Food Writing and Photography


pastries with strawberries


Subject, composition, lighting and point of view are among the answers to that question.

Scott photographs a dish

In Sizzling Images, a weeklong immersion course in food photography, students learned why these four elements are important in making food photographs that are good enough to eat.

Taught by Tampa Bay Times photographer Scott Keeler, Sizzling Images was the kick-off class for the graduate Food Writing and Photography Certificate program at University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Besides graduate and undergraduates, the course attracted several community members who took it as a workshop.

Keeler’s focus during the week was to make sure the students had lots of hands-on experience. From Day One they were shooting, using Edward Weston’s famous pepper photo as inspiration for their first photographs. Their camera equipment varied from professional gear to smartphones.

Each day, they shot a meal they ate, plus they went on a food photo safari to the Gulfport Farmer’s Market and then learned how to shoot on location at La V Vietnamese fusion restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg. They also spent a day at the Tampa Bay Times, touring the studio and prop room and watching how a four-member team brings together a food shoot for the paper’s Taste section. Some students even participated in the food styling. Their final project was a portfolio of styled and propped food photographs.

Keeler was impressed how far the students came in just one week, many of them making photographs that were publishable. The hands-on nature of the class contributed to the progress, he said.

Look for Sizzling Images on consecutive Saturdays in an upcoming semester. Apply today.