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Food photography is something I’m quite passionate about I suppose it’s because I love cooking, I love eating and I’m a bit of a “foodie” at heart. My family says I cook everything with wine and maybe sometimes may even put some in the food.
Food is something that one must enjoy looking at and see that it tastes great even before you’ve tasted any. Walk around any food store or supermarket and most take out restaurants and you will see so many food pictures that make your mouth water just by looking at them!
I mostly shoot for restaurant groups and for package labeling, in studio and on location. For the restaurant groups, I often shoot in the “what you see you will get mode”. If the menu says you get a 250gram fillet steak and 200gram of fries, then we will weigh the items before setting up the shoot. I believe it’s important to convey the correct imagery to the consumer.
Although I’ve picked up a lot of food styling experience over the years, no one does it better and quicker than the experts. That is why I prefer to work with a very experienced food stylist who has styled for most of the largest food companies. Alternatively I will work with the resident chef. Working as a team most often enhances creativity and flair which brings out the best in the pictures.
I have found that it’s best to capture food as it really is presented and preferably at the correct temperature to show the textures and glisten under consistent studio lighting. However, when shooting on location at a lodge for instance, I will also use available window lighting for the dishes and even incorporate some of the décor.
In cases where the food is set up with other props such as bottled condiments, olives, boxed spices and cooking utensils or grills etc. it’s vital to make sure that the props look just as good as the food does. This is a challenge because the lighting might not suit the extra items in the picture. That’s where years of experience comes to the fore.
Another technique is to highlight the main subject such as a slice of cake or a single prawn by shooting very close up. This can show up the texture or succulence creating impact. In this case, most often the surrounding elements are purposely out of focus.