When did you first pick up a camera and start taking photos?
I bought my first DSLR about three years ago with the intention of taking nicer photos during family gatherings and on holidays. I felt that it would be great to look back at nice images of family, friends and places we visited when I get older. The day the camera arrived in the post, I took it out the box and started playing with different settings, walking around the house and taking pictures of random objects. When I entered the kitchen, I looked at the blueberry muffins that I baked that day, started photographing them and I got hooked.
So food photography was your first love?
It was love at the first sight. Seriously! With all its symptoms: pounding heart, excitement, not being able to sleep and desire to spend all day taking photos. Luckily, I could still eat. Photography changed the way I see the world. It’s like you put some ‘magic’ glasses on and start to see things you’ve never noticed before. Light, details, colours, textures! Everything became so much more beautiful.
What model of camera did you first purchase, and which was your favourite?
Since I started taking photographs, I’ve only owned two cameras. The first one was a Canon 600D and I subsquently upgraded it to Canon 5D mark iii. It’s important to choose a camera that you feel comfortable with, but always remember it’s you who take photos, not your equipment.
It’s a jump going from a hobbyist to a professional. How did you make the leap?
My whole life, I’d been thinking about what to do with myself and what career path to take. I tried a lot of different things, but there was always something missing. I’ve always been extremely enthusiastic about food, whether it was a new dish I tried, new ingredient I discovered or a new cookbook I came across, but I wasn’t sure how to turn this passion into a job. When I discovered food photography, everything fell into place.
I became very clear that food photography was what I wanted to do in my life, and so I worked towards my goal. I educated myself in front of the laptop, spend hours with a camera in my hand, took thousands of bad photos, made tons of mistakes, failed a lot and never gave up. The photos started to become better. I built a decent portfolio showcasing my work and this is how it all started. You can see my work on my website.
What kinds of clients do you shoot for?
I mainly shoot for websites, magazines, food businesses, food associations, restaurants and eateries.
How do you source the food?
Well, the truth is, food always finds me. It doesn’t matter where I go, I always come back with some new ingredients in my bag. I shop for food everywhere. I like to visit local markets and shops, as they always have fresh and seasonal produce, but there are also certain things I get from supermarkets or order online.
It’s not just about food, though, it’s also about table dressing. Will you touch on that as part of your Engage Live class on September 22-24?
Yes, this is very true. It’s all about the atmosphere, and I will talk about how to create it during my Engage Live photography training class. Styling, propping, choosing the right colours, all these things matter when it comes to food photography.
What else are Engagers likely to learn from your forthcoming class?
I am very excited about this class and being able to share what I have learned during my journey and what I wish I’d known when I started. The class will cover all the essential principles needed to take mouth-watering pictures. I will teach viewers how to find the perfect light, take control over the camera, style food to make everyone hungry and tell inspiring stories through your images. I will also talk about all the business essentials that will help you to turn your hobby into a job.
For those looking to make a start at food photography, what are your initial Three Golden Rules?
Like in every other business, you have to love what you do, work hard and be patient.
Which other food photographers do you follow on Instagram or other platforms for inspiration?
There are a lot of amazing food photographers I stalk on social media, and I find new inspiring people almost every day. I would love to name them all but there isn’t enough space here, so let me just name a few outstanding food photographers,whose work I really admire: Jonathan Gregson, Sharyn Cairns, Andrew Montgomery, Katie Quinn Davis, VK Rees, Mowie Kay.
Is food photography a lucrative niche?
The food industry is thriving these days, and so there is also a huge demand for food photography. That’s great because there are always some jobs around. When you look around, you’ll notice there are pictures of food everywhere. And hey, food will be around forever, so it’s unlikely that the demand for food photographers will dry up.
Finally, what’s your favourite kind of food to photograph?
I really love to capture food that is grown, produced and made with passion. The passion always shines through. It’s this kind of food that makes your stomach growl, widens the eyes, and evokes emotions. And telling these inspiring stories through photography really is the best job in the world.