Today I’m sharing an honest review of the food photography course that completely changed the way I compose, style and edit my photos. Foodtography School is an online photography course for both beginner food photographers as well as more advanced photographers, and it’s an absolute gold mine of information. Read all about my food photography journey, how I improved my skills and photo quality, and how I actually started earning money with my camera!
Disclosure: As one of Foodtography School’s alumni, I’m proud to now be an affiliate for their products. I only promote products that I love and use myself, and if you make a purchase through one of the affiliate links in today’s post, I will earn a commission on that purchase at no extra cost to you.
Who Created Foodtography School?
Sarah Crawford is the founder and teacher for Foodtography School. She started her popular food blog, Broma Bakery, in 2010, before creating Foodtography School to teach over 6,000 students who are as passionate about food photography as she is! Sarah has an approachable, relatable teaching style that makes it easy to dive right into the online courses.
Who is Foodtography School For?
Everyone! Whether you’re a complete beginner who uses your iPhone, you’re just starting to learn how to use a DSLR, or you have some experience with photography but need help to push your photography to the next level, there’s something for photographers of every level! You can shop all of the courses, presets and guides here. And as a bonus to you, use my discount code curlygirl for 15% off anything except the bundles and payment plans.
Another great thing about this course is that your purchase never expires! You have LIFETIME ACCESS to all purchased courses, so you can go through it as slowly or quickly as you like, and go back for a refresher any time you need it.
How Enrolling in Foodtography School Changed My Food Photography
The Beginning of My Blog
I created Curly Girl Kitchen in 2011, mainly to photograph and document the dinners that my boyfriend and I loved cooking together. That was before SEO was talked about too much (or I was just oblivious to it), and “diary blogging” was still very much a thing. So I wrote whatever I wanted, sharing stories from my childhood, my time living and teaching English in China, the places my boyfriend and I would travel to, our engagement and our wedding. And along with the stories, I’d share recipes that were delicious, but very badly photographed.
My boyfriend (now my husband) gifted me a DSLR for my birthday one year, and he is my absolute biggest supporter over the years. Without his love and support, I might never have taken the steps that I did to keep learning, growing and improving. But even with a DSLR, I wasn’t improving all that much, my Instagram following wasn’t growing, and my blog had very few page views.
Deciding to Take Foodtography School
I’d been following Broma Bakery on Instagram for a while, and was in awe of her gorgeous photos. Crisp, clear, striking, and so perfectly well lit. I was also deeply inspired by Emma Duckworth Bakes, another Foodtography School alum. So in the spring of 2020, I purchased the beginner’s Foodtography School Course, and dove in head first. And I learned SO MUCH.
To start, I learned more about my DSLR, and finally became brave enough to take it off auto and start using the manual settings. I also packed away my kit lens, and upgraded to a 50mm1.8 lens, which gives food photography the most beautiful background blur and bokeh. I learned how to edit my photos in Lightroom, and just loved the difference it made in the final image. Editing is now one of my favorite parts of the photography process, and I absolutely love the way I can completely change the mood of a photo simply by how I edit the colors, light and shadows.
And the lessons on composition and styling just blew my mind. I learned so much about how to position props, and how to use them in a way to highlight the subject of my photo, rather than distracting from it. As a natural light photographer (at least up to this point), the lesson on light was immensely helpful to me. I found the best window in my house for shooting, and learned how to change my camera settings and white balance based on the light available each day.
Another turning point for me was when I started joining some blogging groups, beginning with the private FB group just for Foodtography School alumni. From there, I was introduced to other groups, and it’s been an enormous help to be able to ask questions of other photographers and bloggers, get feedback and critique on photos, learn more about SEO, and gain access to resources that I had no idea existed.
What’s Included in the Course?
To get into the specifics, these are the units that are covered in Foodtography School. As you can see, the course covers SO MUCH MORE than just photography. It provides tools and resources to succeed with not only composing, styling and editing more beautiful photos, but also how to pitch brands and manage a more successful and aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed that will get you noticed. ALL from one course!
- Unit 01: Fundamentals of Photography
- Unit 02: Composition
- Unit 03: Light
- Unit 04: Branding
- Unit 05: Editing
- Unit 06: Social Media
- Unit 07: Marketing
- 3 Live Styling Sessions: Pasta, Pie and Brownies
- Product Styling Session
- Downloadable Workbook
- Private Facebook Group Access
- Exercise Assignments for Each Unit
- Exclusive Student Discounts
You’ll love the live styling sessions, as you’ll get to watch Sarah set and style a scene and then shoot it, as she explains every step of the process, why she positions the linens and plates just so, how to use the light that’s available, and the best angles to use for the subject. With access to the private Facebook group, you’ll be able to share photos and get helpful feedback from other students, as well as gain more support and followers on your Instagram page. And with your course purchase, you’ll get discounts on other products, too!
Where I Am Now With My Food Photography
So after completing the course, and spending months and months practicing, I made several major changes in order to be able to start monetizing my “hobby” in order to turn it into a career. In addition to upgrading my camera lens and learning Lightroom, I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress in the summer of 2020. Then I began the (very slow) process of re-writing and re-photographing almost EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST on my blog. There were almost 800 posts, and hundreds didn’t make the final cut. Since I had never paid attention to best SEO practices, I needed to rewrite each post in order to increase my page views and rankings so that people searching for recipes could actually find my blog. After nearly a year of work, I’m almost done with this project, hurray!
Besides re-writing, I felt that the updated photos were necessary to showcase my best work, with my blog serving not only as a recipe resource for high altitude bakers, but also as my photography portfolio. With my improved photos, I saw a dramatic increase in engagement on my Instagram account, and my Instagram followers increased from 5k to almost 30k in one year.
So Am I Making Money?
Yes! In the last month alone, I made over $4,000 from sponsored Instagram posts and collaborations with well-known brands who approached ME. I’ve also been approached by bloggers with very large IG followings, looking to outsource their food photography as a paid job. Since SEO is a long-term game, I haven’t quite reached the level of page views that I need to qualify for a premium ad agency so I can start monetizing my blog, but I’ll get there! (Update: Three months after publishing this post, I hit my page view goal, and was accepted by the ad agency I applied to.)
What Does Foodtography School Offer?
Whether you’re a complete beginner who uses your iPhone, you’re just starting to learn how to use a DSLR, or you have some experience with photography but need help to push your photography to the next level, there’s something for everyone here! You can shop all of the courses, presets and guides here. And as a bonus to you, use my discount code curlygirl for 15% off anything except the bundles and payment plans.
- Foodtography School
- Advanced Foodtography School
- Restaurant Foodtography School
- iFoodtography School
- The Style/Edit
Guides and Templates
- Sponsored Post Pricing Guide
- Brand Pitch Guide
- Top 5 Presets
- Customizable Media Kit
- Light and Bright Presets
- Dark and Moody Presets
- Website Templates
- and more!