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Creating Food Photography All by Myself?

by dav.d

I’ve been reading books for a few years now on the subject of food photography. I’ve followed the work of several noted food photographers. There is only so much you can do with reading and studying. Sure, I have photographed food at events, weddings, and other catered occasions… this was just a prelude.

Sometimes, the only way to learn more is to actually get off of my butt and photograph. This was a total practice shoot. I wanted to photograph food that was easily prepared (I rarely cook) and fruit, veggies, and cupcakes fit that purpose. On Saturday morning I stopped by the Salt Lake City’s Farmers Market. It is held in the Pioneer Park and is a lot of fun. I picked up some black mission figs and yellow cherry tomatoes. Since I was walking I couldn’t carry too much. I did buy a mini table that is about 5 inches tall and is a perfect table top for food photography. That is featured in most of these images.

Black mission figs I found at the farmer's market

Black mission figs I found at the farmer’s market

On Sunday I was recovering from a 11 hour wedding the day before, I was second shooting for Zuma Studio up in Park City’s The Canyons Resort. It was a lot of fun and I digress…

On Sunday I visited Pier 1, Sur la Table, Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up some props for my food photography. I am going to slowly be building an assortment of plateware and silverware for food photography. Next time I’ll have to hit up antique shops, Tai Pan Trading, and some other niche kitchen shops.

I was originally planning to do this shoot on a Saturday and use cupcakes from the Sweet Tooth Fairy. They were closed on Sunday so that shoot will have to wait. Instead I went with some cupcakes from Whole Foods. These cupcakes are all vegan and I’m sure they’re still filled with fat and sugar so still not that healthy. Anything that tastes good isn’t healthy for you.

Cupcakes should make everyone say yum

Cupcakes should make everyone say yum

One thing I am quickly realizing is that food photography shoots really require a lot more planning than simple portrait sessions. For food you need a chef, food stylist, art director, and a vision of the final photograph. So I’ll be sure to plan a bit more on the food, color, plates, and composition. With simple subjects like fruit, that is easy to wing it.

Fresh blackberries

Fresh blackberries

Here are some of the bowls that I’ve already purchased. I don’t think I need to go nuts and buy everything. Ultimately what will be done is just add a styling fee to my food photography that will give me a budget to buy or rent the right linens, plates, silverware, and related items. This way the photography can be a bit more custom.

I've started buying an assortment of bowls and plates

I’ve started buying an assortment of bowls and plates

And I’m showing off several versions of the cupcakes because, yum! I am posting some of my favorite food photographs on my Pinterest account.

An assortment of vegan cupcakes from Whole Foods

An assortment of vegan cupcakes from Whole Foods

When shopping for food that will be in food photography, you are hunting for the “hero” fruit, bread, and other ingredients. You want the food to look perfect. And be sure you and your staff don’t eat the food before it is photographed. I’ve heard horror stories.

Fresh raspberries in a bowl

Fresh raspberries in a bowl

For this shoot I also photographed the food with my studio lighting and reflectors. I’m even using a bed sheet to help diffuse the light. I want to recreate as best as possible natural window light. I also wanted to go light and airy for the photographs. I think I was able to achieve that look!

Raspberry and a carrot cake cupcake and they're vegan

Raspberry and a carrot cake cupcake and they’re vegan

And in the case of all this food, I kept it all edible. I was sure to eat the figs, fruit, and tomatoes. As for the cupcakes, I enjoyed a bite or two but I am trying to watch my girlish figure 😉

Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

Vegan coconut cupcake from Whole Foods

Vegan coconut cupcake from Whole Foods

Different compositions of food photography featuring cupcakes

Different compositions of food photography featuring cupcakes

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2 comments

The Salt Lake Farmers Market Brings You Food Photography! | dav.d photography September 13, 2013 - 9:31 am

[…] am going to be repeating some photography here, well, at least this food has been featured already on my blog. However, the lighting setup was completely different and I used a completely different camera and […]

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Summer Cupcakes Awesome Food Photography | dav.d photography January 2, 2019 - 9:27 am

[…] tiny and lined in rows just makes the perfect food photograph. There have been times where I bought cupcakes from the store and then photographed them. A food photographer’s job can sometimes be limited to the lighting and composition. Other […]

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