Recipes, Writing

5 Things I Learned From Sarka Babicka & Jo Yee’s Food Photography Workshop

3rd September 2015

So yeah, this has been a LONG time coming. Back in May I attended a Food Photography workshop lead by Sarka Babicka, Joanna Yee (Candids By Jo) with food styling advice from Olia Hercules. I’d been a big fan of Olia’s work after stumbling across her on Instagram a year or so ago and always wished I could get a chance to pick her brains so this class was almost a dream come true…without sounding like too much of a creepy fan girl. The fact that it was lead by two of the most talented photographers/food bloggers out there right now just happened to be the most incredible bonus.

This is what I learned…

1. Natural light is everything

If you’re a food blogger or photographer you’ve probably figured this out for yourselves already but if you haven’t then seriously, natural light is your biggest asset and teaching yourself how to manipulate it will make or break your photos – trust me, I’ve learned it the hard way.

Two things that Sarka and Jo said that really stood out for me were that don’t get too transfixed on having a specific spot at home that you shoot from. Test EVERYWHERE, the point of perfect lighting might end up as somewhere completely unexpected.


Also the angle of your light makes a big impact on the mood of your photo. Side-light tends to look moodier whereas back light looks more natural. To be fair this was slightly eclipsed by the fact our location was Lyle’s in Shoreditch and had possible the most beautiful light I’ve ever seen but hey.

2. Use paper as a cheap source of backgrounds

Jo said that this was one of her greatest tricks and she wasn’t wrong. One of the hardest things I had struggled with before was choosing a great textured backdrop for my photos and investing in wooden pallets/marbled tables and general Pinterest porn was looking £££. A quick trip to paperchase post workshop was really worth it.


3. Make the most of water

If you have any kind of liquid in your shot, try to position it with the light shining through so there’s a beautiful reflection in your photo.

4. Work the corner…

So many potentially great photographs are ruined by ill thought out styling. This is something that I’ve struggled with in the past (who am I kidding, I still struggle with it now) but one thing that Jo said was to ‘work the corner’ by placing your props at the edge of your photos. Just take a look at her Instagram for inspiration here and you’ll see how well it works.

5. Colour scheme

Almost the most important (after lighting obviously) is to choose your colour scheme. I think that this is something that gets overlooked so easily but is such a simple way to take your photos to that next level of professionalism. Try to pick 2/3 colours that compliment each other and use them throughout your photo series or entire blog. Make sure they not only reflect the recipe you’re trying to showcase but also your own personal style.





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  • Reply Ursula Rose 1st December 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Love your site and your work xxx

    • Reply Maria 4th December 2015 at 9:23 am

      Thanks so much lovely!!! Same to you xxx

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