Google ‘food photography, Bristol, Bath, London’ or wherever you work and you’ll be greeted by some obviously talented professional photographers but all the images look so very similar that it’s becoming hard to find inspiring images. Go to Instagram or Pinterest and search ‘food photography’ and suddenly the photographs are beginning to look much more interesting. Stylish looking contemporary images that appeal to foodie customers.
The question then, what does make a great food photograph? Well that all depends on the consumer. So many photographers are trying to play it safe and replicate what other photographers are doing to protect their repeat bookings. At the same time food producers and sellers are being conservative – marketing departments want to make sure that the MD is happy with the safe, tried and tested images of the past. The problem is that everybody is forgetting about the consumers. If you’re in the business of flogging food or putting bums on restaurant seats, then you need to spend more time looking at food photography on social media and being influenced by what ‘the people’ want and give it to them.
All the brightly lit, glistening food photography of the 80s, 90s and 00’s needs to go. It all looks so sterile, when it should be exciting. Get a hand in shot or throw a fork on the plate to contextualise the image. Show people a plate of food that looks like something to be eaten and enjoyed. Instead of the contrived looking food photography of the past stylise the grub to look natural and inviting, rather than bland and boring.
Too many food manufacturers, retailers and restaurateurs are so dangerously close to those naff old cookery books with butter shaped like swans and tomatoes resembling roses when they could be a bit more Jamie Oliver. Don’t just leave your imagination in the kitchen, extend it to your marketing. Think about your target market and feed them the images that will excite them.
This blog post was written by Paul Tschornow of Photo Heads. Get in touch if you want to find out more about working together.