Food magazines are great source of inspiration and studying them can give you an understanding on how to approach food photos for editorial photography.
Today, take some time out and go to your local public library or book store. Pick up some food magazines and cookbooks and study the photographs.
My Process of Studying Food Magazines
I take time out to study food magazines regularly at least once a week. I spend about an hour in library or go to a coffee shop (or home) studying the photos.
Shortlisting the Food Photos
I usually scan the magazine from front to back and look at photos that move me. This helps me differentiate between the food photos that tell a story and with those that I can relate to with those photos that I have to spend more time understand the story.
Analyzing the Photograph
I go back to the first photo that really connected with me and start the analysis process. We have talked about reading a photograph. I use this process to understand the few things about the photograph:
What is the story this photograph is telling?
How does it relate to the article that this photo supports?
What is the subject of the photo?
How is the subject placed?
Is the photo composed in a way to leave space for some text/copy to be added on the photo?
Where is the light source? (hint: observe the shadow/s)
What is the background like?
If I was making photos for this article how would I take my pictures?
Once I am done with this photograph, I would move to the next photo that I have shortlisted and analyze the photo.
After analyzing the last photo in the given time frame, I go back to the photos again and quickly flip through the pages to list any photos that I would like to recreate and experiment later.
One Note on Choosing a Magazine
Not all magazines are created equal. There are some well-known magazines where I just don’t get why some food photographs are published and cannot relate with the photograph. So it is critical that you choose the right magazines.
I keep going back to Cooking Light and Saveur for the most part. I find that these magazines consistently publish food photos that I can relate with and learn from.
Take about an hour or so of quiet time. Pick up food magazines that you relate with and study the food photos in magazines. Ask questions similar to the ones we talked about above.
Tell Us About This
Share your comments about this exercise in the section below or on our food photography page. Tell us:
- What magazines did you study?
- How long were able to spare?
- How many photos were you able to analyze?
- What did you learn?
- Do you regularly study food magazine to learn food photography?
Photo by thebittenword.com