What’s it all about then?
The food photographer takes pictures of food for packaging, magazine articles, cookbooks, and advertisements.
The pictures taken must evoke the delicious smell, texture and taste of the product and this takes a high degree of expertise to get absolutely right every time.
It’s all about getting prospective customers to buy the product!
What might I be doing?
You’ll be working alongside folks who work in the marketing and packaging departments to ensure that your photos show the product as extremely appealing to prospective customers.
So you’ll be looking at lighting set ups and other technical aspects of the job.
Many food photographers actually organise the set up of the shoot as well as framing the shots. This process is known as food styling and involves the arrangement of the food product to be shot as well as the background such as tablecloths etc.
Some clients may hire a specialist food stylist for this purpose, enabling you to concentrate on the actual photography.
You’ll probably have a great deal of background knowledge of the food product on which you’re working and the type of consumer it is aimed at - this will enable you to better understand the promotional needs of the company and what they want to convey from the product shot.
What will be expected of me?
You’ll be expected to bring out the very best of the food which you are photographing in order to maximise its appeal to customers.
It’s absolutely imperative that you capture the right image and ensure its in line with the brand so that people are enticed to buy the product.
You’ll not only be a talented photographer with exceptional technical knowledge but someone with a fine eye for detail able to use their creativity to portray the food at its very best.
You’ll have to work quickly and accurately to capture the product at its absolute peak.
What can I expect?
This is a job with a lot of variety as no two products are the same.
As a food photographer, you’ll be meticulous, well organised and technically proficient.
Clients can be extremely demanding and deadlines can mean a lot of pressure so you need the ability to be cool, confident and professional in your work at all times.
What about the pay?
The pay is variable and obviously depends on experience, trcak record and the depth of your portfolio.
Recent in-house jobs advertised vary in pay from around £22,000 to around £32,000 – although many food photographers work on a self-employed freelance basis or through specialist agencies where pay is ultimately determined by demand for your talent.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
There are many short courses available to the prospective photographer but for a solid technical background you could look at studying for a degree in photography. Building an exceptional portfolio is then up to you.
What about further training?
With all the advances in digital image technology and image manipulation, you will have to keep abreast of all the latest developments and this can be done through further training.`
As a food photographer, a food or business background is also helpful so you may want to consider some study in these areas as well.
Anything else I might need to know?
As a food photographer you could be working as part of a corporate team within a food firm, or you could be working for an agency who provide expert services to a variety of companies, or you could be freelance and work on a contract basis to either of the other two!
Also with the food industry continuing to grow and develop loads of new products, this is a great career to consider if you like photography!