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My experience with Aiala Hernando’s food photography course

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Seasonal Paleo and gluten free recipes 

My experience with Aiala Hernando’s food photography course

Laura | Lau Sunday cooks

Last week I finished the food styling and photography on-line course given by Aiala Hernando at Delicious yet beautiful.    

The website is a clean aesthetic virtual classroom where Aiala, visual artist, photographer and film director, shares her knowledge and teaches you about food styling and photography.

Beet falafel by Aiala Hernando

You can find many different courses ranging from beginners, to advanced, also covering a wide range of styles and interests. For me, I think the basic course is a must-do for all those who have a passion for food or photography, or both ! Then there is the advanced full program course I recently completed, which is specially dedicated for those interested in breaking into the world of food styling and photography business.   

There are also three new courses coming up soon, one is focused on still life photography, which I already have my eye on, another one is dedicated in depth to the composition and visual perception when it comes to creating a scene. The last, but not least, is all about the post-production process after a photoshoot. 

Delicious yet beautiful | new courses upcoming

Delicious yet beautiful | new courses upcoming

MY EXPERIENCE WITH AIALA HERNANDO’S ONLINE COURSE

I had in the past participated in a few online course before coming across Aiala, last October.  When I came across her site I thought I could go straight on to the Advanced course. She nicely advised me to start with the basic course first, whilst I accepted. Honestly, I thought I would find the same dull information and little knowledge on food styling and photography as with all the previous courses I had attended.  How wrong I was !... with Aiala there wasn’t a single chapter where I didn’t find out some new knowledge, trick or tip. 

Within the 5 week basic course, you learn not only technical concepts and essential food styling techniques but also to analyse and “read” photographs. This includes how to maximise the use of natural light and achieve different moods.  There is also a video tutorial using Lightroom explaining the post-production process after a shooting and even a part focused on mobile photography, so trendy nowadays !

As I said, the course has a practical side to it as well, where you will be encourage by Aiala to do two exercises a week. In my opinion, this is the best part of the course. If you take this part of the course seriously, you will get the most value of the course; Aiala’s feedback. 

I haven’t had the chance to meet Aiala in person yet.  However, I could feel her personality and her commitment for teaching through the accurate feedback I received on each of my exercises. I must say thou, if you have a full-time job like me, get ready to for some intense weeks of very hard work for you make the best of the course. 

Cottage pie with a Mediterranean twist recipe

Cottage pie with a Mediterranean twist recipe

Find the recipe for these guilt-free after dinner here

Find the recipe for these guilt-free after dinner here

Aiala will highlight the good bits, whilst providing you with constructive feedback on where you may need to improve, along with advice and tips to achieve a better result. I was so amazed how much I learned from her taking on board feedback, and following the advice given that I didn’t think twice to repeat the course again.

But the second time, I took on the full programme course which started back in June. Believe me, the six week course proved to be even more productive and helpful than the first back in October.

Sense of sight in gastronomy assignment - June 2015

Sense of sight in gastronomy assignment - June 2015

Food styling essential assignment - June 2015

Food styling essential assignment - June 2015

Even though I’d already done the basic course, I still found myself learning more and more new concepts with the second. Having been on the first course, I also found myself more relaxed which meant I was able to improve even more.  For example, look at the photographs below. The left photograph belongs to the first assignment last October, where we had focus on photograph a raw food.  The shot on the right is from the same assignment back in June.

The brightness and contrast different between shots is more than significant as you will hopefully notice!  A curious fact: the strawberries’s photograph gained over 1000 new followers on Instagram!

The icing on the cake came from the courses final project, where you are asked to put into practise all the concepts and knowledge learnt throughout the lessons.

Do you remember this rich chocolate cake? It was part of my final project. Even though I was absolutely happy with the result at that time, now I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed !  

Well, I suppose that means I’m improving my photography skills along with my auto-criteria. 

Final project - December 2014

Final project - December 2014

And this had been my final project for the course back in July this year. I’m very glad to see in my results that I managed to work with the light and textures much better than the last year.

Final project July 2015 - Recipe here

Final project July 2015 - Recipe here

So, once the online course ended, we had a few days to relax and recharge the batteries before the advanced course began, for two further weeks.

The advanced course is more theory than practical, but yet full of very valuable information. Aiala will guide you on how to conduct an art food photography project, teaching you all about the food photography business, from pitching an idea to a client through to sending a financial proposal.  Most importantly, it also covers different ways to protect yourself against infringement.

Pitching an idea

Pitching an idea

Creative process for a shooting

Creative process for a shooting

As I said, this most recent two week course is more focused on the creative process behind a food shoot. However, at the end of the course, you will be ask to create, shot and manage a advertisement campaign for a brand, to put into practice the theory learnt.

You will have totally freedom to choose the brand you desire and have fun and... this is the one I went for.  Which had nothing to do with S’s love of the brand I choose of course ?! 

Stay tuned because I will post this pulled pork stuffed sweet potato recipe very soon!  The perfect and the most delicious ending to a food styling and photography course.

Thanks Aiala.  

 

Header photographs: Fig salad  | Kitchen


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