The Business of Food Photography

food photography

The Business of Food Photography with Chelsea Kyle

The business of food photography is not as simple and straightforward as some may think. Like with fashion, sports, and still-life photography, there are areas of focus that food photographers specialize in that distinguish them from their peers. How you focus your imagery, the teams you enlist, and the tools you use all determine how you create success and a style in food photography. 

Regardless of what path in photography you choose, the success and longevity of your career depends on how you price and negotiate your rate based on which type of job you’re pursuing.

Creating a Brand For Yourself

Beyond just commercial, fine art, and editorial lies a balance of creating desire and centering around something people ingest. Food and drink photography can be documentary, illustrating a recipe or a type of meal. It can be abstract and have little context and solely serve as a prop, and it can be commercial or made with the sole purpose of advertising and creating hunger or thirst for a product and/or the lifestyle that goes with it. How specifically you capture food and drinks needs to be honed to set yourself up for success in each niche that you wish to photograph. I always say you shoot for the client you want to get, learn from the ones that you don’t, and display the work that falls in line with what you most want to be hired for. 

Editorial/Recipe Photography

The main purpose of the imagery is to illustrate a recipe, method of cooking, or story around a particular food or recipe. While this can be uniquely stylized, the most important feature of the imagery is to be literally illustrative. Unlike more classically known commercial food photography that can be exaggerated, editorial food photography must be representative of the ingredients and outcome the reader would have. If an ingredient is shown in the image that isn’t in the recipe, it can hurt the integrity of the recipe and the recipe developer. 

Food

Get the full story

To read the full article, launch the digital version of the November 2020 magazine.

You might also like:

Want more content like this?

Check out our recent posts

on camera direct flash tutorial thumbnail

On Camera Direct Flash Tutorial

Have you tried using on-camera flash for your studio portraits? As a professional photographer, I’ve always been taught to take the flash off camera to create more directional light. In this video of on camera direct flash tutorial for lighting, I will show you how to work quickly and easily using on-camera flash to create some very unique and interesting portraits.

Read More »
5 easy poses for boudoir photography thumbnail

5 Easy Poses for Boudoir Photography

Posing for boudoir photography is always a challenge. In this video, I will show you some easy tips to posing your clients. Not every client is a model – so we need to find an easy set of poses to get them started. Once they get comfortable in front of the camera, you can then work on more advanced poses and lighting techniques to build on for the images you create.

Read More »