Getting Started in Professional Food Photography


Getting Started in Professional Food Photography


Lesson Info

Business of Food Photography Overview

So, this is gonna be a really interesting hour or so before we get to the critique. I want to ... We've done a couple shoots. I've kinda gone over how I operate, whom I operate with, and you've seen it in actions in two very different scenarios. And that's kinda what I wanted to show you is how vast food photography can be and what you're gonna be asked to do. Now, if you're ever going to be able to do that in real life for a living, it's going to be a journey and it's going to take some time, but there are things that you can do and steps you can take, and just ... Signs along the road that you can notice to tell you that you're in this position and you need to go to this position in your career. So we're gonna get right into it. There's just gonna be two major subjects: we're gonna be talking about marketing, and we're gonna be talking about business, and they're intertwined but both equally important. And it's what I spend a majority of my time on. So, marketing is an unending endea...

vor. You will do it until the day you close your doors, which could be a week, it could be 30 years. And it's really a lot more fun if you enjoy the process. You have to enjoy getting your name out there and you have to enjoy meeting people. You can't be an introvert and be in food photography. There are certain aspects of photography, like being a National Geographic photographer where you're out in the woods for a month. You won't see a person for miles. This is a totally different scenario. You're part of a really large team, and it's a lot more like being in a kitchen with people you depend on, working side by side. Blood, sweat, and tears, and kinda getting through these shoots, which can be grueling. So, I enjoy marketing. The business side, I have, my wife handles a lot of that, and I could not do it without her. So she handles a lot of the numbers, she does a lot of work behind the scenes that keeps us going. I handle a lot of the marketing. And I have a lot of things that I've tried that work. Some things that didn't work as well. And so, I'm gonna kind of go through those with you and discuss them. How many of you have actually put out, just by raise of hands, have actually marketed your business in some manner? Okay, did you do print, did you do email? [Girl In Audience] I did print, email, advertised in some movie theaters. So you did a variety of things, and that's crucial. You have to get your name out there and not just in those avenues, but I'll tell you a few more. And kind of how to approach it. It's really, it's not just knowing which avenues to go down, it's how to approach those avenues and when to approach those avenues. So I'll kind of give you a layout of my career and how it went. There is no single path you can take. But I will get into it right now. So your brand, I'm not a huge fan of the term 'brand'. It's used so much. But who your style, who you are as a person, probably more important. It all adds up to what people perceive you as and what you're able to offer them. Because when someone has a job come in and they're at an ad agency and they wanna find photographers, they're gonna wanna work with photographers who, first of all, that they've actually worked with before. So that's a hard thing to break in, because they already have photographers that they enjoy working with. So you have to fill a need that isn't being met necessarily by somebody that they currently work with, or do it better or different. That's one of the few ways, or just reach out to 'em on multiple occasions with genuine information that really helps them decide that they do eventually want to work with you. So, your style is the crucial thing. We've gone over this, and I kinda wanted create a metaphor for you as far as your style. You're not gonna have, until you're five, 10 years into this, it's gonna be hard to really, for you to have a truly defined style. You might get lucky, you might stumble upon something that works. I think Joel Grimes, who's worked with you guys, is the king of a distinct style. He has something that works for him, and he has an amazing attitude about how to approach it. He consistently approaches something that he's discovered and the way he lights things, and really nails it in and markets to people on a regular basis. And then he'll kind of move on to another thing and really market that really well. He's an amazing photographer, so. As far as your style, it's kind of like a block of marble that I describe. And every time you make a mistake, or every time you stumble upon something new, you chip away at it. And the more you chip away at it, the more the sculpture will become apparent. And the more you hone it, and the further down the road, the less impact each new discovery makes, but you'll slowly just go and go and go until you've kind of created this almost personality, and photographic style that people can relate to and want to invest in.

Class Description

With the advent of social media foodie culture, food photography is everywhere. The market is saturated with top-down smartphone images of cappuccinos, barley salads, and elaborate toast. This represents a real opportunity for photographers looking to expand their businesses. Professional photographers are in a position to provide high-quality, captivating images of delicious food for clients eager for an alternative to stock photography and social media images.

Join veteran photographer Steve Hansen for this comprehensive basics course, and you’ll learn:

  • How to shoot a beverage, main course, and dessert.
  • How to light and style your shots to get the most compelling images.
  • How to build out your basic studio gear to get the most out of your food styling and photography.

Steve will walk you through the basics of becoming a food photographer by drawing on his own experience as a chef, certified food stylist, and photographer. You’ll learn about the equipment you’ll need; how to interact with food and prop stylists, and direct them during a shoot; how to work with digital technicians and editors; and you’ll learn Steve’s tips for marketing food photography.