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Two intense days of food styling and photography

When I first started Something New For Dinner I naively thought the success of my website would directly correlate to the quality of my recipes. WRONG! Great recipes are essential, but I have learned that the greatest recipe doesn't matter if it isn't accompanied by beautiful food photography. I can't tell you how many times I have developed a great recipe but failed to get a good shot and had to remake and shoot the recipe again. So among the many new skills I have been working on, food styling and photography are at the top of my list.

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A weekend with Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple

I recently had the great fortune to learn from two of the top professionals in food photography:  Todd Porter and Diane Cu. Their resume includes all of the top food brands, food magazines, and food lifestyle brands. You name it, they have shot it. They have a beautiful food blog, White On Rice Couple, and an exquisite cookbook Bountiful: Recipes Inspired By Our Garden, which I highly recommend.


On top of all that they run food styling and photography classes out of their amazing Costa Mesa studio that is stocked to the ceiling with the most incredible assortment of food styling equipment. I felt like a kid in a candy shop!

Todd & Diane graciously fed us breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus snacks, hand-crafted coffee, boozy pops (more on these delicious treats later) and a creative cocktail or two. These refreshments were needed to keep us fueled for all the challenging work we were doing.

They took us through food-styling and photography from A to Z, and were extraordinarily generous with their knowledge. For the final test Diane styled 10 stations and required that we shoot each station in 40 seconds. Collectively, all the students' jaws dropped at this 40-second requirement, but Diane calmly assured us we could do it. And she was right, we all shot beautiful photographs during this test.


Here are some of my shots from the weekend: 


So if you look back to my early point and shoot photos, you can see progress is being made. In fact, many of my early shots are kind of embarrassing! Here is a picture of a really great caesar salad I shot when I first started Something New For Dinner. As you can see, the photograph fails to entice.


Click here to see what Kalyn of Kayln's Kitchen, my new food-blogging friend, had to say about the two day session with Todd Porter and Diane Cu.


Thank you, Todd and Diane, for sharing your craft.




  1. You made everything look so delicious and so glad you had a good time. And you received a grade of A+ in the speed-round!
    diane and todd

    1. Kim says:

      Oh Diane,

      You made my day! Thank you for everything!

  2. Kim, your photos look great. And I love all the photos you got of the studio. What a great place to learn.

    1. Kim says:

      I think you said it best in your post. It was a “life-changing” class. And the best part was meeting fellow bloggers like you.

  3. I enjoyed reading this, especially the 40 sec challenge! whoa… Thank you for sharing.

    1. Kim says:

      Hi Renee,
      The class was a wonderful learning experience for me. I thought there was no way I could shoot in 40 seconds, 10 times in a row and come up with anything worthwhile. I wouldn’t recommend it as a practice, but as an exercise it was a great challenge and motivation to think on your feet. BTW, your photographs on Flavors of Light are beautiful.

      1. Hi Kim, I’d feel the same! That principle is a good exercise that I’m going to try myself. What fun to get to hang out with Todd and Diane and other bloggers and shoot food Thanks for sharing, and thank you for your kind compliment.

        1. Kim says:

          Renee –
          Your photographs are truly gorgeous!

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