Food Photography Workshop with Joy Gurtiza

"You have a keen eye for taking good pictures," a photographer-slash-employee of my previous company once told me. I never had a DSLR but took pride in taking good still photos using my point-and-shoot cameras. I have not taken any photography lessons before and extremely clueless on the technicalities of the craft.

Mid of 2016, I have decided to take my photography to the next level. I took a leap and got a mirrorless camera that we can use for my daughter's first birthday. Moreover, I thought I could use it for blogging and vlogging. BUT I don't know how to use it. Since then, my Canon EOS M10 camera has been on auto-mode whenever I use it. 

Last month, I was one of the very lucky bloggers who was chosen to join the free food photography class of Joy Gurtiza of at Caffe La Tea along Congressional Avenue. I was already 7 months pregnant and I was so thrilled that the venue is just a few minutes from my place. First time to attend a photography workshop. I was so excited, the baby inside me somersaulted in joy. Ha ha!

I can do this, I told myself.

March 25 was a Saturday and traffic was so bad that some of the participants came in late. I was just a few kilometers away from the venue and yet I was a few minutes shy to being late as well.

We were greeted by the Jerro Santos of and marketing consultant of Caffe La Tea.

After short introductions, Ms. Joy has asked us to take photos of the food placed on the tables. We were tasked not to touch the food or its container. This was our "before" photoshoot.

Seriousness :)
Photo Credit: Joy Gurtiza

photography workshop philippines
Participants busy taking their before photos

Here are some of my shots using a Vivo V3 phone camera and Canon EOS M10. Note that all settings for the cameras I used are on auto-mode.

Before shot

In the workshop, technicalities were discussed in such a way that a non-techie person would understand. Some of the topics we tackled are about color palette, perspective and angles, depth of field, props, lighting, and exposure triangle. 

Participants were asked to tinker with our devices as we go along with the lessons. For the very first time I finally understood what ISO, apperture, and shutter speed mean! My brothers and a former work colleague tried to explain those previously but I just couldn't grasp the applications of it. But now, I know how to use them.

The workshop was filled with lots of easy-to-understand information and application that even the most non-techie photographer like me would be able to learn.

Our sumptuous lunch was served by the venue and we couldn't stop taking photos.

Our final challenges were to take photos of products from Arla, one of the sponsors of the event. Another was to take photos of the same food we took at the beginning of the workshop. This time, we were given freedom to conceptualize our "canvass." We moved this and that, added props, played with our cameras and applied the knowledge we learned.

Although unsure, I took the risk and captured photos using the manual-mode of my camera.

Here are some of the photos I took using the manual-mode of my camera. I won't be posting photos I took when my camera was still on auto-mode so that you can see the difference in the photos I took before and after.

A post shared by Petite Momma | Kat Santiago (@petitemomma18) on

A post shared by Petite Momma | Kat Santiago (@petitemomma18) on

Oh you should see my co-participants' photos, ang gaganda!! They were so good. Nanliit ako, swear! Hahaha! Pero aja pa din tayo dapat! :D 

The two greatest takeaways I got from the workshop are:

- Take a picture that's as good for uploading/printing

And, more importantly

- Tell a story through your photo

Participants with Joy Gurtiza and our favorite, Arla!
Photo Credit: Joy Gurtiza
Do you see me tiptoeing back there? Haha!
Photo Credit: Joy Gurtiza

Master and Padawan :)
With Ms. Joy Gurtiza
Thank you so much Mommy Joy and Caffe la Tea for this enjoyable learning experience! Forever grateful for the opportunity! :)

I still have a long way to go to improve my craft. And I am thrilled to see how much I will improve through practice.