Commercial Food Photography: Speedlight


Once you've mastered shooting with natural light, you can now start learning about speedlights: the most budget-friendly lighting equipment for people who want to invest on additional gear for the first time.

While speedlights won't offer the same power that strobes (in the future, we'll have classes on more advanced lighting) or other more expensive equipment do, they're versatile, mobile, easy to set up, and will work in most situations. This means you'll be able to take sharp, well-defined photos in the studio right away.

After taking this class, you should be able to set up your own speedlight-equipped studio. And since speedlights are light and portable, you should also be able to carry these with you to your location shoots for a professional shooting process.

We use Canon speedlights for the class. Don't worry though, the settings are very similar for other brands such as Nikon.

What You'll Learn

  1. The Difference Between Natural and Artificial Light
  2. What is a Speedlight and Why Use it
  3. Basic Speedlight Controls
  4. Power Output
  5. E-TTL Mode: Automatic Flash Settings
  6. Manual Mode
  7. Setting Your Camera for Speedlights
  8. Basics of Flash Photography
  9. Using a Speedlight Mounted on your Camera
  10. Using a Speedlight Off-Camera
  11. How to Synchronize Two Speedlights
  12. Using Two Speedlights in Three Different Shooting Scenarios

The class ends with a quiz so you can check how much you've actually learned. Aim for a perfect score!

Who's this For

Take this class if you want to:

  1. Take the first big (but accessible) leap to using artificial lights.
  2. Control lighting in ways that natural light can't.
  3. Shoot objects such as bottles that need artificial lighting.

What You'll Need

You'll only need a digital camera and an eagerness to learn.

You'll need to have mastered our first two classes: Digital Photography Essentials and Food Photography Fundamentals. However, if you have not taken the classes, but read the outlines and are fully confident that you understand them, you can jump right in.

You'll need a dSLR camera. There's no need for a high-end model at this time.

You'll also need a speedlight or two, in order to make the most out of this course. We'll also guide you through using other accessories that you can combine with your speedlights to get the most out of your equipment.

You won't necessarily need expensive lenses, although they'll help if you already have them with you.

Common Questions

What happens when I buy this class?
Once you purchase a class, it will be added to your account permanently. This means that you'll be able to access it anytime when you log-in to Tablecrafter, forever.

Does the class have an offline version?
We do not have offline versions of our classes because we constantly update and improve them. Once you own a class, you'll also get all future developments, for free. This means that the class will get better over time and you can revisit it as frequently as you like.

How long is this class?
Our focus is on getting you started practicing immediately. This means that we'll skip the parts that we feel are unnecessary to learning, to keep it as light and fast as possible. For us, the best way to learn is to make it as fun and easy at the beginning, and then let you guys immerse yourselves further into the craft with the more technical details later on.  If you're a fast learner, you can complete this class in a matter of hours and get started practicing right away.

Wow, that's pricey for a short class!
Our classes are priced a little higher than most, but there's nothing like it. We did not hesitate to share everything we know about the craft—enough to get you started on a serious career in food photography. Yes, it's short but you'll learn a lot.

What kind of speedlights do I need to purchase?
We'll run you through the different models in this class so you can choose what works best for your budget and purpose.

Why do I need artificial lighting compared to natural lighting?
With natural lighting, you're always at the mercy of sunlight. If you can only shoot with sunlight, you'll always be dependent on time and good weather. For one, you'll need a window with a good amount of light, and you'll have a difficult time shooting when the sun starts to set, or when the day turns out gloomy, overcast, or worse, rainy. 

Artificial lights allow you more control over lighting conditions. You can shoot in a dark room or during any time of the day, for as long as you want and still get a consistent quality of light throughout the shoot.

Is this class enough for me to take commercial food photography work?
It will be more than enough for the work that restaurants and magazines require. There will be a few cases, especially for big corporations and ad agencies, where more advanced lighting equipment and techniques will be necessary.

What if I didn't like the class?
We can't sleep at night knowing that you're not happy. Here's our guarantee: if you did not find this class helpful, just send us a message and ask for a refund. We'll send you your money back as long as the request was made 15 days from purchase.


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