Lightroom’s Range Mask Tool Is Amazing For Food Photographers

Featured image is a screengrab from the video. All credit to WeEatTogether.

You likely have your opinions about Adobe’s handling of Lightroom and Lightroom CC, but those issues aside, some new features in Lightroom have really been a great additions. One of those features is the Range Mask tool, and part of what makes it so cool is that it allows you to adjust your mask based on the colors or luminance in your image.

This is an incredible tool for all photographers, but specifically for food photographers, this Range Mask tool is a gift from the heavens. Continue reading…

My Job is to Make People Hungry (As a Food Photographer)

I don’t think black and white makes a picture better like a guitar solo doesn’t make a song better. If all the elements of a photograph are right for a black and white photo, then it will work. I used to be a big defender of black and white portraiture and street photography but one day I looked at my work and thought it was all crap and decided to try colour; the effect and power of a colour photograph was so intense that decided to turn everything back to colour.

If you look closely, on my portraiture portfolio, there’s a phrase that says “my job is to make people hungry” at first, it might look a bit out of place but when you think about it, It’s an analogy of what chefs do vs what I do; it’s the link that brings both crafts together. As part of the constant evolution of my website, I’ve improved my design by having a vertical scroll portfolio and chose break the monotonous pattern by throwing a few catchphrases/calls to action here and there.

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I Create “Dish Portraiture” as a Food Photographer

All images and text by Xavier D. Buenida.

This time, I want to tell you about one particular subject that influences the way I approach my food photography. A genre that at first it may sound odd as it sits on the complete opposite side of food but that it makes a whole lot of sense if you think about it: Portraiture.

For the latest campaign of a restaurant, I had to look at a lot of portraiture for inspiration and guidance on how to approach this shoot. When I get hired to shoot projects like these, I first look at the light and mood of the restaurant, then at the style of the dishes and then I work out how the client wants their style to be like. One shoot is never the same as no restaurant is either so there is a lot of research done beforehand.

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Personal Projects: 10 Reasons A Commercial Food Photographer Takes Free Work

Before I continue, let me tell you that this is just my personal experience and in no way do I encourage anyone to commit to free work. I’m a trained ninja guardian of paid commercial work but there are always exceptions.

Not long ago, I was approached by a client who asked in the kindest and most respectful way I’ve heard so far if I could work in exchange for food. I simply replied with a “sorry, I can’t commit to any free work at the moment” as I don’t like the idea of working for free (obviously), but didn’t want to shut the door completely either so we arranged to talk about it at another time.

In the meantime, I started thinking of ways to produce content for my blog, my portfolio and my marketing, and balancing the pros and cons of working for free.

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How I Use Street Photography To Become a Better Food Photographer


Hi, I’m Xavier, a food photographer based in Brighton, U.K. This will be my third year as a full time professional photographer. I’m a freelancer which means I work for and with many different clients on all sorts of projects. Oh, and I got here all by myself with a little help from my friends and the unconditional support from my wife.

My specialty lies in the catering industry as most of my work comes from restaurants, hotels, and chefs. My job is to photograph the dishes and drinks for the new or current menus and create content for their digital and printed marketing, editorials, articles, instagram accounts… you name it. Often I have to document a busy service, take portraits of owners and staff and even shoot the interior space which also makes me a portrait, interior, and documentary photographer… I love it!

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Food Photographer Francesco Nacchia on Being Colorblind

All images by Francesco Nacchia. Used with permission.

Photographer Francesco Nacchia lives in Salerno, Italy. He’s 30 years old, has a Law degree and is a FIFA players’ agent. When he’s not all caught up in his job, he muses over photography. He loves Oscar Wilde, Dostoevsky and the films of Fellini. When you look at his images, you start to notice something very particular: they’re not lie many of the others out there with a super high emphasis on lifestyle points of views. Instead, they’re almost as if they were painted.

One of the reasons for this is because Francesco is color blind. I found his work with the help of the editors over at EyeEm, and when checking out his profile you can see a very particular style in his work. As a result, his workis very much about tones, shapes and contrast.

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Food Photographers: We Want To Feature Your Cooking Process

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Milvus lens review photos (12 of 23)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 5.0

Hey food photographers,

As many of you know, we feature excellent photography from equally excellent photographers; and this time around we want to inspire others (and potentially make other hungry) with really beautiful food photography.

But we’re not just talking about food, what we’re specifically looking for this time around is the cooking process. We’re interested in not only featuring your images but also talking to you about the aspects of the documentary process behind all this.

So how do you pitch it us?

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Inside the Mind of a Food Photographer Lighting a Sandwich

Screenshot taken from the video

Screenshot taken from the video

Sandwiches and food in general can be tough to photograph and do sufficient justice to their delectable tastes. Unfortunately there is no end-all-be-all solution that works out very well. But photographer Michael Ray spends 11 minutes talking about how he painstakingly went in and added one light at a time–the way that many photographers were trained to light. Then he also talks about how he did a couple of things in-camera to spend less time in the post-production phase.

Believe it or not, there are a number of lights involved including two main lights as well as fresnels to add a bit more punch to the front of the sandwich.

Mike admits that it isn’t the most exciting image of a sandwich, but it surely is a very standard one and the lighting for something like this isn’t necessarily simple.

The video on lighting a sandwich is after the jump. But for more food lighting tutorials you should check out our interview with a bunch of photographers on composing better food photos, Daniel Krieger, Howard Shooter, Lou Manna, and Shea Evans. But if you’re looking for more inspiration there are a bunch of projects that you can do this weekend with food.

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Four Professional Food Photographers Tell us How to Get the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey Photos

Photo by Lou Manna. Used with permission.

Photo by Lou Manna. Used with permission.

With America’s Thanksgiving almost upon us, it’s ony obvious that you’ll be getting photos of someone’s turkey in your social media streams. Creating the photo that stands out amongst the herd though has to do with, well, literally creating it. Simply capturing the moment sometimes isn’t enough. And for that, we turned to four well known professional food photographers that we’ve interviewed previously.

Here’s what four professional food photographers have to say about how to get the perfect Thanksgiving turkey photos.

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Food Photographer Lou Manna on Pixels and Pâté

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All images by Lou Manna. Used with permission

Pasta provides an ideal canvas for food photography. That’s what Lou Manna, a veteran food photographer, told me over Skype recently. With all of its texture and malleability, pasta can be styled in myriad ways, but Manna doesn’t arrange it. He leaves the styling to the chefs and food stylists, and they leave the photographing to him.

Manna’s photographic career has spanned over 30 years from photography, from photo clubs in high school and college to a 15-year stay at the New York Times to the food photography he’s known for now. After transitioning from film, Manna shot mainly with Olympus cameras before moving to a Canon 6D and 60D in recent years.

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Food Photographer Andrew Scrivani Shares the Secrets to Better Food Photos

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All photos by Andrew Scrivani

The secret behind getting the perfect food photo has to do with loads more than just lighting–it also has to do with getting the moment just right. Andrew Scrivani is based right here in New York and is a freelance commercial and editorial photographer, food stylist & writer. His work has graced magazines and newspapers worldwide including The New York Times, Eating Well Magazine, La Cucina Italiana, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek.

We found a couple of minutes in between enjoying some epic noms to chat with Andrew about his work.

BY THE WAY: Right now on creativeLIVE, Andrew is teaching a free online food photography course. All weekend long (12 -7PM EST), Andrew will be going through the basics of recipe selection, food prep, and prop styling. Plus, food blogger Shauna Ahern (of Gluten Free Girl blog and book fame) will join Andrew to chat about food blogging, recipe writing, and how you can use photography to make a beautiful blog that will grow your audience.

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Hien H Nguyen: Half Foodie, Half Meticulous Enthusiast Photographer

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All photos by Hien H Nguyen. Used with permission.

Being a foodie and a photographer can sometimes feel like a full time job–but for Hien H Nguyen it’s a wonderful life. He’s an investments professional during the day and has always has a big love of both food and photography. His job lets him travel and he’s become buddies with many chefs out there. But beyond this, he’s also a trained photographer even though his only client is himself.

When he sent us an email showing us his incredible food photos, we were seriously captivated. And you’re bound to be also.

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Professional Photographers on Composing Better Food Photos

Screenshot taken from the video

Screenshot taken from the video

All of the master food photographers will tell you that great food images should suck you into the moment and should deliver an experience of some sort. Part of this creation has to do with having solid composition. The folks at We Eat Together put together a video showing how to do just that. Their first time has to do with getting rid of your light source in the image and also making sure that it isn’t visible lest someone focuses on that instead of the delectable bites in front of you.

The host comes up with a load of difference scenarios and compositions involving various angles that draw the viewer in. The use of reflectors really helps.

Their video on composing better food photos is after the jump. But we’ve added quotes from other food photographers that we’ve interviewed to add extra value to this post.

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Photographer Alice Gao on Lifestyle and Food Photography

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All images by Alice Gao. Used with permission.

We first came across Alice Gao’s photography when Tumblr published its Photographers to Watch list for 2014. Her blog is titled “After the Cups,” a reference to “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” one of her favorite T. S. Eliot poems. There we found photographs of quiet spaces and food with soft colors and beautiful light. So, we set out to interview her. Gao has an impressive roster of clients, from AirBnB to the NYTimes T Magazine. Here, she shares her approach to food and lifestyle photography.

For more of Alice’s work, check out her website and her blogs: After the Cups and Lingered Upon.

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Mystery Meat: Photographer Portrays Fast Food in a Ghastly New Light


All photographs by Peter Augustus. Used with permission.

We should altogether stop ourselves from getting sucked into those elaborate, perfectly presented, and weirdly vivid images of food that most fast food restaurants present in commercials and adverts to entice the hungry masses to consume their grubs, and for once, get real. I think we all know by now that those are fake, and their real counterparts, possibly made of something else other than what should be, are not really that appetizing to look at, let alone ingest.

Here’s a series that forces you to look upon face the reality behind your favorite fast food meals. While the rest of the world are getting into food photography, or in many cases, food pornography, with legit photographers coming up with delectable ways to photograph (real) food and addicted Instagrammers spending a lot more time than necessary to get a good shot of their next meal, Hong Kong-based American photographer Peter Augustus is getting on a different bandwagon that is entirely his own.

In an attempt to raise more awareness on the horrors of fast food and the chillingly lack of knowledge the Western world has about what ingredients make up their overly-processed, prepackaged food, Peter presents food in a ghastly light in his series aptly called “Mystery Meat.”

In Mystery Meat, patties are substituted with pig snouts, deli meats are replaced with pig legs, and veiny intestines stand-in for hotdogs–the photographs summing up a hard and effective message that we all must learn and live by.

See more of the photos from the series after the jump and maybe you’ll think twice before defaulting to the drive-thru at McDonald’s come dinnertime.

To see more of Peter Augustus’ work, visit his website or follow him on Twitter.


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Photographer Cara Livermore on How to Shoot Food for Hipsters

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All images by Cara Livermore

Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom.

Uhhh, we mean: we stumbled on the blog of Cara and Bob–the masterminds behind the popular Hipster Food blog and  Chickpea magazine. It’s about vegan food; and it’s accompanied by some very fantastic photography that is bound to get you hungry no matter what your foodie preferences are. The duo utilized one of the best modern tools for marketing yourself as a photographer: Tumblr. Utilizing the community’s heavy emphasis on imagery combined with its simple shareability via its dashboard, they were able to tap into foodies and liberal minded creatives everywhere.

But of course, no food blog is complete without excellent imagery. So we talked to Cara about how she gets the images that she does and about running the community.

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Why Do Smartphone Photographers Still Struggle to Be Taken Seriously?

“The camera is just a tool,” says almost any established photographer that’s ever practiced the craft. And I tend to agree. I’ve enjoyed some works made on an iPhone more than I have on a Fujifilm X-T4, for example. That’s not to say the latter isn’t a better camera. It most certainly is. But it’s the scene, the creativity, and the emotion that makes a photo, not the camera. So if the camera is just a tool, as many photographers agree, why do Smartphone photographers struggle to be taken seriously?

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3 Excellent 35mm Lenses Under $500 Every Photographer Will Love

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The tried and true 35mm lens is a favorite for many photographers. You can find it affixed to the cameras of portrait photographers, photojournalists, street photographers, landscape photographers, and more. The convenience that it comes with is invaluable. No matter the situation, it’s hard to not justify shooting with a 35mm lens. At least, it’s hard to justify not having one in your camera bag just in case. We dove into our Reviews Index and found some of the best. Take a look with us at some of the best under $500!

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Mermaids and Photographers Got Innovative to Make Team Submerge

We’re streaming daily on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherPocket Casts, and Spotify! You can also listen to it right here on The Phoblographer.

“Forming a synergy and shared understanding of the project’s goal is very helpful”, says Submerge team member Felicia. She’s the model featured in the ‘Springs Widow’ NFT, a project that came about from the collaboration of four friends. Each team member of Submerge has an area of specialization that came into play to create their latest Non-Fungible Token. We spoke to the team to understand how they created their newest NFT – ‘Spring’s Widow’.

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Photographer Says Photography Addiction Is “Destroying” Their Life

We’re streaming daily on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherPocket Casts, and Spotify! You can also listen to it right here on The Phoblographer.

In a recent post on Reddit, a user wrote about what they described as a “weird addiction.” Expecting something peculiar, I clicked right away. But to my surprise, the author of the post talked about their addiction to photography. “Addicted to photography!?” I thought. “Is that even possible?” Which got me thinking, can one seriously have a photography addiction? Let’s explore that question.

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I Hope That the Term “Natural Light Photographer” Dies Fast

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There is a term that has annoyed me for many years now. That term is Natural Light Photographer. It’s been obscured by the idea of an available light photographer. But the natural light photographer is the most pretentious smoke and mirrors talk I’ve ever heard. Lighting is easier to use these days than it has ever been. A lot of high-powered flashes have constant lights built into them. You can use either one for your needs. But the Natural Light Photographer is one who often captures instead of creates. These days, anyone can capture: not many can create in-camera with little effort. 

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