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