I just wanted to give some tips on what you could do post course to keep up the momentum of photographing food and progressing with your style and creativity.
Find Someone To Work With
When I seriously started getting my portfolio together, I tried to do everything myself, cooking, styling, propping, photographing, editing. To be honest, sometimes I’d be so tired, after the shopping, cooking and styling I’d just give up and eat it!
So I enlisted some help, I asked my mum to cook for me! She’s fantastic! Very old school, think Delia Smith precision and properness rather than Jamie Oliver flamboyancy but that didn’t matter in the beginning, not only did she know what a roux was she could make it in her sleep and despite being veggie, she could filet any fish and professionally carve a chicken.
So I made full use of her cooking skills and that allowed me to work on my photography.
Now whilst my Mum can cook, she isn’t a stylist so I part taught myself and styled her dishes but when I out grew that I sought out budding food stylists and contacted them asking if they wanted to test. Meaning would they like to cook for me and I’d prop and photograph it and we’d both have (hopefully) portfolio worthy images at the end of it. In most cases, those I contacted said yes.
Restaurants & Cafes
Use your time in restaurants and cafes wisely, change dinner reservations to lunch, request a table by the window and definitely wait for one if when you do arrive they try and sit you in a dark corner at the back.
Use the natural light, use the food presented beautifully and the surroundings that have already been styled and put together for you and arrange your dishes and take a few images.
Obviously you have to be discreet and respectful of those around you, I don’t advocate standing on a chair but a few thoughtfully arranged images of your table setting and food? Why not?! Every image is practice and a lesson, I nearly always photograph my food in a restaurant. I think of it as part of my job!
I have also in my time, contacted many a restaurant offering free photography in exchange for access to interesting or popular dishes. Check their websites, could they do with an update or just better images? If they already have good images, do you have a blog? Could you offer them a review of their most popular dish, if you can come in and photograph it? This way you get a bit more time and can ensure you get a good spot to set up and photograph. Sometimes I’ve even had the restaurant arrange for me to come in between breakfast and lunch when it’s either closed or quiet and I’ve even stood on a chair for the shot!
National & International Food Days
I always need an incentive or deadline to create and something I used to do a lot was plan around the national and international food days. For Potato week I made three different types of chips, I pretty much always create something for Pancake Day and Cinnamon Bun day is definitely a new favourite. You can Google to find the dates for the upcoming year but there is something for almost every week if not day of the year, from sandwiches to Vegan and Veggie weeks.
Maybe pick 12 that resonate with you and set yourself one project a month and post your image and/or recipe on that day. Being specific and having a deadline often helps me stop procrastinating and get creating.
Even if you only did that for the next year you’d have at the end of it 12 thoughtful and beautiful images!
Don’t forget you have up to 8th April 2019 to send me up to four images to critique, they can be ones you create via this course, or something you create post course. I’d love to see your progress, please send them to me via WeTransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org