Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Food Photographer's Closet

As many of you already know, my "full-time" job is working as a commercial food photographer for a printing and advertising company. It's so much fun being able to play with food and cameras everyday...a few of my favorite things! I get a lot of questions about my food photography work. "What tricks do you use?" "Is that food real?"...etc. So, I thought I would start a conversation about food photography and what interesting challenges I face on a day to day basis working with the most hard-headed of subjects...FOOD! First, I thought it might be fun to glance into my tool box or better yet "The Food
Photographer's Closet"....
(Left Image: Keeping the "hero plate" of peaches chilled while I await changes/approvals from the client.)

(Above Image: As a food photographer, you can't have too
many choices, especially when it comes to sauces and dressings.
You never know when they will come in handy! This is only
one small shelf out of several!)

(Above Image: Lemon juice is one of my best friends in styling food...
a must when working with fresh fruits.)
(Above Image: Oh, my beloved brushes!!! Another must-have for adding things like glycerin to a product or moving an unwanted pepper speck out of the way before shooting.)

(Image on Right: Spices)
Spices are not so important for flavoring, because you're not going to eat your work of art, but it's always a good idea to have a nice collection of herbs & spices. You may need to use a certain herb or spice to get a desired coloring or texture for meat or even a sauce. (Also, I've found that a cool looking spice rack comes in really handy for using as a background prop in the image.)

If you dabble in food photography for any period of time, you will discover there are a lot of things that you cannot live without. One of those major things is my beloved propane torch. You can't style a piece of meat without it, plain and simple. I use it for browning and most importantly for "grill marks". I must admit, I used to be intimidated by this beast when I first started styling food, but now I can't imagine a week in the studio without it!

(Image on Left: Propane Torch)
This is just a tiny glimpse into a food photographer's "closet", so to speak. I have lots and lots of things I could share in this post, but I want to know more about what you keep in your food photographer's closet! If you are a food photographer or food stylist, please share your tips and tools with us! Even though I've been doing this for a while now, we can always learn new things from each other!

Until next time....Happy Shooting! :)


  1. Awesome! I need to start using the torch to get the searing brands on the steaks.

  2. ha ha! i warn you, it's addicting! Once you try it you'll be hooked!

  3. This was a really interesting post...I didn't realize what you did full time. Great shots...and I loved looking at your Flickr stream!