Photo: The Mad Coffee Party by Anastasy Yarmolovich

Food photography is big. Whether it’s snapping a photo of your afternoon lattes or carefully taking the perfect overhead shot of our fancy dinner plate, everyone loves capturing food on camera.

At 500px, we love seeing how photographers put their own spin on trends—so Dina Belenko was the perfect fit for leading our latest Educational Quest. She guided photographers through a 4-day online experience that explored food typography in still life photography.

Time for cookies, time for cakes! by Dina Belenko on

Dina Belenko gets creative with flour and lettering. She shared her techniques for recreating this look.

At the beginning of the Educational Quest, photographers received a special tutorial put together by Dina with tips and techniques. They then had a chance to go through the entire process themselves: from brainstorming and sketching to shooting to post-processing. Photographers posted their questions and photos in an online group and got feedback from Dina and each other.

Photographer Vicki Baker, who created an incredible photo using kitchen leftovers, shared her thoughts on the experience: “I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. Dina’s experience, encouragement, advice and guidance made the Educational Quest an amazingly helpful learning experience. Making new 500px friends also enhanced the process as we were able to encourage and advise each other through the Quest.”

By the end of the four days, after participants had gotten creative with all kinds of kitchen ingredients, they had the chance to submit their best image in the Quest contest, which was judged by Dina herself.

And now, see which photos Dina selected as the winners—and get some insight into how these images came to life.

The grand prize goes to Anastasy Yarmolovich for her photo “The Mad Coffee Party.”

The mad coffee party by Anastasy Yarmolovich on

Anastasy identifies as a self-taught artist who got into photography as a child when she helped her father in the dark room. She also identifies as “a coffee person,” so she knew that her photo for this Educational Quest would be about coffee. She originally planned around the idea of a “coffee break,” but changed her mind: “When I was making my installation, adjusting things up and down, preparing different types of coffee, it came to my mind that—noooo! It is not a coffee break but some crazy coffee party like the mad tea party from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.”

Anastasy’s orginal “coffee break” concept:

coffee break concept by Anastasy Yarmolovich on

Dina also selected three runners up who stood out imaginative images created using everything from blocks of cheese to crusts of toast:

Vicki Baker gives us the story behind her photo “Leftovers”: “I was a bit stuck at first with the planning stage as most of the time I like to take photographs of things that catch my eye and having a busy household doesn’t mean I always have the time to spend on photography as much as I’d like! I worked on a second sketch, with Dina’s advice in mind, and I thought I’d see what food we had at home, what would look good in a photograph, and of course what would be leftovers from a meal.”

Leftovers by Vicki Baker on

Nathalie Le Bris “wanted to make a colorful and dynamic, optimistic photo”—and definitely succeeded with her image “Throw Kindness Around.” She explains how she got the light just right: “I used natural light (almost backlight) and a reflector with the golden side to reflect it and make the shadows vanish.”

Throw kindness around... by Nathalie Le Bris on

And Roger Caballé got punny with his photo “Say Cheese”:

Say Cheese! by Roger Caballé ill on

Want to take steps toward improving your own photography? Take part in our upcoming Educational Quests!

Educational Quests are exclusive to 500px Awesome members only. Read more about Educational Quests and become an Awesome member here.