Food Photography - Denver Food Photographer

Denver Food Photography

So while my website is primarily weddings and couples, something else that I shoot quite a bit is food for restaurants. Mainly I contract out for these, but occasionally I do images for menus and advertisements for restaurant groups. I often get asked about how I got into to shooting food, so I figured that I would talk about that here. 
Several years ago when I was living back in Kansas, I made a friend that owned a restaurant group in the Kansas City area. After talking for a bit, we decided to do a complete menu overhaul. That was my first time shooting food professionally. After this, I connected with a Grocery Co-Op and shot advertising photos for them. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to work with quite a few restaurants in Denver and Boulder as well as other locations along the Colorado Front Range. 
Here is a gallery of some of my favorite images. 

Process for shooting food.
When I was first starting out in food photography, I read so much on food styling. There is so much that the high-end food photographers do to food, that makes it not even food. I get it, but I also do not get it. I mean using motor oil for syrup on pancakes and waffles is a good idea, as the regular syrup will soak in too fast. I have never in my life received a fast food sandwich that looks as good as the photo. But most of that is fake food anyway. 
When I work with restaurants, I always tell them to present the food as the customer sees it. Chefs will always try to make their food look good for photos, but I want them to plate it as it is normally plated. Sometimes they try and put it on a different style dish, or add garnish on top that is not normally on the plate. My goal is to present the food to the customer would see the dish. 

 You can see the large windows on the right. That is what I use as my light source in 99% of my shoots. 

You can see the large windows on the right. That is what I use as my light source in 99% of my shoots. 

99% of the time I use natural light. There have only been a few places that I have utilized my flash in a shoot. When I shoot, I try and find a table next to a large window, with diffused light. Depending on the situation I will shoot with my 24mm lens or my 35mm lens. I utilize a white foam board to bounce the light to bring out my shadows. 

 Here is a SOOC where you can see the White Foam board. On tables that have a gloss finish it is hard to use this due to the reflection. 

Here is a SOOC where you can see the White Foam board. On tables that have a gloss finish it is hard to use this due to the reflection. 

I spent about ten years in kitchens cooking and working with a variety of chefs. During my time in kitchens, I learned how chefs think about food and all the elements that go into a dish. So when I shoot food, I work to show all the effort that goes into a single entrée or dessert. 
For me, this involves having overhead shots, customer view shots, and close-ups of the main details of the dish. 

When Shooting restaurants I like to get lifestyle shots as well.  These vary, and most times if I am in the kitchen I will shoot at a low shutter speed and ket the movement and action in the kitchen. 

When shooting food you need to understand it. You need to understand how fast things turn in the air. Cheese turns fast. Meat if overcooked looks grey. Refried beans look like doo doo. Learn how food works and it will make shooting easier. 

 

Keep an eye out. I have a couple food photography workshops that I am planning with a local restaraunt group.