A Day in the Life of a Food Photographer
Food photographers are masters at making a plate of food look beautiful and delicious in a photo. So how do they do that? What does their workday look like? Their job can be broken down into three parts:
Before their creative work begins, food photographers get with clients to get the full scope of the project as well as set a date for the photoshoot. If their photos will be used for food ads or packages, you would’ve gotten direction from an Art Director or Food Stylist as to how the pictures should look. For cookbooks and magazines, on the other hand, you’ll have more creative freedom to take the kind of photos you want to take. Either way, you’ll need time to prepare for the big day, including ordering supplies, securing a location, and hiring any additional help you may need.
The day of the actual shoot is a busy one for a food photographer. They first travel to the site of the photoshoot with all of their gear in tow. Setting up includes getting out their camera equipment, putting up the lights, and any backgrounds and props you want to use. A food stylist may be on-site prepping the dish you’re going to photograph. If not, you may have to fulfill that role, too (click here to learn more about what a food stylist does). Then their work begins, using their camera skills to get the best photos for their client. They’re also responsible for making sure everything and everyone on the set runs smoothly.
Once the photoshoot is over, food photographers go back to their studios or offices. They go through the hundreds of photos they’ve taken to find the best ones. Then they go through the process of editing and retouching them before sending them to the client. Since many food photographers work for themselves, they handle other office tasks like creating and sending invoices, filing away paperwork, and keeping tabs on their expenses.
How to Become a Food Photographer
To get into this career there’s no formal degree or license required but it’s advisable to get some sort of training so you’ll get the skills and experience you need to be successful. One option is to get a degree in photography where you’ll cover subjects like composition, editing, printing, and how to use different types of cameras. Another path of training is taking a food photography workshop like this one from Tasty where you’ll learn exactly what it takes to do the job. No matter which route you take, there are other skills you should have aside from how to take great photos. Creativity is a big one. You always have to come up with new and artistic ways to capture food in a picture. Attention to detail is also important in making sure your work is always impeccable. You also need a love and understanding of food, which comes with experience working in a culinary setting. Once you receive enough training and gained these skills, you’ll create a portfolio that you can use to apply to food photography jobs.
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