food photography reflections 4

Why can’t my local wedding photographer take my food photography?

The truth is, he can…  Your photos may not look all that great when you do, but it’s your nickel and you can do what you want.

Food Photography is a very specialized niche of photography and it takes a certain skill to shoot food. I’m not saying it’s rocket science, but it is a very specialized skill. It’s a skill developed over years of training, and more than any other type of photography, it requires a lot of experience to do well.

Wedding and portrait photographers are not the type of photographers that do well photographing food, usually… Sure, there are exceptions out there, or at least in theory there should be, but to be honest, I’ve never met one. Wedding photographers are all about capturing the moment and lighting people and food photography is all about creating shape, texture, and still life ambiance. The two skills are not anywhere near the same thing. Even the equipment needed is different.

In food photography, it’s all about detail, tot a crumb can be where it’s not supposed to be. I wedding photography, the shooter is concerned about emotion, the folds of the dress, the composition of the room.   In food photography, the placement of a bean can make or break the photo…

All these things I’m mentioned so far are important, but the big difference most people will end up noticing, will be the lighting. Lighting food is very different than lighting people. You would think that understanding lighting is understanding lighting, and it is. The thing is though, that most wedding photographers don’t really understand lighting very well. Sure, they can get a good exposure, but they usually work with what they have, and maybe modify it a little. A food photographer creates it from scratch, all depending on the shape and texture of the food, along with the mood or message that the photo is trying to communicate to the viewer. It’s a whole other ballgame.

The funny thing to me is that there will still be buyers of food photography that cannot see the difference between a food photograph taken by a wedding guy and one take by an experienced food photographer. 90% of the word can see a huge difference, but the buyer is one of the 10% that cannot. And that’s okay…

So that’s why it’s not a good idea to hire a wedding photographer to do the job of a food photographer. If you want the job done right, go to a specialist. If you want to save a few bucks and the quality really isn’t important and you just need some photos, no matter how crappy they look, than maybe a wedding photographer will give you a “good enough” photo to convey to the world the true quality of your food.