Thursday, September 12, 2013

AFBA Photography Camp.

(L) Sopes con platanos. (R) Aaron Franklin. © Ryan Schierling

Summer camp!

Who wants to go swim in a septic pond, pick ticks out of their nether-regions and make arts and crafts out of yarn and popsicle sticks? Yes! No?

Then how about a one-day Austin Food Blogger Alliance summer photo camp, where you get to pick the brains of some of Austin's finest food photographers*, eat lobster rolls for lunch, shoot breakout sessions and have happy hour snacks? This all goes down Saturday, September 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and tickets are available for both AFBA members and the general public. 

*Melissa Skorpil, Mary Helen Leonard, Chris Perez, Jane Ko and Peter Tsai.

I'm going to drop in on as many classes as I can, because at no point in our lives do we ever stop learning valuable photography lessons. I will also be there because AFBA actually asked me if I'd teach a class, which we eventually called "Rig It" – which, really, is just about right considering how we shoot here at Foie Gras Hot Dog. Shoestring, ghetto, on the fly. You'd be surprised how far it goes. 

Honestly, pretty prose doesn't always command attention when you're working on a food site. As brilliant as the recipes and writing may be, there need to be photographs, and sometimes it takes a beautiful image to really draw the reader in. 

While the biggest and best food blogs certainly have fancy this and expensive that when it comes to photography gear, is all of that really necessary?  Well, I've also been told that Hemingway had a badass typewriter. High-dollar doesn't always equal high-concept or amazing imagery and you don't need spendy cameras and lenses or professional kitchens. It simply takes an educated eye and knowing what you want to convey through your photographs, and that's not expensive. 

If I dropped as much dough on camera equipment as Julie and I do on food in a year, I'd have the top-of-the-line, latest-and-greatest at my disposal. But we don't, and that camera bag full of gear is not as mandatory as you might think in producing high-quality images for your site. 

The class I'm teaching is intended to help you get the most out of whatever camera you're using, help you with manipulating natural and artificial light on the cheap, and give a few tips on backgrounds and aesthetics to make your photographs look amazing whether they're food or the folks creating the food. 


Food Photography 101 – Melissa Skorpil takes you through everything from how to plan a shoot to setting up lighting and using props.

Photo Editing – Mary Helen Leonard takes you through editing basics.

Don’t Fear the Manual Setting – Chris Perez will help you step outside your autofocus safety zone.

Rig It – Ryan Schierling teaches you how to get the most out of your camera.

Phoning It In – Jane Ko will show that gorgeous photos can come from your phone, too.

All About the Gear – Peter Tsai discusses the best gear for your camera.

*plus Breakout Shooting Sessions

Your ticket gets you hands-on training and photography best practices, a yummy box lunch provided by Pamela Jane’s New England Lobster Rolls (vegetarian and gluten-free options available), morning sips and snacks by Zhi Tea and  Better Bites Bakery, iced coffee by Chameleon Cold Brew, and happy hour snacks sponsored by Dinner Lab.


  1. I'm so looking forward to your class! The photos on your blog regularly blow me away.

    1. Thanks, Kristin! And on Saturday, you'll get to hear me say "PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!!!" Ha.

  2. It will be awesome to finally meet so many great food photographers! Im so happy to have the opportunity to learn!

    1. It's going to be fun, Cristina. We look forward to seeing you there!

  3. Your images are outstanding, sorry I had to bolt early and miss your class. Also, thanks for the mention!

  4. PS I'm also of the mindset that you can take some amazing photos with a point and shoot or an iPhone camera too (although being able to blow out the background with bokeh makes things a lot easier).

    In the end, It's really all about the light - I heard it was great, wish I could have made your class.

    1. Thanks, Peter! We enjoyed sitting in on your class, I dug seeing some of the smaller camera gear and what you can do with it. You had some great format vs. format examples. I'm in the market for a new pocket camera and it definitely helped shape some opinions.

      We usually use point and shoot and iPhone for out and about stuff, and you're right, it's all about having enough light, and having good quality light.


We welcome comments. Thanks for your patience as we moderate to avoid spam and other internet foolishness.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...