Today we are introducing a new weekly series – journey of a photographer who started photographing food few months ago. Evi Abeler had been photographing for a NY museum for past couple of years and fell in love with food photography this winter.
As part of this weekly series, Evi will be sharing her activities, her progress and what she learned in the week. I have seen next few posts and potential topics and am really excited for this series.
Take it away Evi.
Discovering the Love for Food Photography
Last December my friend, pastry chef Albane, asked me if I could photograph her creations… and wow, I fell in love with photography all over again, quit my job (I had been a staff photographer and designer for the past 6 years) and decided to work as a freelance photographer specializing in food and still life.
Food Photography is a perfect combination of my passions: photography, art, design, cooking, nature and family. I can’t believe that it took me so long to find it. Now it seems so obvious. I am dreaming about days spend in my studio photographing, cooking, laughing, eating and producing an amazing cookbook with a team. You can tell I am still in the very beginnings of this relationship!
Food Photography Crash Course
Since I am a photographer but really new to food photography I decided to take a crash course. My first stop was Christopher’s magazine store: Food & Wine, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Vegetarian Times, Real Simple, Martha’s and Oprah’s magazines…about $60 later I went into Kitchen Arts and Letters, a cookbook store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It was absolute bliss! The employees were so sweet. One walked me through the history of food photography, pulling out examples from the past 60 years and introducing me to the work of his favorites: Ditte Isager, Christopher Hirsheimer, Johnny Miller, Con Poulos, Landon Nordman, Penny De Los Santos…another $120 later I went home and studied their images and tried to copy a bunch of them to practice. Soon I came up with my own arrangements and started shooting for my portfolio. I try to keep up with the Wine & Dine section in the New York Times since it is important to be aware of the current politics of food. Right now the trend seems to be organic & local & seasonal, real & a bit messy.
Every day I perused the internet for food blogs and became a great fan of: What Katie Ate, Cannelle et Vannille, Tartine Gourmande, Tartelette…and hold on a minute what is that…an interview with Charlotte and John Autry on a blog called Learn Food Photography. I submitted a photo of an avocado for critique and the feedback was so helpful that I thought it would be fantastic to share my journey with LFP readers every week and learn with and from you all.
Getting Work Out There
But now what, where are my clients? I thought if I put up great images on my website and let my friends know about it, I would be shooting for Food & Wine in no time…mmmmh. In a panic I signed up with an email list service in January and send out 1000 emails and 500 postcards to art directors and photo editors. Not much happened after that and now I feel a little weird about sending out these promos. They will be spam to a lot of people and that does not sound like a good introduction. I also feel ripped off by the email list service. It is a lot of money every month and the contract runs for a year. I wonder if I should have found the contacts through the magazine mastheads and publishing houses’ websites myself. How do you guys find your contacts? Email, mailings, or (brrrrrrr..) cold calling? I don’t think I can call somebody up with no connection at all.
My next mailing I am approaching differently: It will be all about quality and a small select group of recipients. A collection of my best photographs is taped to the wall of the studio and this week I am working on designing a mini portfolio: a set of 10 cards with different images on the front and my contact info on the back.
APA’s portfolio review on April 9th will be the testing ground. I am planning to take 20 prototype cards to the event and have the reviewers pick their 10 favorites. Those 10 will then be send in a nice package to my 10 dream clients. I will post photos of the mini-portfolio and what the reviewers had to say about it next weekend.
Readers, What Do You Think?
What do you think about this post? How did you start your food photography journey? How did you discover your love to food photography? Share it with us in the comments section below.
Diary photo courtesy of gato-gato-gato