So much has changed since I first began my food photography journey back in 2012. Although I’ve enjoyed the art since a young age, I didn’t begin pursuing photography in depth until after my girls were born. At the time I had moved on from my corporate job and started the blog as a creative outlet. What began as a place to share ideas, recipes and parties, evolved over time into a full business and brand focusing on inspiring recipes, beautiful photography and design.
MY FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY JOURNEY
Let’s start from the beginning.
In my childhood I was intrigued by the number of photos my dad took of us and others. From friends and family on holidays, to scenery, silhouettes and more, I remember the excitement of reviewing the slides and pictures after he’d come home from King Frog with freshly developed film. I believe that’s where my love for photography began.
Looking back I can see how photography was always present in my life. In my teens I learned that I thoroughly enjoyed taking photos of family (just like my dad) and my boyfriend (hubby now.) This led to me pursuing modeling in my early 20s.
As the subject, on set, I was exposed to so much of what goes into taking a photo from start to finish. From the inspiration and the equipment, to the lenses, the lighting, styling, modeling, editing and more. What I discovered is that each photographer had a very different process and vision and it was my responsibility to help portray that vision through angles, emotion and mood.
The experience was essential to my overall understanding of photography and helped shape me to be the photographer I am today.
During that timeframe I would go on modeling gigs on the side while working in commercial lending. This continued for 5-6 years up until I became pregnant with my first daughter. After both my daughter’s were born, my focus shifted from model to photographer. That’s really where the photography journey began, as my girls became my main subjects.
I loved taking endless pictures of the girls and eventually taught myself how to shoot in manual mode. Shooting in manual opened up a whole new world of ideas and creativity.
BLOGGING AND FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
Once I learned how to use the dslr, I began shooting recipes/treats and parties I created for my girl’s and eventually started up the blog as an outlet/ place to document ideas. As a creative at heart, I was full to the brim with concepts but it took time and practice for me to hone in on my personal style as a photographer.
It wasn’t until 2015 that photography and blogging started to pick up for me. I discovered how much I loved the ever popular light and airy style and learned how to angle the subjects I worked with, using experience from my modeling days.
At that point, I then began to see my images featured in online publications and even landed my first sponsored project, while continuing to wear many hats as a recipe developer, shop owner, stylist and creative artist.
From 2015 to current, I’ve been fortunate to work with many of my dream brands and also had one of my recipes published in a print magazine. However, I didn’t get to where I am today without mistakes and detours.
I’ve undercharged for projects and overworked myself. I’ve spent too much time focusing attention on areas that were not serving me. I would’ve most likely been a lot further along in my career without the distractions and have been slower to grow as a result, but I’ve learned in my near 40 years of life that there is no time limit on reaching your dreams.
In 2018 I grew tired of my body of work. I wanted to learn new skills to push my career further, which led me to Foodtography School. At the time not many had heard of or taken the course yet. I think there was still under 700 people in the Facebook group. What I took most from that course was understanding my value and worth as a photographer and essentially learning how to charge appropriately for my work. That led me to The Bite Shot and Two Loves Studio. Both have been an incredible resource for me as a photographer.
I’ve taken so much from their teachings and free courses and highly recommend both for continuous learning.
MY PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR
I wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that I have without the gear.
I am a Canon girl at heart. The camera that I purchased in 2012 was the 5d Mark II. I shot with this camera up to the end of 2019, using natural light and minimal props on set. The lenses that I shot with and still use to this day are the Canon 100mm macro lens and the 50mm 1:1.4.
The tripod I use is K&F Concept.
At the beginning of 2020, my 5d Mark II broke down. Saddened I was, but ended up ordering the 5d Mark IV and haven’t looked back yet!
My love for natural light runs deep and I personally don’t think I’ll ever give it up. I’ve shot with natural light since starting out in 2012. Although ever changing, I love the challenge and beauty that natural light can bring and the ways it can be manipulated by understanding shadows and highlights. A cloudy day and sunny day produce such a different result in natural light photography. Learning the best time of day to shoot, based on windows and the location of the sun is a great place to start.
Below is a typical simple scene setup. I still love the look of marble but will be experimenting with new backdrops in the future to show versatility.
It is my humble opinion that understanding natural light first, is one of the major keys to creating beautiful artificial light in photography, especially when working with light backdrops. A bold statement some may think, but this is based on my own journey. My biggest fear before taking a leap into artificial lighting was that my photos would look “artificial.” But what I discovered is through understanding manual settings, shadows and diffusers, I could manipulate artificial lighting to mimic the look of natural light, no matter the time of day! This gave me so much more control over my scene and settings.
Although lots more to learn, artificial lighting has become an essential tool in my kit, that I use almost every day, along with Lightroom.
EDITING IN LIGHTROOM
Post production is an essential facet of photography. Editing takes raw photos to the next level by highlighting and adding drama, enhancing colors, contrast and shadows, changing format to name a few. I learned the basics of Photoshop back in my modeling days and applied that knowledge to the photos I’ve taken over time. Back in 2018 I made the switch from Photoshop to Lightroom but still use both to this day.
I have to say, I am grateful for the ways in which Lightroom has helped me streamline the editing process, because there is nothing quite like being able to create presets for editing in bulk at the click of a button. It has been a lifesaver, shaving so much time off of editing and is a tool I cannot live without!
FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY NOW
Some of you may remember the surge of food photographers that came onto the Instagram scene in 2018. These days it seems almost everyone is a food photographer or food blogger. Interestingly for me, I didn’t feel comfortable giving myself that title, until I was legit in a place where I knew I could live up to it and deliver. I think that is the genuine difference between people who are who are photographers out of passion.
I am very humbled by the opportunities that have come my way, simply by sharing my body of work. In over 8 years I have yet to actually pitch a brand but know that is the direction in which the industry has shifted, so it’s something I’ll be focusing on going forward.
Reflecting back, I realize more and more how my work is a testament to the value of food photography. It has been a slow climb, but beautiful imagery is still highly sought after and I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon. But each photographers journey is different. Honestly you don’t need to have the same experience or gear as me to be a successful food photographer. You also don’t need thousands of followers on social media. There are so many newer food bloggers/photographers that are killing it, which is amazing to see and a reminder that hard work pays off!
The key is to find your own shooting style that will set you apart from the rest of your peers.
Now as we enter this new era where videography is king on social media, not much will be changing here. Photography is still at the forefront and I will continue to use this space to keep learning and putting out work from the heart, using my early influences and experience as the driving force behind my vision.
In a way I feel like I’m just getting started, as I am always ready and prepared to learn. I think that is an essential part of long term success in this industry, regardless of what is happening on social media.
That being said, I am grateful for how far I’ve come and how photography has helped me showcase my artistry, and passion for food and design.
Thank you so much for reading! My goal is to share more photography related posts in the near future, including some tips and tutorials for beginners. If that is something you’d wish to see from me, comment below.
Links to my gear also below!
This post titled My Food Photography Journey was seen first on Posh Little Designs. All Rights Reserved. 2021