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One-on-One Food Photography Seminar

I’ve been photographing food for a long time and I’ve been teaching people about food photography all along.  I’ve written quite a few articles and countless blog posts on the subject and taught classes to dozens, but there is nothing like working with a fellow photographer, one-on-one. With such an intimate setting, there’s no wasted time, no stupid questions, no unwanted tangents of the teacher’s attention.  The attention is all yours so you can learn EVERYTHING you came to learn.

Who this seminar is for

This one-on-one seminar is designed for current professional photographers looking to branch out from their current specialty to dabble in the word of food photography.  Maybe you’re a wedding/portrait photographer and you see a need in your market for another good food photographer.  This would also be a great learning experience for a novice food photographer to take his (or her) understanding to the “next level”.  There is really nowhere else to go for the information you will get at this class.

Who this seminar is not for

This seminar is not for someone new to photography.  If you aren’t already a master of your equipment, this seminar will be way too advanced and a waste of your time.  You need to know how to use some sort of electronic flash and have a camera with multiple lenses, and know how to use them.

What you will learn

You will learn anything you want.  You can design our own seminar.  If you want to talk lighting, we can do lighting, If you’re interested in business, we can talk business.  The same with composition, camera work, or propping.  Whatever you want to learn about food photography, I’ll put together a seminar that will let you go back home knowing the secrets of professional food photography.

The typical seminar starts out with me demonstrating how I approach food photography lighting.  Everyone wants to know that.  There are a few secrets, once demonstrated, will open your eyes to the art of lighting for food photography.  My style of lighting is quite specialized and is not for everyone, but the theories and principles are applicable to other styles as well. You will learn many basic and advanced concepts of lighting food for maximum shape and texture.

What you will need to bring to the seminar

DSLR Camera
Normal / zoom lens
A macro lens would be nice
You can bring your lighting equipment and we can adapt everything you learn to your equipment.

How you will need to prepare for the seminar

Think long and hard about some of the things your really want to know about.  Is it lighting?  Do you want to learn the best way to attract customers?  Do you want to know the rights and wrongs of propping or composing a food photo?  Just make a list of questions and topics you want to learn about, prioritize them, and send me your list so that I have plenty of time to prepare for your seminar.  It’s very helpful to begin the seminar already knowing what it is that you want to learn.

What I need from you before the seminar

  • A list of questions that you want me to address at the seminar
  • You need you to send me a link to a dozen of your very best food photos, telling me what you feel you did right and wrong with each shot.
  • A list of three of your favorite food photographers.
  • A list of foods you’d like to practice on, during the seminar.

What to expect at the food photography seminar

While I’m willing to adjust our dates and times to accommodate your travel schedule, the normal start time of the seminar is 8:00.  For the first half of the day, we get to know each other, talk about your current skill level and I do a few demonstrations related to the specific questions you had submitted to me earlier.  We work until lunch time in my Pittsburgh studio and then go out to a local restaurant, discussing food photography the entire time.  In the afternoon, we continue with the demonstrations and then you get hands-on experience with me looking over your shoulder, all the while, making comments and giving you suggestions.  The class ends at 5:00 ish.  .

How much do I charge?

1-day seminar – $1350.00
2-day seminar – $2100.00

$1350.00 seems like a lot of money until you realize that it’s less than one day’s shooting fee.  In other words, you can easily make up this price on your very first food shoot.

How do you schedule your one-on-one food photography seminar?

Just drop me an email and we can compare schedules and work out a time when we both are available.  We can make it on a weekend if you wish, or during the week.  It’s up to you.


I attended Michael Ray’s Food Photography Lighting Seminar/Workshop in September of 2010.  To say it expanded my knowledge and confidence for food photography lighting would be an understatement.
I’ve taken other lighting seminars but Michael’s workshop had immediate applications to my photographic needs.  I was shown the equipment and techniques that enabled me produce beautiful photographs back in my studio.
The tips and tricks I learned from Michael allowed me to solve lighting problems and go on to create my own personal lighting style.
If you can take only one food photography lighting seminar, make it Michael Ray’s.

Ed Emanus

Photographer  |  Cyber Graphics
3825 Delp Street  |  Memphis, TN  |  38118

 “I recently did a one on one, one day seminar with Michael.  Michael is a talented photographer with a willingness to share his techniques and experience.  
His understanding of lighting is incredible.  I saw and learned techniques that were completely new way to look at lighting.  The techniques are applicable to all forms of photography – from Food to Product to Fashion(!).  
His concepts of “Light Layering” and “Light Scraping” and his process are unique.  
This was a “next level” workshop!”

Chuck Powell

Tucson, Arizona

 My name is Jessica Uttinger, and I shoot food photography for a local gourmet grocer in Dayton, Ohio. I recently took a workshop with Michael Ray, along with one of my co-workers, and I have only good things to say!
Michael’s knowledge of lighting is vast and he isn’t shy about sharing that knowledge. He was very generous with his own trade secrets, which truly make his work stand out among competition. Before the workshop, I would stare at his photos and wonder how on earth he was achieving certain lighting techniques. During the workshop he taught us those exact techniques and I’m confidently using them back at my home studio!
Michael is also a phenomenal teacher. He has a great sense of humor and is very patient. We spent two days mentoring with him, and I was sad to leave as I felt I’d made a friend. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to learn from such a leader in the field of food photography, and I hope our paths cross again one day! I highly recommend this workshop to any food photographer looking to enhance their skills.
Jessica Uttinger
Dorothy Lane Market

After spending two days with Michael Ray Photography, we walked away knowing that the quality and design of our food photography was going to increase substantially. During our workshop, he provided one-on-one instruction and used our time to cater to very specific needs we had expressed. He coached us on new, different techniques he uses to create his own images, and helped us recreate similar effects to apply in our home studio.
Working for a small chain of gourmet grocers in Ohio, we’re confronted with many challenges and limitations on a daily basis. We presented these to Michael and he used his unique breadth of knowledge to individually address each circumstance.
Michael is experienced and passionate about all things related to Food Photography, and we left with a similar fervor to apply what we had learned to our own photos.
Dayton, Ohio

Michael Ray Photography
2820 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222