Food and Light started promptly at 8:00am.  I was up at 5:50am and went for that run which actually energized me for the morning session and the rest of today.

Our teachers: Jen, Todd & Diane

Teachers of class standing talking

Matt & Todd

Two men with name tags standing

I was sitting in the back row next to Elana of Elana’s Pantry. She is the sweetest, kindest, and most friendly person.  Truly just a sweetheart!

Woman sitting in chair wearing all blackLoved her!

Everyone was excited to learn.

Rows of people sitting at tables with open computersBut we all had to really put our thinking caps on because our first morning session and lecture was from Jen on camera settings.

Aperture, shutter speed, ISO, controlling depth of field.  Pretty much it made my head spin.

I am not a numbers girl.  And camera numbers and settings make me especially cross-eyed and really tax my brain and take me back to 9th grade algebra class wondering if these concepts will ever click for me.

Algebra finally clicked by the end of 9th grade and camera settings and numbers are beginning to click after reading about them over and over, for months and months.

Like most people, I shoot based on trial and error rather than on studying the numbers and knowing how shutter speed and depth of field and ISO settings all integrate.

However, knowing and understanding the fundamentals and knowing what the numbers do and how they effect your photos is really powerful.

I suggest reading anything you can online about these concepts.  And read from many different sources.   Google it.  Someone will explain it in a way that will click for you.  Also in Helene’s book that I reviewed here, she does an excellent job of going over these concepts.

After Jen’s presentation, Matt gave a lecture and here are a few of my lecture notes from his presentation:

Camera Angles

Vary your camera angles in a series of shots

Shoot top down, 3/4 and straight on

Flat food shoots well from top down

Top down shots often give a very graphic composition

Food with height shoots well from straight on

Straight on gives height and drama


The best photographers tell a story with their shots

A visual story keeps photographs interesting

Fake it if you have to!

After Matt’s lecture it was time to start shooting.

I was ready to get up and just dive in.

The food table with everything from radishes to fresh flowers to peppercorns to desserts.

People grabbing off of food table

Guess what I chose to shoot?

You guessed it: cupcakes!

Chocolate cupcake with yellow frosting with raspberries on plate
I chose, plated, and styled, and accessorized the cupcake

Overhead of cupcake on plate

And then shot it.

The pink sugar sprinkles were the icing on the (cup)cake for me <— pun intended

Close up of frosted cupcake on plate overhead

And after that, we broke for lunch.

It was an intense morning.  I learned tons.

It will all continue to sink in as the days (and weeks and months) pass.

But for now, my internet connection is painfully slow and so I am going to sign off and explore a bit of Boulder in the evening before it gets too late.  We start again bright and early tomorrow!

I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures of the early morning Boulder run I did.  Yes, it’s super pretty here!  I won’t lie, I love San Diego and the beach and ocean will always be my true love, but it is so pretty here!


1. What are your photography challenges?

I have these photography tips posts, too:

Food Styling: Books, Props, & Photo Quality: It’s not just your equipment that matters
Food Styling: Pretty & Not So Pretty Pictures
Plate to Pixel: Book Review & Photography Tips

2. When you’re in lectures, do you take a lot of notes or do you just try to absorb what you can and not stress out about writing it all down?

When I was in school, yes, I stressed out about writing every single word down that I possibly could.

But for lectures like this, there is so much information, and there are no “tests” and I didn’t try to write it all down.  I remained mindfully present, wrote down some key pointers, and worried less about writing it all down and more on just listening and absorbing.  In a few weeks I may wish I had written more down!  But they are sending us the Powerpoint slides so I’m not too worried.

Reminder to enter the Giveaway for the Healthy Cookies & Brownies

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