I think we can all easily agree on this one: great food photography should make you hungry, should make you drool. That’s the all purpose of it right?
When this doesn’t happen, the opposite might be true; I see it all the time, because I am not just a photographer – I am also consumer. Bad photos can really turn me off a place, a food or a product.
And this is not just photography we are talking about, it applies to all visual media; when you sit on your couch after dinner, and the commercials come on the screen, tell me you don’t feel an impulse to raid the kitchen: ice cream, chocolate, biscuits…. you name it! And you have just finished dinner !
But the big companies man… they know how to get you and they know when. There’s a lot of money in advertising and commercial photography because it works ! Images sell.
And that’s what I do; I am a seller. When a client hires me to photograph a new product, or the new menu, my job is to make you drool.
And to do that, as a photographer, I need the best possible ( read affordable ) tools and the best light. As for the gear, each of us knows what they can afford ( not knowing it could be our end as professional photographers ) ; but lighting is more important. If you know how to light you’re more than half way there.
And when I say ” know how to light “, I mean know how to manipulate any light source, natural or artificial. Personally, I don’t make any distinction: I treat the window and the soft box exactly as the same thing; at the end of the day they are both just a means to an end: beautiful food photography.
And since I specialise in location food photography, being able to rely on my own lighting makes me feel comfortable in every situation, and put my clients at ease too , because they know that as long as I have four walls , I can always make it happen for them.
The above image was actually shot on an open terrace with no solid ceiling; the sun was right above my head, harsh and unforgiving; that couldn’t have worked. I first had to ” kill ” the ambient light, completely, and build my lighting from nothing.
It wasn’t an easy one, but it was fun !
Dario Milano is a professional food photographer and food stylist, based in Sydney and servicing predominantly advertising and commercial clients, restaurants and the food packaging market.
He also teaches regular food photography and food styling workshop in Sydney, as well as in Melbourne and Brisbane.
To get in contact, email email@example.com