An easy step-by-step online course that teaches you how to shoot beautiful food photography with artificial light.

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"I haven't found anything like this course before. It's straight to the point, super helpful information and actual results. Joanie is such an amazing teacher, I was always so confused about artificial light, how to use it, all the equipment to get and how to make it look just as good as my natural photos - Joanie covers all that and more."

Lindsay Eats LA

"Artificial Academy has been life-changing. I work full-time as an attorney, so prior to learning artificial light, I would cram 4 or 5 shoots into every single weekend. It's so nice to not be bound by the time constraints natural light poses (especially in the winter time)."


"I felt like Joanie was holding my hand through the entire process. She doesn't just give one clear example of how to setup your light source, she gives dozens. Joanie explains every move she makes -- whether it's moving a soft box and speedlite, changing the angle, reflecting light back onto the scene -- it was all so clear. "

Ari Laing of Well Seasoned Studio

Online & Interactive

Artificial Academy is a comprehensive, step-by-step online course that will teach you how to create beautiful food photos using artificial light.

The course includes 26 easy to understand educational videos and an active private online community all geared toward equipping you with the skills you need to master artificial light. 

In addition to all of the video content, the course comes with lifetime access to our private Facebook group where you have direct access to me for support and inspiration from your fellow students.

I'm in the group every day and ready to provide personal assistance to ensure you're successful! Not on Facebook? I'm available via e-mail to students as well.

The course is broken up into 4 units.  The first unit is the "Core Competencies" and is the foundation to understanding flash based artificial light. Flash gives you the greatest control over your lighting and is a vital competency for any professional food photographer.

Once you've mastered the foundations, you'll dive into the "Putting It Into Practice" demos section of the course. This includes live demonstrations of different lighting styles such as dark and moody and light and airy. It also takes you through shooting drinks, overhead shots and shooting in restaurants.

After that, we explore "Advanced Topics" including High Speed Sync, capturing action, working with studio strobes, shooting portraits, working with multiple lights and working with continuous light for stills and video.

The final section is full of step by step "Setup Demos" on specific flash units, taking you through all the settings of the lights that are recommended in my Artificial Light Gear Guide.

I can't wait to see you rock that lighting!

What Gear Do I Need?

Check out my Artificial Light Gear Guide for recommendations on my favorite lights, accessories and modifiers.

Hi! I'm Joanie! 

Commercial food photographer, YouTube creator and enthusiastic educator. 

I remember when I first started shooting artificial light and feeling like I had no clue what I was doing. I felt helpless. Eventually, after tons of research, experimentation and some help from photographer friends, I fell in love with artificial light and today I shoot almost exclusively with it.

I created this course to provide the resource that I wish I had when I started with artificial light. Something simple, concise, straightforward and specifically for food photography. I'm thrilled to get to make your journey easier and to set you free from relying on the sun for light.

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 Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this course for?

Anyone who is looking to incorporate artificial light into their food photography. Food bloggers, commercial photographers, and product photographers make up the majority of students in the course.

Who is this course NOT for?

Experienced photographers who are already using artificial lighting. Though some benefit can be gleaned, it's probably not enough to be worth the time and financial investment as the lessons are geared toward those who are just starting out with artificial light.

Are there pre-requisites?

Yep! You will need to understand how to operate a camera in manual mode in order to get the most out of the course. If you need to learn manual, check out this video playlist on YouTube.

What will we learn?

The course includes an introduction to different types of lighting gear, focusing primarily on speedlights and studio strobes. It also includes a lot of live demonstrations, taking you through shooting light and airy, dark and moody, shooting overhead, working with different modifiers, shooting in restaurants, chef portraits, lighting drinks, capturing high speed action, working with studio strobes, using continuous lighting for stills and video and lighting larger scenes.

How much time commitment is required for the course?

The total course includes 26 instructional videos, all approximately 8 - 15 minutes in length. However, the core of the course is only 90 minutes. Many students complete this first section in one day and find themselves creating great shots within the same day.

Is it only for food photographers or can other photographers benefit?

The content is created specifically with food photography in mind and all demonstrations are relevant to the experience of a commercial or editorial food photographer.  

Is it only for US students or does the material apply internationally?

This course has been enjoyed by students around the globe! If you have questions about gear in your specific country, I help students in the private Facebook group navigate purchases from local merchants.

How long can I access the course materials?

You have lifetime access to all course materials, videos and the online community.  Plus, you also will receive any future updates and additions to the course for your one-time purchase.

Is there a money-back guarantee?

You bet! If for any reason you find that this course will not enable you to learn artificial lighting for food photography, notify me within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

Created for YOU


This course was originally released as Flash for Food Photography in August 2018. Since then, over 600 students have participated in it and provided valuable feedback. They also had some killer requests for new lessons.

If you know me, you know I am always striving to make my educational offerings better and better. Now in its third release, this course is the best it has ever been. It's time to start rocking artificial light in your food photography.

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"It's fun knowing that my images can look like I took them on a bright, sunny day when in actuality it was done at 7 at night in a dimly lit studio using only speed lights and modifiers. I love tricks like that. My goal is to keep my images looking like they were shot using sunlight. I love that natural, airy look and so far I have been successful thanks to this course."

Shanna Schad

"Since flash makes controlling the light easier and more predictable, I have more time to work on composition, styling, and recipes. I have been shooting recipes for cookbooks and magazines for quite some time and often felt like I couldn't bring my skills to the next level. Learning to shoot with flash with Joanie (whom I call my photography fairy godmother) has given me the tools to break through and continue to refine my ever-evolving personal style."

Ashley Madden

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