I love this picture of my husband Craig and I because it's how we laugh together every day since the day we met! The other 2 photos are of our last trip to Italy (our favorite place on earth!)
So here is the thing, I can guarantee this handsome man will come up in our conversation, I brag on him as much as I possibly can. He lives overseas in Qatar for work and I even have it written into my contract that I take at least 15 minutes to step away to say good night to him if we are in the middle of shooting.
We hope he will return home soon, but this year, because of COVID, he is stuck there for a full year! So we are missing him extra hard right now!
If you are curious about how we make a long-distance marriage work, check out some of my blog posts.
Product photoshoots I typically do on location because we also incorporate a branding shoot for you. This means capturing you in your element as well!
During the Covid crisis right now I am just shooting at home in the studio of course. I have also started featuring a client and their work every month on my website. Many of these are personal chefs and their recipes. Because I began my food photography journey in the kitchen as a Personal Chef, it gives me the opportunity to get creative on multiple levels. I shoot the dish in my studio and send the Chef a mini photo gallery of their dish and I post their recipe as the incentive to sign up for my website.
Clients then also get featured in my newsletter to current subscribers with their recipe as well as their Bio. I am very passionate about helping others succeed.
Oh my, this is a loaded question haha! It really depends on the dish. Sometimes one dish can take you all day and you are using tweezers to move a grain of salt around because you just can’t get what you are envisioning. Others you can set up and it just falls into place.
But no matter what, the finals will always include a horizontal and vertical image of each dish.
Use a salad plate! I learned this tip when I worked with the photographer for my cookbook shoot and still use these rules today.
There are exceptions to every rule of course, but typically if you use a smaller dish to plate your food you avoid a lot of negative space in your picture especially if you are doing an (overhead) flatlay shot. A smaller dish helps the plate look full, but not too busy. Which leads to the second reason, you don’t want a lot of clutter in your shot, so a smaller plate helps minimize what is going on.
I get inspiration from various sources but the top two would be magazines like Food & Wine and driving in the car lol!
Flipping through magazines is one of my favorite pastimes. I get lost in how others are both creating recipes and composing their images. I also love how it inspires me but does not lead me to “recreate” the dish. Just like when I am reviewing the recipe, I scan to take in the information but do not study the details. It just seems to be how my brain works.
What resonates with me most when being inspired is how it makes me feel. I don’t want to know where every line leads or where they set the glass, I just want an “idea” and a feeling, sometimes it is as simple as “Oh I haven’t shot chicken in while, guess I’ll do that tomorrow” and that spirals a whole other process.
Which brings me to the car! I can’t explain it, but when I get in the car and drive, by myself, sometimes listening to the radio or a podcast and sometimes in silence this is where my masterpieces are conceived. I think it is because I am able to zone out when I drive and not be distracted by anything else. It can start with being inspired by something I saw, but nine times out of ten it starts with a recipe I make up in my head after I buy a random ingredient at the grocery store or farmers market. It starts with just a plain old raspberry and becomes a Chocolate Hazelnut cake with a frosting that failed to really taste wonderful, but looked amazing on camera.
Because I am a photographer I am much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it! But I do love teaching in person! I loved the class I did for the USPCA and looking forward to doing it again next year!
I also love writing and magazines which is why I created the F blog eMagazine! It is packed with rich content that teaches you new parts of your business every six months!
I guess I would say light! Not necessarily my softbox or speedlights but even just the sun. If you don’t have the right light you don’t have an image worth saving. I prefer to shoot with natural light as much as possible, I have even shot food outside when the set up is right.
Brown food images. I get uncomfortable just thinking about it. There is just something about a brown or yellow food image that really turns me off and makes me cringe. I understand not everyone knows how to edit the color out, but just being mindful of what you are putting out there to the world makes a big difference. I have seen high-end places putting these types of images online and although it may not feel like a big enough pain point to do something about, I think they would find a huge shift if they elevated their images to match their brand.
Also matching your style to your brand identity is a big problem I see. People want to know what to expect when they arrive at your establishment or online. It is so important to know who you are and where you are headed as a business. Brand is not just about color or logos, it is about the look and feel of your style and ultimately who you want to serve. When you work with me, even before we work together, we talk extensively about your vision and who your customer is. Without a clear vision of where you are going it is impossible to capture exactly who you are as a business and an owner.
The quality of your images matches the quality of your products and services. Again, you want people to anticipate exactly what you have to offer. If you are an Italian restaurant and you have a brown picture of mushroom risotto (which lets be honest, it looks brown so that is a tough shot!) but if you don’t put effort and energy into your images then you are going get out of it what you put in. This ultimately equates to charging less, because you are not bringing in the type of clientele you desire.
I also just have to add here, quality headshots that have consistency. Your Chef and your staff should be showcased in style! You want to put them in the best light possible because they are the ones who represent you every day. Putting up iPhone selfies and random black and white photos take away from the professionalism you want and expect from them.
The YUM Factor! This is what I call the drizzle of chocolate fudge or the steam coming off a burger. The YUM Factor can be memorialized in still imagery even better than video. It is that “money shot” that makes you have to have that piece of cake now and it is rare to really create and capture that with a cell phone or on the fly coming off the line. The YUM Factor needs a mindful setting and the care and consideration of someone who understands what your food is trying to communicate.
I love Joanie Simon! She is amazing and I have learned so much from her along the way. She is really the only one I follow that is food photography. I am also a part of the Katelyn James Education community and have taken many of her courses. Other than that I am really not a social media person. I stay focused on what I need to to stay current and ignore all the other “noise”.
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