Today I welcome Joanie Simon of the Bite Shot and, on the Foodie Movement Podcast. Joanie is a wife, mother of two, and Arizona native that’s learned how to tame the sun. In this podcast, we’re talking about the best lighting and best gear for food photography, as well as how to land your first paid gig!

Joanie Simon of the Bite Shot with camera on the Foodie Movement Podcast cover.
Did you listen to the podcast? I would be so appreciative if you could leave a review on Itunes. Thanks!

This post contains affiliate links. The Foodie Movement via Katie M Chase is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Who is Joanie Simon?

Joanie Simon of The Bite Shot is a generous and wildly educated photographer who shares her knowledge with food photographers primarily on YouTube and in her private Facebook Group. Joanie updates her YouTube channel every Thursday at 7am PST with tutorial based food photography videos. The videos focus on workflow, editing, artificial lighting, gear, getting your first gig as a food photographer or food blogger, and more!

While Joanie has been blogging since 2008, her current food blog at was started in 2015. From that time on, her love for food photography has grown to incorporate multiple ways of monetizing food photography such as: photographing for brands and restaurants.

Jam-packed sandwich with avocado, sprouts, and seeded bread with a white background to demonstrate in a video tutorial how to layer and photograph tall sandwiches.
Joanie covers styling tips and tricks on her YouTube channel – including how to create and photograph a mile high sandwich!

YouTube Food Photography Tutorials

Joanie has made waves in the food photography community simply by being herself. She has an inherent love for people, educating them, and not withholding information. Her abundance mindset shines through in her online community via Facebook Groups, her YouTube channel, and even Instagram. She is always answering questions and showing behind the scenes looks at her setups. 

Joanie started her YouTube channel, The Bite Shot in 2017, with 5 videos based on food photography and shooting in manual mode on your camera. Her channel today has over 83K subscribers, 70 videos and covers an array of material such as essential gear, artificial lighting, and is jam-packed full of wisdom, great for any photographer or blogger.

Joanie Simon sitting in her Arizona home studio with c-stand, tripod, and white backdrop - which she uses to film her tutorials and photograph with artificial light.
Joanie does all of her own stunts! Ha! No – really.. Joanie films all of her video tutorials and photographs in her Arizona home studio using artificial lighting.

How to make money as a Food Photographer:

Joanie shared some of the ways she has made a living in the food photography world.

  • In person workshops
  • Restaraunt photography
  • Brand Photography
  • Recipe Development
  • Courses like Flash for Food Photography (affiliate link)
  • Speaking Engagements

Artificial Lighting for Food Photography

Joanie is an expert in artificial lighting and shared some of the reasons it is her go-to method for food photography. Click the title link above to check out Joanie’s new course!

  • Consistency – shooting with artificial lighting such as flash, allows for a consistent look across your images and branding.
  • Control – you are able to be in control of the exact amount of light on a scene based on the diffusers, angles, and light boxes.
  • Creativity – understanding your artificial lighting and how to manipulate it brings out a new creativity that can be duplicated and changed in a controlled environment.
  • Flexibility from space to space – using and understanding artificial lighting such as flash allows for easy maneuvering in tight spaces and controlling ambient light in settings such as restaurants. By using flash you do not have to carry large, awkward items, and can still accomplish a daylight feel with little to no natural light.
Avocado and fruit topped bread with hand in the upper right corner.
Joanie covers how to use artificial lighting in food photography on her YouTube channel the Bite Shot and now has a course Flash for Food Photography!

The Evolution of Joanie’s Cameras

Joanie will be the first to tell you that the most expensive gear is not going to solve the problem of not knowing how to use your gear. You need knowledge, practice, and creativity. The biggest reason for choosing a brand and sticking with it is the long-term investment of lenses. Know what lenses you have and like, then stick with the camera body that works with them.

Joanie’s tips for showing up as an expert and getting that paid gig!

Pasta with clams on a white dish and marble background demonstrating how to style silverware in a food photography shoot.
Joanie loves to create just for creating. Her generosity in sharing her creations with brands has earned her 15 contracts.
  • Understand your light. With great light, a cell phone camera will do wonders.
  • Take photos of everything, all the time. Don’t be afraid to tag brands and message them directly saying, “hey I used your product and loved it. Here’s the picture. Feel free to share if you would like.” Brands love the proof of concept. Joanie has been employed by 15 brands through this method.
  • Be generous. With your work, with your advice to other bloggers – all of it! Coming from a place of true generosity comes back to you tenfold. This is part of Joanie’s strategy for connection with brands. You can be generous without working for free.
  • Keep showing up and keep doing it. Show up through the self-doubt if you’re dedicated to the process. Your adventure and journey as a foodie does not and should not need to look like everyone else’s in order to succeed.  Find what makes you, you. Highlight it and keep showing it to the world. Believe in yourself and soon others will too.
  • Stick to a budget. You don’t need the latest and greatest camera gear on the market to create great food photography. Start with what you have, get paid, then level up. Learn and love the gear you have. Don’t be afraid to invest in refurbished gear when purchasing from a reputable source like B&H.
  • Published is better than perfect. You can always (and should) come back to update and rerelease posts, videos etc. as you learn more. 
  • Start with what you know. If you’re starting a YouTube how do you know what to make videos on? Joanie suggests listening to your instincts and intuition. Give your gut a bit of credit! Look for opportunities to answer questions others have or provide answers you once searched for.

What is the Flash for Food Photography Course?

moody and rustic food photography breakfast scene
Did you listen to the podcast? I would be so appreciative if you could leave a review on Itunes. Thanks!

Joanie has created a super affordable and easy to digest, course on how to use flash as your artificial lighting in food photography. In just two hours, you’ll be rocking your way to the top and staying up all night long with your new friend the flash. Things to know about the Flash for Food Photography Course:

  • Those looking to purchase should have a basic understanding of their camera.
  • Extra gear will be needed, which you may or may not have.
  • The course can be watched in a 2-hour setting and grants lifetime access to purchasers. Meaning you will get access to the continuous upload of new videos on the subject.
  • You gain access to the exclusive Facebook Group for purchasers, where Joanie lends her eyes and expertise to help you troubleshoot any time.

Some of the modules covered in Flash for Food Photography

  • How flash is different than continuous lighting
  • How to modify and change the light
  • How to modify the light for the scene such as light and bright vs. dark and moody
  • How to define your style using flash.

Purchase Flash for Food Photography by clicking here!

Joanie’s actionable advice: Shoot in manual and get a tripod.

Joanie Simon in her home studio kitchen.
Joanie Simon in her home studio kitchen.

If you enjoyed the podcast I would be thrilled if you would rate and leave a review on iTunes. And don’t forget to sign up for your free Recipe Development and Styling Workflow Workbook!

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