Learn to use artificial light so you can shoot beautiful food photos anytime, anywhere.

Within a week, you can see your photos come alive by taking control of your lighting. It’s time to create great images on purpose.

And the best part?

You’ll be set FREE from the sun. You don’t have to wait for the “good light” to happen or scramble to finish up a shoot before sunset.

Maybe you’ve wanted to go down the artificial light path for a while, but the learning curve feels steep. You’re asking yourself things like:

  • Can I add artificial lighting to my shoots without adding a bunch of bulky equipment to my space?
  • Where do I start in figuring out how to setup and work my light? Gear manuals are the worst!
  • What do I need so that my artificial light looks nice, like natural light?
  • How can I learn this quickly so that I can be ready when a shoot comes along where I need artificial light?

Good news!
You’re not alone.
I’ve been there and asked those same exact questions.

Where It All Started

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 was no longer racing to shoot before the sunset or wait around for the perfect light.

I could do photoshoots at 6am or midnight if I wanted.

Editing my images went 10 times faster because lighting didn’t change.

I had total control of my lighting in unpredictable places like restaurants.

I no longer had to turn down jobs because of lighting issues.

I found more freedom creatively. I could use lighting that set a specific mood and vibe.

But 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 teaches you through straightforward video lessons, making 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 can’t live without their lights!

Welcome to

Lifetime Access

to in-depth video lessons & resources. Learn at your own pace!

All Future Course Updates

to in-depth video lessons & resources. Learn at your own pace!

A Private Community

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

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

How would you like to feel confident capturing:

Dark & Moody
on demand

Bright & sunny,
no window needed!

No more orangey restaurant lights!

“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.”

Lindsey Baruch| @lindseyeats

“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!”

Takera Gholson | @flightsandfoods

Want to get a preview of what it’s like inside the course?

Click here to play!

Hey there! 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

A Look Inside Artificial Academy

Here’s what you’re getting

Module 1 (3 Lessons)

The Gear

Figuring out what gear to buy can be the biggest barrier to entry for food photographers who want to start shooting with artificial light. This unit leaves no stone unturned, covering the different types of lights available, important modifiers and accessories. And most importantly what you need (and what you don’t) to start shooting with artificial light right away.

Module 2 (6 lessons)

Getting Started with Flash

Flash can feel so intimidating, but it’s the key that unlocks total control in your images. Learn all the important settings for your light, your camera, how to control ambient and flash exposures, and how to set everything up for speedy success.

Module 3 (2 Lessons)

Getting Started with Continuous Lights

Whether you’re shooting video or you feel more comfortable using continuous light, there are important things to know in setting up your LED lights for maximum impact.

Module 4 (6 Lessons)

Understanding & Manipulating Light

This is where you unlock superpowers you didn’t know you had. We dive into the science of light together (in a fun and easy-to-understand way) so you can be in any situation and know what to do in order to get the lighting you want.

Module 5 (14 Lessons)


Artificial light not only sets you free from the sun, but it also allows you to create endless different looks and styles. I walk you through photoshoots for everything from light and airy to dark and moody, photographing drinks, several lessons on different kinds of product photography, a dark bar, a restaurant with mixed lighting, chef portraits, overhead images, and more.

Module 6 (4 lessons)

Video Lighting

The foundations in the earlier units of this course translate to both photo and video, but these dedicated lessons dive further into the nuances of lighting for talking head videos, cooking demos in a kitchen, overhead food videos, and lighting for live stream events.

Module 7 (4 Lessons)

Advanced Topics

This is where we really nerd out, getting into more complex topics of capturing super fast action utilizing flash, using High-Speed Sync for outdoor food photography, and working with Gels to add creative color to your images.


This looks like a massive unit, touting 22 video lessons. But these are all super short, how-to videos on setting up for specific equipment. Most popular speedlights, strobes, continuous lights, softboxes, umbrellas and other modifiers are covered, walking you through what buttons to push and how to assemble equipment.

Let’s Talk Pricing



one time payment

3-monthly Payments


per month
for 3 months

Includes lifetime access to all materials.
Always Risk Free.
If you sign up for the course and find it’s not for you, let us know in the first 30 days.
We’ll happily refund you, no questions asked.

“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.”

Lindsey Baruch| @lindseyeats

“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!”

Val Abenroth | @valabenrothcommercial


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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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 need

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.

This course (and our community) have people from all over the globe!

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.

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.

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.

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!

Make your own light!

Total control is within reach