I’ve done some food photography (see here and here - and read some tips here) myself, but in contrast to the Sunday Times shoot, I did everything on my own - from planning and preparing to cooking/baking, to styling, to photographing, to editing, and finally eating.
I can tell you, doing all that yourself can be very stressful, especially when you’re making something delicious that you just want to get your teeth into. Being patient and taking the time to photograph your food can be hard. And you don’t want to rush the process either, as you want to ensure you’ve got some good shots.
I’ve learnt a few new things on set the other day, e.g. that being picky is a good thing when it comes to photographing food. Don’t just settle for a shot that looks great at first sight, but take a closer look, especially if there’s a ‘repeating element’ in the photo (such as rice, chips, lettuce, …). Those things can easily create ‘gaps’ in between each other, leaving black holes. Go back and rearrange single parts, e.g. move a piece of lettuce slightly to create a homogenous image.
Relating to what I said before, it can really help to have a team of people working with you. Don’t feel like you have to do it all yourself. Of course you can, and it can be tempting to feel in control of everything, but it is so much easier to share tasks. If you want to focus on photography, work with someone who does a good job in the kitchen, and consider another person to help you out with props and styling.
Having a team of people on set also helps to judge the photographs and to get helpful feedback.
I’ve worked with my mum a few times before, she made most of the food, which let me focus my energy on styling and photographing. Just find people who are just as passionate about food as you are, and that you work well with.
That’s another thing - you have to really love food to work in food photography. Otherwise it can get really boring very soon. It’s still life after all, and in a way it’s all very similar.
I do love food a lot, so I really enjoyed being on set of a professional food shoot for a whole day. But even though I love food, I felt tired at the end of the day, and had definitely had enough of food for the day. I might not have actually eaten that much throughout the day, but being able to snack on so many different things all the time over the day really makes you feel like you’ve stuffed yourself.
But if you do love food enough, you’ll find that the next day you’re up for more food all over again ;)
This is a rather general post on food photography, and I’d love to share more specific advice with you. Is there anything that interests you in particular regarding food photography?