Food photography is an art of photographing food. But what if you don’t have any food to photograph? What if you don’t like to cook or don’t want to cook? Is that what’s stopping you from practicing food photography?
In this post we talk about 7 tips on how to practice food photography even if you don’t have cooked food.
How to Practice Food Photography If You Don’t Cook
The one common advice from all the great food photographers, food stylists and props stylist in the food photography interviews that we have done is practice, practice practice. But how do you practice if you don’t like to or want to cook?
If you don’t cook, there are still ways to practice food photography. You don’t really have to cook food, to practice food photography. Here’s how…
7 Tips to Practice Food Photography Without Cooking Food Yourself
Let’s get to the tips on how to practice without cooking. Here are some tips that can help you.
Order a Take-Out (or Get it Delivered)
If you don’t want to cook, go and buy something from a local restaurant or any place that cooks food. Although, buying food is a very convenient option make sure you put some thought into this. Buying food and bringing it to your studio to take food photos seems easy enough, but it only works for certain type of food.
If you buy a sub from a national chain and bring it home, from the time it leaves the payment counter to it reaches the table of your studio, it may have become a big mess and will not make a great food photo. So, give some thought before buying something that may not look photogenic once you get to your studio. For the photo shown above, I ran to a national grocery chain and bought some fresh sushi.
Partner with Food Bloggers
Here’s another tip to consider. Find a food blogger in your local community who likes to cook but doesn’t want to spend time photographing food. You can offer to help him by taking photos for his blog.
This is a win win for both of you. It helps food blogger as he can focus on cooking and writing and it helps you because you get food and dishes to photograph. The partnership should be mutually beneficial for it to sustain.
Add Some Spices
Cooked food is not the only subject that you can shoot. If you don’t want to cook, think about all the raw ingredients and spices you can shoot. Spices can be challenging to shoot and provide a great learning experience.
Photographing raw fruits and veggies require no cooking. ( I hope you don’t consider washing veggies and fruits thoroughly before eating them as cooking…). Raw veggies and fruits are the nicest and friendliest subject of all.
They don’t melt on you while you were changing you aperture and shutter speed. You can photograph them for longer than any other subjects. If you are looking for a subject that for practicing artificial lighting, these are definitely on the top of the list and are easy to handle than most subjects.
Have a Drink
Drinks are also challenging subjects and the good thing is photographing drinks does not require you to cook. You can simply buy some beverage, style it and practice photography.
Granted drink aren’t “food” and in the strictest sense drink photography is different than food photography. Although a food photographer should be a “drink photographer” as well if you would like to make money photographing for restaurants.
Convince Your Spouse/Partner/Roommate
Executing this tip is very simple. All you need is one simple trick – the Jedi Mind Trick. Look in your spouse or partner or roommate’s eyes and say this confidently, “You are going to cook for me.”
If this doesn’t seem to work at first, have a staring-match with them by challenging them to look into your eyes long enough and repeat the statement. If this trick doesn’t work even after second time, find another victim like your roommate’s friend (and watch Star Wars to learn how Yoda does it). On a serious note, I am sure you get what I mean.
Go with the Pros
Once you are comfortable with the quality of your results you can start approaching restaurants and help them for no or low price. This option is only useful to those who have been taking food photographs and create decent photos consistently.
Approaching restaurants at very early stage of food photography is not advisable as this may hurt your brand and restaurants will lose time and money if you cannot deliver a good output.
What Do You Do?
Do you always cook for taking food photos? Share what you do to practice food photography?