I signed up for this course in May 2020, this is not a paid review. I do have affiliate links within the post, this means, if you click on the link, and if you purchase the item, I will receive some spending money to buy some kitchen props. I thought some people might want to hear a true personal opinion on the pretty focus course before your decide if this course, is right for you to purchase. The course, was first launced in 2018. Below is Lauren, she started just 2 years ago, without even knowing how to use a camera, and she’s now a positive force that keeps me focus in this course!
Who is this course for?
- Those interested in photography. You don’t need to be a professional. Some start with a new digital camera, with no experience.
- Must like cooking, or creating crafts.
- Blogger, or a viritual assistant to help be a creator of content for those online, and for printed resources, likes magazines, and books.
How is the course taught?
The course is self paced, with online videos. I would recommend, not rushing through it, as practise takes time, and by going slower, you build up your skills. I rushed through it, and I have had to go back to relisten and understand better.
Two Courses to Choose from:
- The Blogger Edition. For those that blog, and want to improve their imagery. It has 4 modules in it.
- Art of Styling
- Camera Basics
- Taking the Picture
2. The Pretty Focused Course.
- It has 6 modules, the same 4 of the blogger edition, with these 2 added modules:
- All about recipes, with a new addition about copyright laws.
- Getting Down to Business
Yes, there are Bonuses!
- Facebook Coaching Community Group
- Full Length Sessions
- 100 Highly Searched Recipes
- Portifolo Review
- Sales Post Guide
- Expense Tracker
- Session Checklist
- Pretty Preset
My WHY in taking this course?
A blogger friend, recommended how great the quality of the photos was from the graduates in the buyers group, and for the connections of the those wanting to buy content. One of her associates, even got paid to make her own meals, as she was creating paid content.
Before I Signed Up?
Before I came across this course, I thought, that I could get away with taking my cellphone photos, and adding them into blog posts, or into an instagram feed, and hadn’t thought too much about the process of it all. I do know better, even I get lazy. I’m a professional photographer, I know images can make or break a sale. Only 40 spots per course opening, so I acted fast! I had plenty of extra time on my hands with self-isolating from Covid-19.
What does one need to start?
I already had the recommendation of equipment:
- a digital camera
- 100 mm macro lense (2.8)
- 50 mm lens (1.2)
- Expo Disc
- Backdrop stands/light stand/c stand/clamps
You don’t need to have experience to start this course. You can buy an entry level dslr, and even a 50 mm 1.8 lens (around $100-150), some dollarstore foamcore, and you would be off to a great start!
I felt I needed more items to buy, as I want to get this going fast!
- Kitchenware from second hand stores
- Paint/Wood from a Hardware Store
- Flooring and marble tile from a Warehouse Store
- Backdrop Banners made in a smaller size at Print shop or backdrop store
- Formcore/sharpies from the Dollarstore
My Beginning of the course
These are still my practise shots. I have to post about 10 recipes in the facebook group first from start to finish, and be specific in where I want to be critiqued. Use the hashtag #feedback, to alert the coaches attention. I’m almost ready to start my portifolio.
Review of the Modules
1. The Art of Styling
I felt at times the lessons were conflicting, as you do certain photos one way, over another. I feel I know composition, but its doing it at different angles with the camera, that have thrown me off at times. I tried to rush through some of the modules, as I felt I know this! My advice, would be to slow things down, read and apply to the comments on all the photos in the Facebook group. The coaches are in there, and are uplifting, but want you to succeed. They were once, just like me! They will give suggestions to make you improve, as it will build your confidence, as you have to work with others to meet their expectations. You can buy premade food to practise on, to save you time in preparation work. I sometimes feel like, “Can I really meet their expectations? I will never get there.”. Then I remember, that this course first started in 2018, and some of the coaches, like Lauren, didn’t even know how to use a camera. Lauren has a young family of 4 children, now develops and sells exclusive new recipes each month. She has flexibility in her schedule, and makes a very decent pay cheque, and now she has even added 1:1 coaching calls. If they can do it, so can you!
2. Camera Basics
Too basic for me, with the added emphasis of using natural light, although you will learn quickly, that many do use artifical lighting. I do use artifical lighting, as then I can photograph at night, usually when my motivation hits. They are nowing offering a Masterclass on Artifical lighting, I feel I don’t need to up my skills on this, but it could be worthwhile, if you are new to it.
3. Taking the Picture
You will be repeating some mantras so you don’t screw up. You learn how to nail focus, and where it should be. You get a great session guide to help guide you through all the steps. I need to photograph and laminate this, it will save me time, and remember all my steps! Lots of great tips in this module, of what you need to look for, even before you take the photo. Photographing a recipe for me, can take 1-2 hrs, with prep work, and all the steps involved. Some of these coaches, have young kids, if they can do it, you can too! Some of them, had no experience or knowledge of how to use a camera, and its amazing how far they have come, in such a short time.
I have been using lightroom for years, but in my past, I had a glitch where I couldn’t export photos. I am now, on the cloud as a subscription membership, and I finally got ahead to learn how to export the images! The bonus preset is also introduced in this module, and I love it!
Granted that this is enough…buy the Blogger Edition.
5. All About Recipes
There is a lot to know about recipes, and what makes one exclusive, over semi exclusive, and how to develop your own. It gives a general overview, but with the recent addition of a copyright laws, it gives a better understanding. They are now offering a masterclass, of how to take this to a higher level. I’m too early to get to started at this next level, but it may be a consideration, in the future.
6. Getting Down to Business
I love business principles, and this is a must to understand the market, and the potential of where your this could go.
Assuming you want to be in business, and want a constant flow of clients. You must have a desire to focus on food, or craft content, I would recommend the Pretty Focused Course especially, with the added Bonuses!
As a part of joining the group, you are added into the pretty focused facebook group. This is valuable, as you are expected to put in a lot of practise of posting the process of photographing recipes or of crafts to be critqued. They are there to support you through this process! I have found some conflicting advice of how many exact recipes one has to add before you can start your portifolio, and if they are to see them all, or a selection. They are a friendly group, and give great advice, as how to improve before your start a portifolio. I don’t feel like I can critique others photos, as I’m still learning, but I can comment on how delicious it is! After you post enough, you can start our portifolio. The portifolio doesn’t get shared within the group, but from what I have seen, its amazing what they create!. Once you pass the portifolio, you are then put into the Pretty Focused Buyers Club, where there is a plenty of willing buyers, that will pay for your skill level. In the facebook group, we discuss real life. I like hearing how honest they are in the facebook group, and when Lauren recently shared her numbers, and how many projects she takes on. You really decide how much you can take on, how much work is out there, and how busy you want to be. I’ve taken a month off of practising, as I needed time to organize my house, and get new kitchen applicances.
At least once a month, in the Facebook group is a Q&A, where its hosted on Arizona time, (that has its own time zone, and always confusing for someone). Each Q&A has different topics, sometimes its an open discussion, zoom call, others a discussion from coaches, and how they first started, or even photography skills and how to solve problems, such as white balance.
Its quite nice, to see 4 recipe videos from start to finish, so one can replay , the process of how you go through. The same principles apply to craft makers, it would be nice to have an added video of a craft.
Why Wait, run, as spots are limited!
Each course that runs, has a max limit of enrollments, and is only open for a span of less than a week. This could be a perfect flexible job, for you to work from home, and around your family schedules. I love working for myself! I also love shooting food or product. I could even have my food paid for, and that’s an added bonus! I invite friends to bring over ingredients of a favourite recipe, so I can practise. Saves them time, keeps me praticising, and not having to eat it all or give it away. I have already applied some of my skills that I have learned from this course in a VA (virtual assistant) group, and had my first two customers. I have had great feedback on my images, and have been paid. I can’t wait to finish up my portifolio, to truly show what I am capable off. I’m up to the challenge, and the new opportunites it can bring! Come join me in the Pretty Focused Course and I will cheer you on in the facebook group! We can be in this together! You can buy the blogger edition, and upgrade later on, and there are also payment plans, if that helps your budget, too. Oh and by the way…..There is also a 30 day guarantee, if you decide its not right for you. I have taken another food photography class online about 10 years ago, but this one really doesn’t leave you after you go through the lessons, they are there. Some in the facebook group, come back after a long break, and say, they wished they weren’t so worry about posting, they delayed because of their own fears, which turned into wasted time. Any type of a job, will require work and dedication. I do love photographing food, as each time, I can create a new scene, it makes it new and refreshing. I will come back and share more, to tell you of my journey!