Create beautiful lighting for food photography anytime, anywhere.

My boys were toddlers when I started my food photography business. Finding time for photography during the day was just plain hard!

I needed a way to shoot after they went to bed, and I knew that meant artificial lighting. At first, it felt overwhelming, but I was determined.

I started by buying light after light, reading book after book, and experimenting with ways to make artificial light look natural. And eventually, it did!

What happened next?

  • I never had to race against sunset or wait around for the perfect light.
  • I could do photoshoots at midnight if I wanted.
  • Editing my images went 10 times faster.
  • I had total control of my lighting in unpredictable places like restaurants.
  • I no longer had to turn down jobs because of lighting issues.
  • In fact, I got more jobs because I could give my clients whatever lighting they wanted, and keep it consistent.

I knew other photographers were struggling with their lighting too. So I created Artificial Academy, a fast track way to learn artificial lighting without cutting any corners.

Artificial Academy is a series of simple, straightforward video lessons to make it easy to start using your lights right away. And you don't have to go it alone while you learn. Our community of other food photographers and lighting specialists are here to help you feel confident behind the lights.

Creating beautiful food imagery with artificial light is surprisingly easy. Come see why other photographers couldn't live without their lights!

Val Abenroth 

"Despite a poorly lit location, I walked in with my gear and felt completely confident. The client is THRILLED with the images, and I am on cloud nine! There is SO much freedom in knowing how to create the light I want in any setting!"

Joining Artificial Academy, you get...

Lifetime access to dozens of video lessons and resources, as well as any future additions. Learn at your own pace!

A private community space for you to ask questions, share photos, and connect with other food photographers.

Live monthly Q&A calls for realtime troubleshooting with Joanie and other lighting specialists.

Learn the "why" behind artificial lighting choices, so you can find your own style and photograph in any situation.

Plus lots more!

Takera Gholson

"When it came to lighting education, I just couldn't find what I needed on YouTube. Now since taking Artificial Academy, I can make all kinds of beautiful photos!"

Join Artificial Academy

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  • Preferred option
    Pay in Full$379.00
  • Preferred option
    Monthly Payment Plan (3 Months)3x $145.00

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Lindsey Baruch 

"I haven't found anything like this course before. I was always so confused about artificial light, how to use it, what equipment to get, and how to make it look as good as my natural photos. Joanie covers all that and more."

Meet Joanie

I'm Joanie, creator of Artificial Academy! I'm a commercial food photographer, YouTube creator, and enthusiastic educator. I love artificial light and use it 99% of the time in my work.

As a self-proclaimed control freak, the predictability of artificial light makes it a must have in my studio. But, more importantly, I find a lot of creative freedom in artificial lights. 

Nothing makes me happier than seeing our community members master lighting skills and finding that same creative freedom!

As Seen On

Questions? I have answers!
  • 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 members 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 any prerequisites?
    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.
  • How much of a time commitment is required for this 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. Lots of people complete this first section in one day and start implementing what they learned right away.
  • Do you ever offer discounts?
    We never run sales or promotions, so don't hold out for a discount. The price may go up in the future, but it won't go down. We do offer a monthly payment plan option for those on a budget!
  • Do I need to purchase artificial lighting gear before starting the course?
    It's totally up to you. Some people can't wait to get their gear and want to 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. Regardless of when you get your gear, as a member of the course we'll provide consultation to help you decide what gear will best serve your unique 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 (and our community) have people from all over 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 or have 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.
  • What topics does the course cover?
    We aim to be thorough! You'll find gear overviews for every type of artificial light, and how to set them up for the first time. There are also modules that cover key topics like selecting the right gear, what to use for camera settings, positioning your lights, combining lights, modifying the look and color of light, lighting for beverages/products/video/action shots, and understanding tools like the histogram. There are also plenty of demos showing the types of lighting setups and considerations for going on location like in restaurants and bars!