Book review – Food Styling for Photographers

by Linda Bellingham and Jean Ann Bybee

It may be easiest to start with what this book is not. This book, and the lessons within, will not make you a food stylist. This book will not take work away from stylists. We all know there are times when we don’t have the option of working with a professional stylist, whether due to budget, time or logistical constraints. They will not replace the expertise, talents and skills of a professional food stylist.

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The importance of discipline

One of the greatest things about being a full time photographer who owns the business is the flexibility it offers in scheduling. Case in point – last week. My kids were out of school for spring break and even though it’s a busy season for me, I was able to move things around on the schedule and spend some good time with them. Of course, like most things there are trade offs that come with this flexibility. The biggest is lack of security. Another is the constant need for self discipline when it comes to non assignment shooting and other internal tasks. (more…)

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Workflow processes and data management

Anyone in this business for a while will have to contend with storage, archiving and workflow of digital images. The system I’ve been using for the past 10 years or so has evolved, and continues to do so. It’s based on invoice numbers. For the past four or so years I’ve been using blinkbid to generate invoices and estimates. I like this particular program because it’s simple and was written specifically for photographers. I know many photographers that use quickbooks, quicken or MS Money. Which business software to use is a decision that you should make individually or perhaps with help from your accountant. (more…)

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Food photography – the basics

As a photography student I was encouraged, and in many cases assigned, to many different types of photography. We were given individual assignments on portraits, still life, products, journalism, industrial, architecture, etc. As I progressed through school, individual assignments gave way to elective courses specific to certain types of photography. Of course learning the technical and aesthetic challenges associated with different types of photography is important to any well rounded education, but more important was the ability to learn about yourself and what types of work you are best suited to. It was during these years that I discovered I really enjoy the slow, methodical processes of studio work and as a natural extension of that I gravitated towards food photography. (more…)

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Shooting ice cream…

…and other frozen treats is delicate and very technically challenging. It’s also a lot of fun. Working with real food is always my preference when possible. I’ve found that the time spent in creating fake food is often better spent by making real food look better. Frozen and very cold items is one of my exceptions to this rule. (more…)

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Now is a great time to start a…

… insert venture here.

It could be a photography business (or expansion of an existing business,) maybe a magazine or newspaper, maybe a creative services company or a consulting firm. Things are tough all over and everybody is re-evaluating their budgets and plans. That spells opportunity. (more…)

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Splash and pour shots

One of the most fun types of shoots we get asked to do regularly is the pour shot. I personally like the pour shot because it’s technically challenging, visually arresting and sometimes unpredictable. (more…)

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Social networking for photographers

Most of the posts here so far have been done as articles, in other words one sided lectures as opposed to discussions. I’d like this to be more of an open ended discussion, please share your experiences and ideas for making social networking work. (more…)

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What clients want.

Photography from the clients’ point of view.
by Jen Buchanan, Design Partner of Buchanan Studios, Inc.

I’m not a photographer, but I do work with them. I’m a Graphic Designer and I occasionally get the chance to hire photographers. It doesn’t happen very often, usually due to budgets. In my time as a designer I’ve learned several things about creative professionals and how they work. I’ve got a few tips for photographers on how to make the whole process run more smoothly and help ensure repeat business. True, I’ve dealt mostly with commercial photographers, but I think these tips will work for most anyone. (more…)

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Truth in advertising

I’ll admit that “truth in advertising” is a bit of a contradiction in terms. But one of the great advantages, as well as responsiblities, of photography is that most people view photos as representations of reality. Or at least they do on a subconscious level. Those of us in the industry, and certainly anyone who’s spent 7 hours making a shrimp cocktail look just right, know that reality is flexible. Deciding how flexible is where you can get into trouble. (more…)

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