp and for those early on in their Lightroom experience, it will prove invaluable.
Unit 2: Composition
From there, unit 2 delves into the core compositional principles for food photography. Principles explored are rule of thirds, geometry, balance, repetition & patterns, framing and utilising negative space. Capturing movement, applying dynamic symmetry, textural layering and creating dynamic tension are the other areas covered.
For a beginner food photographer such as myself when I started the course, this Unit had the greatest and most immediate visual impact on my photography. I absolutely loved it and often refer back to it, even to this day!
Unit 3: Light
As a food photographer, light can have the biggest impact on our images. It can literally make or break the success of an image. The unit delves into understanding the intricacies of different light and its effect on food photography. Importantly it covers how to deal with bad light (hello blue winter light) and the skills required to work with that light to your advantage.
It goes into the common mistakes that we as photographers can fall into the trap of making and then goes on to teach us how to standardise tricky light. This unit is a game-changer. I believe as photographers we are forever students of light and you’ll certainly learn enough to move you toward your goals
Unit 4: Branding
So now you know how to take great photos and portray yourself in the best possible way on social media...how do you actually market yourself and earn money?
An imperative unit as food photography grows in relevance for social media influencer-driven marketing. Areas covered are how to brand yourself and create your own visual identity as a business on social media. Also how to know your worth and to stand out from the crowd whilst being able to add value to your audience.
The unit also examines what content marketing actually is and how your level as a food photographer impacts what you can expect to charge. Also exactly why food photography brings value to brands and the importance photography brings to their exposure.
The rest of the unit delves into colour and its relevance in food photography. From understanding the colour wheel, the principles of colour theory, to the emotional impact that colour has in an image. This section covers the mood that colour can help create but also how specific colour can apply to your own visual branding.
Unit 5: Editing
Sarah deep dives into two types of editing. In a soft & moody style or in a dark and bold style. Don’t cap your editing skills at one style. Learn how to edit in multiple styles so that when a brand reaches out and asks for a range of images in a dark & moody style, you can yes to the job!
Sarah then goes on to deep dive into editing according to colour story. Colour plays such an important role in the visual story of an image and has an inherent impact on the overall messaging. And guess what. You’ll learn all about this too.
Unit 6: Social Media
Part of food photography and social media is attracting and connecting with brands on social media. That’s how we land those big sponsors right? But exactly how do we do that?
Sarah shares her insights into Instagram, how to track your analytics, and how to become a rockstar on this social media platform. I mean have you seen the @foodtography Instagram account. The team sure know how to pull together a beautiful feed.
Unit 7: Business & Marketing
When I took this course I had no clue about content marketing and the ins- and outs of brand partnerships. The idea of reaching out to brands, negotiating with them and seeing up long-term partnerships freaked me out.
Luckily, this course has you covered. It guides you through this side of client work along with how to actually price your work as. I know right! Usually a taboo subject but one that stumps every beginner food photographer!
How much is the course?
If however, the single payment is too much then you can pay 6 monthly payments of $105 for 6 months totalling $630
What are the bonuses?
On top of the 7 information-packed units. Foodtography School also offers 6 bonus offerings:
- Props & Background Info: Starting out you’ll need the basics to get yourself set up. Find out what you need and where to get them from.
- 3 live Food Styling Sessions: Pasta, Pie and Brownies. I learn the best when watching others and seeing other professionals at work is all sorts of inspiring!
- Behind the Scenes Product Styling Session: Get yourself ready for when those brand deals start popping into your lap.
- Downloadable workbook
- Access to Foodtography Private Facebook Group (a network of others at your stage and those more experienced that you can throughout questions to. An invaluable network!)
- Discount on all future courses and products.
How did completing Foodtography School impact me?
I was the perfect candidate for this course. A hobbyist photographer with basic photography knowledge but zero food styling abilities. One month prior to taking the course I set up my @emmaduckworthbakes Instagram account and didn’t really have a clue how to develop myself as a ‘brand’ let alone pitch or price myself to other brands that I hoped to work for!
The biggest impact of the course on my photography would have been after completing the units on the fundamentals, composition, light and colour. It was instantaneous. Now I had a clear idea of how to set up my shot, place my food and props, where my light source should come from and the best angle to shoot at. Tracking those that go through the course it’s clear to see when they have completed these two units! It’s like an AHA moment!!
Following the course, I took the skills that Sarah had taught and put them into practice as much as possible. It’s up to you to develop those skills and work pretty damn hard at them. Often frustration would set in because I just couldn’t get the shot. The lighting was off. The styling wasn’t working. But like anything, the key is to persevere. And keep trying.
And I could see my photography was blooming, I was developing a distinctive style and creating my own ‘brand'. Three months after completing the course I was approached by one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK to work with them with a steady stream of clients to follow on. 18 months after completing the course, I landed a cookbook deal! The investment I’d made in myself had paid off triple-fold!
What’s the biggest takeaway from the course?
Aside from the amazing educational elements of the course, the foodie community surrounding this course is incredible. Foodtography School has its own Facebook group that is only available to students of the course. They are like your very own personal support network, there to answer queries, provide constructive criticism on photos, answer pricing queries and so much more.
Food blogging and working for yourself can be quite a lonely profession so it's super important to develop your own cheerleaders, your own support squad, and your very own tribe. The friends I’ve made through Foodtography School are exactly that and I’m so grateful for this community.
Will my images look like everyone else's who takes the course?
Ok. So I hear from others outside of the course that many students who finish tend to develop the same style as Broma Bakery and all look the same. And yes I have noticed that too.
Here’s the crux of it. Sarah has a very distinct style that she's well known for. Light and airy, with soft to strong shadows, photographed primarily on a marble or light grey background with simple prop styling. This style is BEAUTIFUL and I love it. It's what attracted me to the course immediately. I associated with this style before the course and I was thrilled to find an educator who could teach it.
For beginner photographers who are new to this food photography world, just starting out, it’s easy to get seduced by the style and then stick with it. Essentially there is nothing wrong with that.
HOWEVER, I personally believe that the course teaches you the skills yet it's up to you to then DEVELOP your own style after you’ve completed the course.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO DEVELOP YOUR STYLE?
Developing your own style and identity allows you to stand out from the crowd. In turn brands will take notice = more work opportunities. Winner I’d say!
Would I recommend the course?
Absolutely. It's the perfect stepping stone for beginner food photographer who wants to improve their level of photography whilst also learning how to carve themselves out into a small business.
The fact that the course offers the business aspect is amazing as there aren’t any other courses out there that offer photography, styling and business education all rolled into one.
I love the style of video that Sarah records. Each one is short and concise and she provides the pdf downloads to refer back to. Whenever necessary you can refer back to a specific recording or pdf without having to wait through a whole unit's worth. Sarah's teaching style is approachable, warm, insightful and inviting. If I’ve ever had a question via instagram DM, Sarah has always graciously taken the time to answer.
I urge those that take this to use the course as a springboard or a stepping stone to their development. As mentioned previously, knowing how to implement the skills taught and then developing those skills to create your own brand is essential.
What other courses does Foodtography School offer?
Foodtography School also offers 4 other courses:
Advanced Foodtography School
For the photographer with a developed understanding of composition, editing in lightroom and DSLR skills. This delves deeper into composition and styling, how to shoot with artificial light, and more in-depth knowledge of editing and styling. (I’m currently halfway through this course and I love it!)
Price: $1327 single payment
If you purchase this course along with the Foodtography Course as a BUNDLE you pay $1557 which saves you $357. Every little helps.
Restaurant Foodtography School
For the food photographers, bloggers, and social media influencers wanting to up their game in restaurant photography. A chance at setting yourself apart by taking exceptional photos outside of the home and in the restaurant environment and diversifying your income.
Price: $347 single payment
If you purchase this course along with the Foodtography Course as a BUNDLE you pay $644 which saves you $200. Again, every little helps!
A course developed for those that don't own a DSLR and want to improve the images they take on their IPHONE (or Android!).
Price: $117 single payment
Note: my 15% DISCOUNT CODE: EMMA applies to the single payment options for the above three courses.
The Style Edit
A 12-month online experience delving primarily into styling and editing. Each month you receive an hour-long video taking you behind the scenes on a food photoshoot with Sarah, Foodphotography School founder. Each month the shoot and food subject matter are different (think tacos, to ice-cream, cocktails to brownies) and you’ll see how she styles, what shots she takes and how she edits.
Price: $588 single payment (my discount code does not apply to this course)
For more courses aimed at helping your food photography career, check out my blog post: Courses for Food Photographers.
My hope for this Foodtography School Course Review
I hope that my Foodtography School Course Review helps if you're deciding to launch yourself into a career as a food photographer. As you may have ascertained, the course provided me with a monumental springboard into this new career. It’s taken hard work, frustrations, joy, and major wins to get to where I am now. All the opinions above are my own. Please feel free to message me on the contact form below or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have ANY questions regarding my Foodtography School Course review.
DISCLOSURE ON MY FOODTOGRAPHY SCHOOL COURSE REVIEW
To be 100% transparent to you, I'm an affiliate member of Foodtography School. I’m super proud to be a member of their program as it’s the result of learning, growing, and developing into a photographer that Sarah and her Team trust to promote her business. I only ever affiliate myself with products or services that I wholeheartedly believe in. Foodtography School is one such business.
If you make a purchase through my affiliate links provided, I do earn a commission of the sale at NO extra cost to you. If anything, by going through my affiliate link and applying the DISCOUNT CODE: EMMA you’ll gain a further 15% OFF the single payment price. This applies to all courses: Foodtography School, Advanced Foodtography School, Restaurant Foodtography School and IFoodtography School.
If you’d like to see some of my photography used in my blog posts please be sure to click through: