Food Photographer Penny De Los Santos on Her Remarkable Free Workshop

BlogHer Original Post

Saveur and National Geographic photographer Penny de los Santos has spoken at BlogHer Food, gives classes in photography around the country, and shares her stories and images on Appetite. And now, she's taking her show to the web. From May 13-15, anyone can watch a live-streamed, three-day training free -- it's a terrific opportunity to learn from this talented photographer and inspiring instructor.

Penny De Los Santos Headshot

The class will focus on the photography of food and food culture, but Penny said she also wants to talk about how photographers can protect themselves and their images.

"There are things that frustrate me about the industry today, and I think it is important to educate people who aren't doing this professionally," said Penny. "I want to make sure people are making wise decisions. People are thinking about getting their photographs published, but not the value for what they are doing."

Though the workshop will be streamed online, someone has to be there in person to work with Penny. Six photographers will have the opportunity to join her -- at no expense to them -- for the live experience. Anyone around the world can submit a video explaining why they should be chosen for the workshop. Penny will review the videos and select the class.

"It's about having the right integrity and intention for being in that room," Penny said. "I want the six people to have a really good attitude and to be really good people. I want them to be able to laugh at themselves and have fun."

The Workshop Format

On the first evening of the workshop, the six in-person participants will meet Penny, who will talk about her work and what she does. Participants watching the live stream will have the opportunity to interact throughout the weekend via Twitter and chat interfaces, and Penny will be able to answer some of the questions that come in. She'll also give the entire class -- those in the room and those watching online -- an assignment to create a picture relevant to the subject at hand.

Penny De Los Santos

On Saturday, the group will spend about eight hours experiencing an aspect of the food culture of the Pacific Northwest. Though the actual location has not yet been determined, Penny said she expects it will be a farm or a fishing village. The goal? To give students the opportunity to tell a story around a food-related subject, rather than simply photographing food. Penny will work one-on-one with the in-person students during the day, and the stream will capture those conversations about how they can better approach the work of photography.

Sunday's session will take place in a house or restaurant -- a "controlled environment with super natural light," Penny said. There will be a chef and some of his or her line there prepping dishes, and probably a food stylist to help with plating. Students on-site will shoot the plated dishes, as well as the kitchen team at work. The day will wrap up with a barbeque or oyster fry, which will provide students the opportunity to return to storytelling mode as they shoot the final event.

At the end of each day, Penny will look at photos made by the in-person students, lead a discussion around them, and offer a critique. She will also be able to critique some of the photos submitted as part of the Friday night assignment from students watching the live stream.

To register for the class, visit the Creative Live website. There is no cost to stream the class as it happens, but there is a nominal fee to purchase the recording after the fact.

Genie blogs about gardening and food at The Inadvertent Gardener, and tells very short tales at 100 Proof Stories.

Photo courtesy Creative Live & Penny de los Santos

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