What type of Photography Do You Enjoy?
Almost immediately, I knew that I didn’t want to be a portrait or wedding photographer. It just wasn’t as exhilarating for me as taking photos of my favorite sushi. Recently, I made the decision to begin my adventure into the professional food photography world. I want to encourage everyone to think about what they love to photograph. Maybe it is people? Maybe it is landscapes? Is it wildlife? Or maybe it’s babies or brides… For me, it is food. I love taking pictures of food.
How to Get Started as a Food Photographer…
If you are like me, and you are thinking “I’d love to make money photographing food,” here’s how you can get started.
1. Free: In the beginning, I took a lot of pictures for free, simply because I enjoyed taking them. I would then send them to the company or restaurant with my watermark on them and permission to use them online. Those establishments might never turn into paying customers, but if they use them it’s free advertising for me, and if I’ve whet their appetite for more, then we can negotiate.
2. Shameless self-promotion: I spend countless hours emailing local businesses and introducing myself. Don’t be shy – if a business isn’t interested, they’ll tell you, but you never know who might be.
3. Contact restaurants in your area: Even if they already have professional-looking images on their website, updated images could do wonders to boost interest in their product.
4. Word of mouth: It’s invaluable. Let others talk about you and help get your name out there.
5. A strong internet presence: You never know who is Googling for a food photographer in your area! Make sure you show up in those search results.
6. Lighting: As always, lighting is critical. Learn your lighting options, as they will vary from location to location, and be prepared. I have a medium-sized softbox that I use with an external flash and a wireless transmitter to connect it to my camera. Even if you have a window, it won’t necessarily provide you with the best light (is there an awning? is it raining?) and it could be overpowered by whatever lights are being used inside. A light source that you control is optimal. Also remember that food photography and food styling are two different things – the trick is to be fluid in both. More on that later…
7. It takes time: It does not happen overnight. It takes patience to build a business. But if you do not start, then you’ll never have one.
One unexpected bonus of shooting food is how it has helped me to overcome some of my issues with eating. I have battled a lifelong poor relationship with food. No more than two years ago, I was a hopelessly picky eater. I didn’t eat seafood or meat of any kind; no salad, no fries, no sauces, and absolutely NO cheese. After countless hours around all varieties of food, I’m proud to say that while I’m still not a dairy lover, I’m open to a little fresh mozzarella on my favorite burger!
Blaire Ring is an up and coming food photographer in Northern Virginia. She is a wife of nearly four years and proud mama to a beautiful little girl who will be two in September, two dogs, and a cat.