Inspiration is such an interesting aspect of a creative career. It can’t be forced. It can’t be bought. It comes and goes on its own terms. I don’t mind sharing openly that, so far this year, I have been under a cloud of worry and doubt about the future of my business. I’m nearing my ten-year anniversary of pursuing this dream of mine, doing work that I’m incredibly proud of, yet this is shaping up to be the slowest year I’ve ever had. I can blame the continually increasing everyone’s-a-photographer industry, or the ever-slow economy. I can question my prices, my style, or my marketing techniques. I can sit around trying to figure out what’s going on, or I can focus on making myself better. And that’s what I chose. I am choosing to become more versatile and to increase my skills. With that decision, accompanied by determination to release my worry and doubt, a gust of inspiration came my way – I can shoot food! The depth of colors and textures can be absolutely gorgeous, and lighting a plate is crucial for communicating those things.
Once I have inspiration to shoot something on my own terms (as opposed to being contacted by a potential client), my next step is to find someone who can benefit from the project I have in mind. I teamed up with Nicole, who is the executive chef of Mystik Catering. She created several gorgeous plates for our session, including seared lemon tilapia with shrimp and rice, braised short rib with grits, stuffed pork chops, and a beautifully layered mixed berry sponge cake paired with champagne. It was almost painful to have to be so close to such exquisite-looking and amazing-smelling plates for so long without being able to devour it. I highly recommend contacting Mystik Catering for your next event that requires a remarkable spread of incredible food.
Knowing I would need to be well-prepared for our session, I spent the week practicing some different lighting setups for a variety of photogenic foods and drinks. I know I still have much room for improvement, but I’m really happy with how these turned out. I learned a lot (in trial and error mode) about photographing food – not just from a lighting and styling standpoint, but from the aspect of the food’s colors, temperatures, and sitting time. Here are a few of my favorites from my week of practice: