Food styling can take place in the production kitchen and in front of the camera. How do you know when and where to style your food? The answer will depend on what food you are shooting. For food with long shelf lives, like cupcakes, the dish will generally be camera ready when it leaves the kitchen. If the dish involves a sauce and a variety of garnishes, the styling will occur both in the kitchen and in front of the camera. Here is a behind the scenes look at a dish that involves styling in both locations: The Meatball Sandwich.
If you are a professional, or an aspiring professional photographer, you rely on your photographic work to bring you financial rewards. Self satisfaction alone, won’t pay rent, put gas in your car, or food on the table. If you want to earn money from your pictures, then you will have to find someone to pay you for them. Here are a few strategies that you can implement to start selling your food photography!
The film industry has the Oscars. The music industry has the Grammys. Broadway has the Tony Awards. The annual awards that celebrate the best and brightest of the culinary world are the James Beard Foundation Awards. NYC based photographer Landon Nordeman set up backstage at the 2013 awards with just an iPhone for a camera. The results are a captivating black and white series of shots that each capture the range of emotions of the night.
Have you ever been assigned to take pictures of a chef's creations in a restaurant? Photographing food on location at a restaurant is a very common assignment for a food photographer. I have an editorial client that sends me to 4 or 5 restaurants every month to take pictures of the dishes. Through these assignments, I have discovered that most restaurants are not designed with the photography in mind.
It seems as a people, we have a fascination with photographing our food. From Henry's series of riders, to looking on instagram we cant help but document what we consume. Photographer Peter Menzel started this intriguing series of one weeks of groceries from around the world, taking traditional food photography to a much larger scale.
All of us have that favorite food that no matter what time of the day it is, we crave it. Well being a celebrity means you can have access to these foods at any time. Henry Hargreave thought is would make for a fascinating series to photograph these riders. I enjoy the fact that he decided to keep the backgrounds black and very minimal, which helps you connect with the person's interest and draws you in the most simplistic yet captivating way.
When you hear the words cinnamon rolls, what comes to mind? Is it a roll hot out of the oven with a rich creamy icing oozing over the sides? Or do you picture a Saturday morning breakfast with a dish of rolls that have been covered in a rich thick cream cheese frosting? Neither vision of a cinnamon roll is right nor wrong. The key in turning these cinnamon roll visions into reality is the styling.
Food photography will at times take you out of the studio and on location. It may be to a restaurant, a farm, or a bakery. If you have to travel to where the food is, then you will have to think about what background you will shoot on. When shooting at a restaurant, capturing the decor and ambiance of the dining room with the dish is preferred by the client. Capturing the tables, walls, or any other distinctive features of the restaurant in the background will enhance your image of the dish. When shooting a food product, the ambiance might not be there. What do you do if all you have are grey walls and a metal counter top?
Are you interested in adding food photography to your portfolio, but don’t know where to start? Don’t be intimidated. Yes, you can spend a lot of money on expensive lighting equipment, lenses and cameras, but these aren’t necessary to make a beautiful food image. If you are a portrait photographer, landscape photographer, sports photographer, or an expert instagrammer, you can use the gear you already have to make beautiful images of your food!
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Photographers may scream when they hear that ice cream is what the client wants. Ice cream is not easy to work with. Once it starts melting, it is done and you need to move on to the next dish. Unless you are shooting in a freezer, the working window for ice cream isn't very long. There are many different ways photographers and food stylists will approach ice cream. For this series of pint-sized sundaes, I let the ice cream's container be the guide for the styling.
What do you picture when you hear the words "Chocolate Chip Cookies?" Is it a soft, round, light brown cookie with loads of chocolate chips? Or is it a crunchier darker brown cookie perfect for dipping in milk? Above are all examples of chocolate chip cookies. Is one of them a better picture that the other? That depends on the purpose of your image. If your client is expecting the cookies to look like the image splashing in the milk, then they won't be happy with the other two images.
Have you found yourself in a lighting rut? Do you have two or three "go to" lighting set ups that you find yourself continuously falling back on? Lately, I have found myself in a rut. For a little change of pace, I decided to shoot my favorite food, cupcakes, using a light source that is not very common in food photography: the ring flash.
I have been following Stephen Hamilton’s work for the past couple of years. I first came across the Chicago-based food photographer’s work through his personal work and project called “The Restaurant Project.” In this project, Stephen has dined at restaurants throughout the country experiencing new dishes that chefs have to offer. While dining he takes an iPhone image. From this image, he recreates a beautiful shot of the meal back in his studio. I have enjoyed seeing Stephen's recreations and contacted him to learn more about the project. Here are 7 questions with Stephen Hamilton.
From cookbooks in bookstore windows to magazine covers you pass in the grocery store check outline, it is hard not to notice the overhead camera view's popularity in food photography. If you are going to shoot your food overhead, there is one piece of equipment that will make your job a lot easier: The Tripod Arm.
Hasselblad + Beer = Good stuff.
In this behind the scenes video, commercial photographer Rob Grimm and Phlearn, co-created a tutorial around the set of a beer photo shoot. Grimm does a great job explaining the lighting being used on set, how he works around reflections on glass with polarizers, how he creates highlights in the beer bottle and why chopsticks are necessary to make cereal malt beverages look crisp on camera.