Gain total control over your food photography and create stunning food photos with artificial light.

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 glowy look with flashes or LEDs.

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.


Food photographers many times also get called on to do product photography.  The art of lighting products requires unique skills and knowledge that we cover in three lessons together.

Join the Party


Not only do you get lifetime access to 30+ video lessons (and all future additions to the course!) but we have a private community space inside the brand new Bite Shot Classroom for you to ask questions, share photos and connect with other food photographers.  It's our very own platform, so no Facebook account required.  Plus, we have a mobile app, so all of your learning and community access can happen on the go.

"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, ask for help in our course community space and The Bite Shot team will be happy to help!

"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

How to Choose the Right Gear for You

Choosing a Modifier

Getting Started with Flash

Flash Settings

Camera Settings for Flash

Setting Up Your Lights

Understanding Flash Exposure

Flash Activity

Getting Started with Continuous Lights

Setting Up your Continuous Lights

Continuous Activity

Understanding and Manipulating Light

The 5 Principles of Light

Applying the Principles of Light with Modifiers

The Principles of Color

The Histogram

Lighting Defined


Side Light

Back Light

Shooting Overhead

Shooting Hi-Key

Shooting Low-Key

Hard Light

Shooting Drinks

Combining Multiple Lights

Shooting Product on Seamless

Shooting Product on Plexiglass

Shooting in Restaurants

Shooting Portraits

Lighting Larger Scenes

Video Lighting

Overhead Food Videos

Talking Head Videos

Kitchen Videos

Advanced Topics

Shooting Action with Flash

High Speed Sync

Creative Color with Gels

Resources Vault

Assembling and setting up specific lights and modifiers including most popular speed lights, strobes, LEDs and softboxes.


Comprehensive but concise.


This course is the most comprehensive beginner lighting course for food photography on the internet.  Generosity is a core value at The Bite Shot and this course is jam-packed with information and practical lessons.

The secret sauce of Artificial Academy is that the curriculum has been perfected over the years and is delivered in a format that's easy to understand and put into practice right away.  

Having personally purchased too many courses that overpromised and underdelivered, I'm on a mission to prove that an online course can be better than in person and help put you in control of your food photography lighting.

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.

How much time commitment is required for the course?

The total course includes 34 instructional videos, all approximately 8 - 20 minutes in length. However, the core of the course is less than two hours. Many students complete this first section in one day and find themselves creating great shots within the same day.

How much does it cost?

Starting March 2021, the course will be $299.  There will also be a payment plan option of three payments of $120.

Do I need to purchase lighting gear before I start the course?

It's totally up to you.  Some students can't wait to get their gear and buy it right away.  Others prefer to wait until they've watched through the first units in the course so they feel more confident in their gear purchases.  Either way, I'm here to help answer questions about gear before you purchase it and help make sure you're making a good investment based on your needs.

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.

What if I need help and want to ask questions?

We're here to help!  In addition to being able to post questions in the community Activity Feed inside the course (not a Facebook group) where I personally answer questions, you're invited to attend Open Office Hours with me, an opportunity to chat in real time over Zoom.  Times and dates vary in order to accommodate different time zones.

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

Enroll in Artificial Academy

Your purchase includes lifetime access to all course lessons, the online community and total freedom to shoot whenever, wherever you want. All content is on-demand for you to learn at your own pace. Learn what the pros know about lighting and take control over your food photography.

You can choose to pay in full and save some cash or opt for the cashflow-friendly payment plan.

PAY IN FULL - $299 one time payment
PAYMENT PLAN - 3 Payments of $120

"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