Why Good Photography is Like Good Cooking

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer CAnon 1D X and 24-70mm f2.8 II Top Chep cookoff at Photo Plus 2012 (6 of 23)ISO 400

Photography shares something very big in common with cooking: they’re both art forms. But the best cooking is said to be done with lots of care and love from chefs who meticulously slave to not only create meals that will taste incredible, but also satisfy the people that they’re making them for. For many, the act of cooking often involves using a recipe and modifying it to specific tastes.

And like cooking, photographers should aim to put care and love into the work that they create instead of blindly shooting a series of images and hoping for the best to happen with what comes from the camera. Keira Knightly said it best when she stated that photographers that worked with film often see the person more so than the image that pops on their LCD screen. And because of that, many film shooters try to put as much work into making the scene perfect before they even decide to press the shutter button.

Any photographer–whether digital or film–should aspire to make every image that they create be better than the previous one and much better than the one that they shot last week.

Creating images is a process that it really just that: creating images. When you shoot an image, you merely do the act of capturing a slice of life. But when you create an image, you put effort into ensuring that the image is the single best that it possibly can be.

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In cooking, the process of food preparation usually involves careful selection of produce, researching recipes, figuring out how to blend tastes and textures, cooking, modifying and putting finishing touches, presentation and finally plating. And in photography, the process of creating an image doesn’t end with capturing the moment that you created or were able to document within a split second. It continues in the darkroom or the post-production stage. You’ll need to massage the image to become the best it can be. And in continuing the same love and care that you put into the image before the image was captured, you need to put the love and care into the image that will eventually turn the photo into something portfolio-worthy that you can be truly proud of.

One of the best ways to do something like this is to find inspiration in the most random things and do a 365 project. Inspired by recently interviewed photographer Sacha O, we think that there are more than enough people shooting and documenting events and random happenings. But for photographers to evolve even further, ideas need to be brought into concept, planned, marinated, cooked, fine tuned, and presented. The biggest way to stand out from other photographers is to have ideas that others don’t and that others want to mimic.

Those photographers that push the genre further and inspire others to become better themselves are the ones that we should all aspire to be.

And the way that we can do this is to have ideas, be creative, and be experimental.