We all love to take photos of our favourite dishes, whether it’s something we’ve made ourselves or snaps of fine dining to show off on Instagram.
But for those who are considering becoming a professional food photographer, Instagram pics of avocado toast from your favourite hipster eatery won’t be enough to get you notices and find paid food photography jobs.
Many photographers looking for food photography gigs are not yet ready to get clients yet. It’s essential to develop a portfolio of work - as it is in any photography niche - a website with your portfolio of images (a link to your Instagram, no matter how good, will not find freelance jobs), and a printed portfolio of your work for face-to-face meetings.
It takes time and patience to develop a stunning portfolio, whatever your subject. We have a look at some tips to help you develop your food photography portfolio.
How many images do you need?
Consider your portfolio as your online brochure to share who and what you are, and what you do best.
A good portfolio should have around 30 to 50 images. When people view online catalogues of photos, they tend to skim and swipe through images quickly, so you mustn’t run out of content too soon.
Depending on what you shoot, you might want to separate your food portfolio into categories, that way restaurants can see images that relate to them, and coffee clients can see your coffee shots in a beverages gallery. You should have at least 10 images per category if this is the route you take.
What images do you need?
Quite simply, you need a large assortment of different food types. Many food bloggers get into food photography through their specialism, so if you’re into baking, you will likely have a wealth of photographs of cakes and desserts. It could limit what clients you can go after, but it is a good start.
Potential clients want to see the food they are selling on your website, so an ice cream maker wants to see photos of ice cream, a burger joint wants photos of burgers, etc. Therefore the more variety you can shoot and include in your portfolio, the better.
What if you don’t have any food prep and styling skills?
Food photography styling can be tricky if you don’t have the necessary culinary skills. Clients who have a food product that needs to be prepared from scratch won’t have the confidence that you can perform the job if you don’t have prepared food items in your portfolio.
If you’re not so sure about your food styling skills, then partner up with an aspiring food stylist, a chef at a restaurant, a culinary student, a personal/private chef, or a caterer. All of those mentioned will also need photos of their food, so it could be an ideal way to collaborate on a project.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t refine your skills by taking stunning photos of the raw ingredients for the food. Editorial and abstract photographs of the produce to be used in a recipe will also add to your portfolio, and show a different aspect of your work, but don’t fill your portfolio with these shots, or you might find your available work is limited.
You will also need to practice good overall styling, and high-quality photography skills and food photo backdrops will be invaluable to creating stunning photography that will find your work. Visit our website today to see our wide range of photography backdrops.