It takes a village to raise a child the same way it takes a village to raise a business! In this post I’d like to start the journey of educating you about my awesome suppliers and standing in salute of them. Thank you for being part of my creative team when I need you!
Let’s start with some questions for the amazing Lee from Lee Bird Photography who always has something interesting to say… and to photograph! Get ready to drool, Lee’s greatest love is food photography!
Who are some of your favourite clients to work with? I love my return clients that I do shoots with on a regular basis, because I get to know their products really well. I can go in there and know exactly what they’re after, the look and feel the images need and I don’t need much direction. Some of these include an ice cream company, an outdoor pot and stone company and a flooring company.
Why do you like to photograph food? Cause it’s yummy, LOL. Hmm, good question. I’ve always just been drawn to food, possibly because I like to cook it and I like to eat it. I like to experiment with food and I love capturing all the little details that go into it. I have a love of Macro photography and food encompasses all of those elements, experimenting, cooking and photographing details. I love how you can play with light and it changes the look and feel of the food and what it means to people. For example, a dark, moody image on a dark background feels wintry. It feels comforting. You would associate it with slow food or rich winter ingredients. A light, bright image speaks of light food, fresh ingredients, summery types of foods. You can photograph the same ingredients in a different way and it changes the message. That’s what I love about it.
What is food styling? Food styling is broad. Chefs style food to look pretty because we eat with our eyes first. So take spaghetti Bolognese for example… you look at an image of spaghetti and it looks like it’s been placed on the plate and photographed. In food styling, that’s not usually the case. The pasta itself would have been placed with purpose. Look neat but still authentic. The sauce isn’t just plonked on top but meticulously placed so that you see enough of the sauce, enough of the ingredients in the sauce and also enough of the pasta to look appealing to the eye.
Do you style a shoot as well as photograph the food product? Yes, I can and I have before (that styled spaghetti shot is cooked and styled by me). I have lots of food styling props and I love to play to make the food shine. I know most of the tips and tricks and I like to play with them too. That said, I do prefer to work with a food stylist. They work faster than I do, as it’s their everyday role and just blow me away with their creativity and speed.
How are you different from other food photographers working in the industry? I don’t know! LOL. I can cook, style AND photograph food. So I’m a triple threat!
How can clients help you get ready to photograph their product? If the client isn’t working with a creative director or marketing guru already, I generally encourage them to and help them come up with a storyboard and an excel spreadsheet outlining each shot they need, how long it will take, props needed for each shot etc. I like to have the props and styling ready to go so we’re not wasting time on the day trying to figure out the how’s and what’s. Sometimes it’s not always possible, if we’re both going in blind. An example of this is a shoot I recently did with Tuscan Path at a beautiful house in Daylesford. We both went in not knowing what it would look like, but knowing it would be absolutely stunning because it’s a specially styled home belonging to a well known interior designer. We were blown away by the beauty when we got there and there were SO many nooks and crannies to shoot in, we just couldn’t get enough and we were spoilt for choice. In this case it was easy to style and we worked quickly because we wanted to cram in as much prettiness as we could.
Are there any ‘tricks of the trade’ to make food look really good? If I told you I would have to kill you! Yes there are lots of tricks of the trade. It really just depends on what you’re trying to achieve. The most important thing I would say, other than styling, is light. You’ve got to ensure the light falls of the food in the most complimentary way. It takes a bit of practice knowing how to do this and being able to see how the light falls, the shadowing etc. Hmmm, what other tricks can I divulge… How about we leave it open for questions… if people have questions they can respond to this post and I will answer.
What has been your favourite shoot to work on? Oooh that’s a tough one… I absolutely loved my last shoot with Tuscan Path at the designer’s house in Trentham. I love every single shoot I have with Popstic Ice Cream. Perhaps my favourite two would be personal food shoots I did. One with Kendra Plastow Styling. It was a Mexican food shoot we did at a beautiful Antique store Called Rustique Vintage. It was a challenge getting all the food there and then styling it, but it was worth it! The other one was a shoot I did with Sacha Kann Styling. We played with Ice Cream and Dry Ice and it was heaps of fun and the results were beautiful. I also loved my own little fresh ingredients shoot I did and one of those images resulted in me being shortlisted for The Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year, an International Photography competition.
What’s been your most treasured client compliment? I can’t think of just one. Every client compliment is treasured. I created artwork for them and when they are happy with the outcome, there couldn’t be a greater reward for me. Usually when I bring people to tears, in a good way, that is the best feeling for me. That usually only happens in family shoots though, when I’ve captured the essence of a child or family. I love those moments.