On Location
Santa Fe

A Taste of Santa Fe: Food and Restaurant Photography

with Douglas Merriam

July 22 – 24, 2024


* This workshop ends at 12 noon on Wednesday; lunch is included.
  • Tuition $995.00
(includes meal plan, see below)
  • Standard Deposit $400.00

Course Description

Join Douglas Merriam, a renowned New Mexico food photographer, for an immersive workshop dedicated to elevating your food and restaurant photography. Over the course of this workshop, participants learn not only to create stunning food images, but also to master the art of simple food styling and lighting techniques. Whether you aspire to pursue culinary photography, enhance your creative repertoire, or simply experience the fun and flavor of the Santa Fe food scene, this workshop provides the perfect blend of hands-on practice, inspiration, and play.

Day one begins with hands-on sessions led by Doug and a local chef, where participants learn easy styling tricks to make dishes look irresistibly appealing. We practice using simple props like bases, plates, flatware, and linens to effectively create visually striking ratios that enhance the overall image. Doug provides an introduction to the effective use of natural light, sharing invaluable techniques that can be applied in your own kitchen or home studio. Additionally, Doug leads short and easy demonstrations featuring artificial lighting setups with strobes and softboxes, as well as a curated list of recommended gear for those interested in integrating studio lighting into their practice. The first day ends with an opportunity to work alongside a local catering company to create compelling images tailored to their business.

On day two, we venture into the vibrant culinary scene of Santa Fe and visit several local restaurants. Participants have the opportunity to photograph food on-location, interiors, and exteriors, and practice documenting ambiance and environment through a mix of detail and establishing shots. Under Doug’s guidance, participants also learn how to craft captivating chef portraits in real-world settings. We end the second evening with a group dinner at a fun local restaurant. 

Wednesday morning culminates with an image review and discussion. Participants conclude the workshop with a collection of restaurant and food images, and are equipped with the knowledge and creativity to create beautiful culinary photographs upon their return home. If you are ready to embark on a journey of culinary creativity and transform your food and restaurant photography, this workshop is for you.

Additional Information


Photographers at all levels of technical ability are welcome.

What You Should Know:

No prior knowledge of food photography is required, however, because this is a fast-paced workshop, familiarity with the basics of your DSLR or Mirrorless camera settings is recommended. Basic computer skills and the ability to edit and download images using editing software are necessary.

Activity Level:
To get the most from your workshop experience, participants should be in good physical (mobility, stamina) and mental health. Come prepared for the high elevation of Santa Fe, long days, and seasonal weather including high temperatures. You must be able to carry your own photographic and personal gear at all times, both on campus and on location. You are responsible for being open and honest about your physical fitness, and we reserve the right to remove you from the workshop if we find your fitness to be less than that which you have described.

Participants are responsible for making their own accommodation arrangements in Santa Fe. On-campus accommodations are not currently available.

Lunch Monday through Wednesday, dinner on Tuesday night, and daily beverage service are included.
2-Day, Creative Vision, Lighting, One-of-a-Kind, Portraiture, Professional Development, Storytelling, Studio & Commercial
Douglas Merriam

Douglas Merriam is a food, restaurant, and resort photographer based in Santa Fe and Maine. His commercial and editorial photography career has taken him on extensive travel assignments, which always include photographing people and their culture, as well as landscapes and food. Doug was one of the founding members of The Workshops, and in 1990 he became its operations director, helping to make the organization what it is today. He has taught workshops on a plethora of subjects, including studio lighting, travel, food, and capture to print. Doug is also the author of Farm Fresh Journey, a cookbook inspired by the Santa Fe Farmers Market.

Instagram: @douglasmerriam

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