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Feb 9, 2024

How to Become a Food Photographer in 10 Months

When life gives you lemons, develop a lemon-focused recipe, bake it, photograph it, and sell it! That’s how you become a food photographer.

Just kidding! But truthfully, the real story behind becoming a food photographer isn’t that different. At least it wasn’t for Kelly. Life gave her a lemon in the form of losing her well-paying stay-at-home medical transcriptionist job. She took that lemon, found Pretty Focused, signed up, and within ten months was selling food photos and earning a living. 

Pretty awesome lemonade, right?

Kelly’s Story: From Medical Transcriptionist to Food Photographer in 10 Months

So, how did Kelly transform her life so quickly? Her story is similar to so many of our students.

  • Kelly was a successful medical transcriptionist with 17 years of experience, when the career field suddenly slowed and she was left floundering for work and a good salary.
  • Thankfully, she saw an ad for Pretty Focused online and decided to give it a shot.
  • After a lot of hard work, within ten months, Kelly had graduated from the course and become a food photographer.
  • Now, she works when and how she wants, earning the same hourly salary she did as a sought-after medical transcriptionist.

Watch her full story now.

02:17 Share about yourself and what you were doing before Pretty Focused
07:54 Why can’t you just “youtube it” (how to do food photography)?
15:29 Tell us about when you graduated
19:54 What happened after you graduated?
22:42 Are you working with clients steadily, what does that look like for you?
23:59 When did you graduate?
27:28 What kind of freedom and flexibility do you have?
34:01 Did you know how to use a camera before you joined Pretty Focused?
35:28 What camera do you have now?
37:07 What was the most challenging part?
39:34 Were the new updated lessons helpful?
40:45 What advice do you have for people who have not joined Pretty Focused yet?
43:24 Can you tether while using flash artificial light?
44:14 What advice do you have for students or grads?
46:00 How do you tell people what you do?

Finding a New Career Path After 17 Years

For 17 years, Kelly was a highly successful medical transcriptionist with an excellent salary. She loved her career and consistently earned praise as a top performer. She even got to work from home before most people considered it a possibility. But then the field started to slow down, and a few years ago, she suddenly had to find a new path.

“And so I switched over to legal transcription, and it was not the vibe I wanted. Plus, it was a significant loss in income. I was barely getting by.” So, Kelly had to figure out “where next.” Thankfully, that’s when she encountered a Pretty Focused ad on Facebook and learned how to become a food photographer. “I watched the Roadmap video, and I couldn't sleep because I was so excited!”

Check out the Pretty Focused Roadmap that so excited Kelly!

Discovering Pretty Focused and Signing Up in the Nick of Time

Kelly was ready to sign up for Pretty Focused immediately, but part of her wondered if she couldn’t go it alone. Did she really need the help of an online course? Couldn’t she learn to become a food photographer from YouTube and her own research? Not exactly! Kelly quickly realized that she would miss out on so much by trying to do it all herself. She wanted access to Pretty Focused’s coaches to guide her along, the Buyer’s Club for after she graduated, and everything else. So, she signed up in September 2022.

And, as fate would have it, Pretty Focused came in the nick of time because just three months later, in December, Kelly was let go from her transcription job. “I got a call. And the boss was like, effective immediately, you don't have a job. And, gosh, it was a huge shock!”

The good news was that now Kelly could accelerate her plan for Pretty Focused and give it 100% of her time and attention. From that point onward, food photography became her new career while she utilized her unemployment benefits, “And it was actually really beautiful how it all worked out.”

Learning How to Become a Food Photographer with Pretty Focused

That’s not to say that going through the Pretty Focused course was all hearts and roses. It was very difficult at times. There were many days when Kelly was confused and frustrated. She had very little camera experience and only purchased the bare minimum supplies, so she had to make a lot of things work as they were, but she figured it out.

She stayed curious and “just started digging in.” When necessary, she watched modules on repeat until she understood the concept that was being taught. It took persistence and dedication, but eventually, after ten months of work, Kelly graduated from Pretty Focused, successfully becoming a food photographer.

Life as a Newly Minted Food Photographer 

Now, Kelly works when and how she wants, creating a monthly schedule that fits her lifestyle. When things are busy—it’s the holidays, other work pops up, or she just needs time off—Kelly photographs around her plans. It’s been a game-changer in so many ways already, and it hasn’t even been a year. 

Already, she has a rotation of clients who come to her regularly and semi-regularly with assignments. And as she gets faster and faster in her work with more practice, she’s able to take on more in less time. It’s really amazing, and Kelly can’t wait to see where her work takes her; the possibilities are endless.

Check out our community for countless student success stories.

Learn How to Become a Food Photographer: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

Kelly was ready to become a food photographer almost as soon as she found Pretty Focused. “I was ready to take back my time, be my own boss, and just do things a bit differently.” But if you’re still on the fence about becoming a food photographer, here are four questions you can ask yourself before signing up for Pretty Focused.

  1. Can YouTube Teach Me How to Become a Food Photographer?

So many people think YouTube can replace the Pretty Focused course. In fact, Kelly’s boyfriend pointed out this very thing when she was considering Pretty Focused. But while YouTube can be a great resource, it’s no substitute for dedicated classes, couches, and community. As Kelly explains, “I didn’t even know what I had to ask or what I’d be looking for” in regards to food photography.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” so relying on YouTube puts a lot of pressure on you to have a deep understanding from the start. You need to know what questions to ask and where to search, which is extremely difficult if you’re starting at the beginning. “YouTube is great at pieces,” but you have to put it all together.

On the other hand, Pretty Focused was specifically designed to cover all aspects of launching a food photography career and put it into one easy-to-follow package. You’ll learn everything from how and where to find clients to how to take the best photos and everything in between.

Learn more about what it takes to graduate Pretty Focused in our detailed FAQs.

  1. If They Can Do It, Why Not Me?

Do you look at food photographers making six figures and think, “I’m not creative enough to do that” or “I don’t know how they’re so successful; it seems too good to be true”? Kelly recommends changing your response. Instead of saying, “I can’t do that,” ask yourself, “If they can do it, why not me?”

When Kelly read through all the Pretty Focused student testimonials, they got her so excited. “I was geeked. If they can do it, I can do it!” And that’s the exact right thought process to have because you’re going to get frustrated. You’re going to be confused; you’re not going to understand some things. But if you stay curious, ask questions, and are open to whatever comes your way, then you can become a food photographer.

Discover the Pretty Focused community on Facebook to hear from our other students about how the course has changed their lives.

  1. Are You Willing and Ready to Stay Curious and Persistent Even When It’s Hard?

Whenever you’re learning something new, it can be a difficult journey. Oftentimes, your dreams and expectations are far removed from reality. If you’re going to succeed in becoming a food photographer through Pretty Focused, you have to be willing to stay curious even when you get frustrated and struggle.

As Kelly explains, “I had to be curious quite a few times when I couldn’t figure out what I was doing. Like when I couldn’t figure out the focal point.” Kelly stayed curious, which meant she kept searching for answers, watching content again and again, and asking questions until she heard it in a different way, and it just clicked. Her persistence and curiosity always paid off.

  1. Are You Ready to Set Your Own Calendar and Create the Flexibility That You Need?

If you’re used to a typical 9-5 job in the office, you don’t have any experience with the ultimate flexibility open to food photographers. You can literally set your schedule to be whatever you want, and you can adjust it monthly, weekly, or even daily. It’s entirely up to you. The question is, are you prepared to set your calendar?

Kelly sets her calendar on a monthly basis and works from there. It’s been very successful. First, she plans out her calendar with all the things going on in her life. For example, November was a busy month with birthdays, holidays, and the opening of her boyfriend’s coffee shop. From there, she figured out when and where she could shoot photos in between her free days. Then, whenever a blogger reached out with work, she “figured out where stuff fit.”

4 Tips for Becoming a Food Photographer Through Pretty Focused

Now that you’ve asked yourself the hard questions about becoming a food photographer let’s dive into some tips to help you be successful. They’re simple: build a support system, think outside the box, figure out what you love, and don’t let frustration win.

Build Your Support System and Rely on Them

Pretty Focused comes with a built-in support system through coaching, the Facebook group community, and the Buyer’s Club. They will be vital to your success! Having people who know what you’re going through and who believe in you is incredibly important. “The community in the group is awesome,” says Kelly. 

But if you have the opportunity to expand your support network, Kelly recommends that you do it. That’s what she did. Kelly created a separate, smaller community to celebrate their journeys and troubleshoot their struggles. The goal, “I wanted accountability or just to bounce ideas off each other.” It was just a handful of women, but “I really appreciate my little community!”

Learn more about Pretty Focused’s Buyer’s Club for all graduates—an exclusive community of food bloggers looking to purchase what you’re selling.

Think Outside the Box When it Comes to Food Waste

If the thought of wasting food has kept you from becoming a food photographer, then it’s time to think outside the box. You don’t have to be the one to eat all the recipes you cook. Kelly doesn’t. In fact, from the very beginning, Kelly got the neighbors in her building involved and now regularly gives them the food that she makes.

Just recently, Kelly created a delicious Mushroom Wellington, and after taking her photos, “a neighbor just came over and grabbed some. She loved it!” So there’s no reason to be worried about wasting food. There’s always someone willing to enjoy what you create. You just have to find them.

Dive Into What You Love About Food Photography, and It Won’t Feel Like Work

Whenever you’re doing something to make a living, it feels like work. And really, none of us like work. But when you’re in the right career field, there are times when work and what you love can coincide, and then you won’t mind what you do every day. In fact, you’ll be excited about it!

For Kelly, that’s editing photos. “It’s what I dreamed of doing as a teenager, going to a coffee shop, having projects, and working with design. Now, here we are, so I don’t see that as work.” The key is to find the aspect of food photography that gets you most excited, that makes you happiest, and let that be your guide. You won’t regret it.

If awesome photography gear is what excited you, be sure to check out our store!

Don’t Get Frustrated. Instead, Go Into the Trenches and Figure It Out

Food photography is a new language for many Pretty Focused students.  You’ll learn so many new things, from lighting to focal point, styling, and so much more. Don’t get frustrated when you struggle to learn every step. It happens to everyone. Know that “you’ll figure it out, eventually. However long it takes.”

As with everything in life, there will be hiccups along the way. There will be times during Pretty Focused that you’ll feel lost; just don’t give up. If you keep working on it, you’ll get where you need to be. What really worked for Kelly was “being in the trenches with it…just figuring it out…trial and error.” Sometimes, all you can do is dive into your problem and work on it over and over again until you succeed.

Are You Ready to Become a Food Photographer? Sign Up for Pretty Focused Today!

“If you can see yourself doing food photography, if it’s something you want to do, something you desire, then know that Pretty Focused is an opportunity in front of you to go and do it.” When Kelly first looked at Pretty Focused, she saw herself in “this lifestyle and this job,” and she went for it. Now, she’s moving and grooving and couldn’t be happier. Just remember Kelly’s wise words, “Stay curious!” 

If you’re curious about Pretty Focused and ready to start your own journey, there is no better time than now. Sign up to become a food photographer today with Pretty Focused. You won't regret it.

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