When I started my blog back in 2005, I had no clue where it would take me. If you had told me that in 7 years (wow! 7 years!) that I would have written multiple cookbooks, shot many more, and would be lucky enough to work with so many amazing clients, students and colleagues all incredibly excited about food photography, I’m not sure that I would have believed you. I would have probably thought, “Sure, that’s a nice dream” but never would have thought it would be my reality. I have been very blessed.
I know I haven’t been around this blog that has brought me so much this year. All those wonderful projects that it has brought me have kept me immersed in what I love to doâ€¦ but I do miss it here. Every week I tell myself, I need to figure out how to be here more. Because I have things to share. Because I want to create, just for this blog, just for myself. I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet.
Let me tell you how bad it is. I had a book come out in February and I still haven’t blogged about it since it’s release. Can you believe that! Let’s fix that right now.
Hey, everyone, I have a new book out! It’s called Food Photography: Pro Secrets for Styling, Lighting and Shooting.
Except, you probably knew that already, or at least I hope you did. But, what you might not know is that from July 10th (today!) to July 17th, Barnes & Noble is having a specialâ€¦ so if you were interested in purchasing it, it’s going to be 50% off.
Let me tell you a little more about the book. When I started food photography, there really wasn’t much on the subject at all. To learn, I flew out of state to buy coffee for photographers I loved, and I bid on charity auctions to have time with my photography hero. I read every little tip online I could find (that didn’t take long because there weren’t that many in 2005), but mostly, I tried things out with my camera and a window. Then, I tried things out with my camera and some lights. I spent a year buying food to shoot with no goal other than to just learn how to make photos like the ones that I was so drawn to. Then, I spent six years (so far) continuing to refine those photos to something that is my own voice. During that time, I met more food photographers and stylists, worked with editorial, commercial and stock clients, and actually made a profitable business doing this thing I love. This book, my book, is the book that I wish that I had had when I was getting started professionally.
It’s not a book about how to use your cameraâ€¦ there are hundreds upon hundreds of those books. It’s a book about the nuances of food photography from someone (me!) who has learned the ropes by slowly moving from a hobbyist to a professional. These are the things that I found were important. There are lighting tips for those with very limited budgets and guidance for what gear you may need in the future. There’s no crazy math around calculating lighting ratiosâ€¦ just simple, straightforward things that you need to know to shoot food, like what the best lighting and shooting angles are, and what gear you need when you find yourself shooting in the dark corner of a restaurant or in a bedroom of your house (I shot 4 different cookbooks in a bedroom in my house!)
There are styling tips helpful for food photographers who need to take on some styling themselves, but also thoughts on working with a team including food and prop stylists as well as art directors. This book also covers the business side of food photography, from licensing to copyrighting to release forms and what to expect from a professional shoot day. And, my favorite part, this book has photos, thoughts and stories, both inspirational and informative from food photographers that I greatly admire. I am still honored by their generosity of time and of their work.
These days there are a lot of books out there on food photography. I’ve written about some of them here. And, I’m super excited about two more that are entering the market this fallâ€¦ one aimed at food bloggers from one of my favorite people, Matt Armendariz, and another about commercial food photography from a food photographer I’ve long admired from afar, Teri Campbell (I have serious studio envy of Teri’s space). I like to think my book fills the gap in between these two.
By the way, if you have the book, loved it, and are looking for more of this type of things, I’ve started a new series of online classes with PPSOP. This course is a series of 2 week classes aimed at those interested in getting started in professional food photography. Ron Goldman and I are there to answer questions and critique your work each week, along side detailed written instruction. Each 2 week class is focused on some aspect of professional food photography, starting with an intro to the business side of the profession. Further classes will include a professional food photography lighting bootcamp, food and prop styling for photographers, post production for food photography as well as deep dives into editorial, commercial and stock food photography.