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Culinary Central

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER: CAPTURING FOOD APPEAL IN PICTURES

October 23, 2013 Aaron Colby Chicago 0 Comments

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER: CAPTURING FOOD APPEAL IN PICTURES

Have you ever seen a picture of a tender, well-marbled cut of rib eye, perfectly caramelized with a healthy tinge of pink that renders it flavorful enough to get your salivary glands flowing? And this is all from a two-dimensional picture?

The world of food photography focuses on capturing food so appealing that it makes people want to eat it. This is no easy task. Not only is it necessary to appeal to the senses of taste and smell, but it’s also imperative to capture the experience and mood of different colors, textures and temperatures on print.

THE BUSINESS ANGLE
There is a need for highly trained food photographers from those who have a vested interest in the food industry. Advertising agencies or marketing departments of large food companies need appetizing images of their food placed on packaging, billboards, magazines, or web pages that make consumers want to take a closer look. Magazines that feature recipes and cooking tips, or other culinary related features such as celebrity chefs or kitchen equipment, need specialized photos to accompany these articles. Large newspapers often have special food sections that feature recipes, how-to articles or reviews. Of course, cookbook publishers would be lost without an excellent photographer to entice readers to dig in.

Often working freelance, food photographers must have the flexibility to work in various locations. In addition to their own specialized studio, photography shoots can take place in commercial or restaurant kitchens, at the home of a chef or cookbook author, or even exotic locations around the world.

THE CAMERA ANGLE
It certainly goes without saying that in order to be successful in the world of food photography, an extensive knowledge of digital cameras is essential – everything from depth of field measurement to shutter speeds and exposures. Even a specialized knowledge of lighting equipment and software programs such as Photoshop is required.

It also includes having an artistic ability to see and manipulate light, angles, colors, shadows and highlights. Understanding how to use various tools and objects such as mirrors or reflectors is essential to create the appropriate moods or illusions. Successful food photographers have the skill to bring out the right properties of food so that viewers are able to see, smell, and almost taste it.

THE CULINARY ANGLE
What does it take to make it in the food photography business? Knowing how to shoot great pictures is not enough. To separate yourself from the others you must have an understanding of how food works. There are many elements to food that must be considered, and culinary school will give you the foundational cooking skills you need.  Knowing how to make food look appealing on a plate is one part to knowing how to make food look appealing on print.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Chicago for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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