The fast and easy way to learn how to use artificial light in your food photography so you can shoot whenever and wherever you want.

How to Enroll

Let's do this together.

I know that feeling of overwhelm when learning a new skill. You know it will make life SO. MUCH. EASIER. if you can just tackle this one thing. But then your brain starts spinning thinking about the buttons, the settings, the time commitment...ugh. 

I feel ya. That's why I created this course. I want to fast-track your learning. It's my personal mission to get students excited to be behind the camera and getting creative with artificial light. 

This step by step course guides you through all of the essential lessons you need to know to get up and running with your artificial lights quickly. AND, if you run into any snags, it comes with personal support.  

I crafted the curriculum so that you can have your lights set up and rockin' within a weekend. I want you to be able to capture awesome images with artificial light right away!

How to Enroll

"I haven't found anything like this course before. 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."

Lindsey Eats LA

Let's tackle all the styles together!

Pro food photographers need to know how to create lighting based on the vision of their clients. Food bloggers, similarly, need to be able to capture their signature style. Good news, we cover it all in Artificial Academy so you can be proud of your artificial light images.

Light & Airy

Want to create those ethereal images and think it can only be done with natural light? Learn how to get the popular bright white look with artificial light.

Dark & Moody

Or go for those more moody vibes and learn the methods for playing more intentionally with light and shadows to create stand-out food photos.


Capturing Action

Jump into advanced lessons in the course like capturing action, shooting portraits, shooting in restaurants, working with High Speed Sync and setting up video lighting.

"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

What Gear Do I Need?

Check out my Artificial Light Gear Guide for a run down of gear I recommend. Or, even easier, once you join the course, just send me an e-mail and I'll be happy to personally consult on what will be the best gear for you.

"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)."


Who's your instructor?

I'm Joanie! Commercial food photographer, YouTube creator and enthusiastic educator. 

I love artificial light and shoot with it 99% of the time.  As a self-proclaimed control freak, the predictability of artificial light makes it an indespensable tool in my studio. But, more importantly, I find a lot of creative freedom in artificial lights. 

Prior to my career as a food photographer, I spent a decade working as a trainer and educator on college campuses. It's a privilege to get to combine my passions for photography and teaching together in this course.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing students master a new skill...except for maybe mint chocolate chip ice cream <3

How to Enroll



What EXACTLY are we covering? Great question! Here's the agenda:


  • The Gear
  • Flash Settings
  • Understanding 2 Exposures
  • The Principles of Light
  • Introduction to Modifiers
  • White Balance with Flash
  • Basic Flash Demonstration



  • Flash Demonstration with Live View
  • Dark & Moody Shoot
  • Shoot Thru Umbrella & Light Positioning
  • Shooting Overhead
  • Shooting Drinks



  • Studio Strobes (2 lessons)
  • High Speed Sync (2 lessons)
  • Capturing Action (3 lessons)
  • Shooting in Restaurants
  • Shooting Portraits
  • Lighting Larger Scenes
  • Continuous Lighting (2 lessons)
  • Lighting Video



Showing how to set up and operate specific lights and gear including: Yongnuo 560IV, Godox TT600, TT685, Godox V860II, Godox AD600/400, Flashpoint XPlor 400 & 600, Nikon SB 700, Canon 600exII and more being added soon.

Created for YOU


This course was originally released as Flash for Food Photography in August 2018. Since then, thousands of students (and counting!) 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 (version 4 coming March 2021!), this course is the best it has ever been. It's time to start rocking artificial light in your food photography.

How to Enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this course for?

Anyone who is looking to start using 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 or join my Beginner Bootcamp course.

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 34 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!

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.

How to Enroll

"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. I love that natural, airy look and so far I have been successful thanks to this course."

Shanna Schad

NEW & IMPROVED Coming Soon!

Artificial Academy has taught thousands of students how to use artificial light for beautiful food photography. We've gathered tons of helpful input and are currently working on making this course BIGGER and BETTER than ever. The new version will be released in mid-March 2021. Want to be the first in line when enrollment re-opens? Add your name to the list.


"Learning to shoot with artificial light 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