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November 22, 2015

How To Make The Food Look Good, Not Taste Good

How did your photo career get started? Where did you learn to shoot food so beautifully?

THANK YOU for your kind words.

I got my formal training in commercial photography at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. Let’s not get into what year! What I learned (and am still learning) was the beauty and awesomeness of LIGHT.

Believe it or not, my first project was a fashion shoot. My lighting techniques helped me acquire many different and challenging projects.

Sorry, but I don’t think I have enough space for “how my photo career got started”. It’s a long story which I love sharing. A Starbucks large size Raspberry Black Currant and an oatmeal cookie are my fee.

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What made you pursue a career in food photography?

It found me. My training in Art Center was shooting cars/motorbikes and still life. When I arrived in the Philippines, I noticed that the advertising photography for automobiles and bikes was practically nonexistent. What were alive and seen on billboards and prints ads were fashion, product, and food images. To me, product and food photography are some sort of still life photography.

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What’s your job like?

When I am shooting, I get extremely excited. When I am not shooting, I play Marvel Tournament of Champions and Clash of Clans. Also, I used to be obsessed with golf.

Keep in mind that I also treat it is a business, too. I have to find work because I have bills to pay.

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What’s your favorite food to photograph?

Any food item that challenges my food stylist and me. Did I mention that my favorite food stylist is also my wife? If I can turn an “ordinary” food dish into something visually exciting that will make you salivate and your stomach growl, then that will be my favorite food shot.

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What are some overrused trends in food photography?

I am sorry but I am not really familiar with the term “overused trends in photography”. I was at a shoot while writing this reply. I asked my clients and art director if they knew what it meant. They showed me in the internet top shots of food with and without hands, “I was here shots” (selfies with only the hands holding the food items. No face included), and a photo of a photo. I hope I answered this right.

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Do you often work with a food stylist? How do food stylists work with photographers? From a creative standpoint, how does working with a stylist affect your photography?

I ALWAYS work with a food stylist. If a food stylist is not available, I can work with a chef and/or a cook who would do the plating & preparation. This is the catch: the one preparing the food item must know the techniques on how to make the food LOOK GOOD, NOT TASTE GOOD.

The food photographer and the food stylist have to work as a team. It is similar to shooting fashion. The fashion photographer works with many stylists: hair, make up, hands/fingernail cleaning/polishing, wardrobe, etc. Think TEAM work.

I have a simple question for you if you plan to do a food shot: WHO WILL DO THE COOKING, PREPARATION, & PLATING IF YOU DON’T HAVE A FOOD STYLIST?

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