Food Photography

Food photography isn’t just about capturing a dish; it’s about telling a delicious story through visuals. However, when you’re racing against the clock and dealing with unconventional shooting conditions, it can be a feast of challenges.

My love for photography and food fused together as I embarked on a career capturing culinary delights for delivery platforms. However, it’s been a far-from-perfect journey, filled with challenges that have tested my patience and creativity. In this article, I’ll share my firsthand experiences of the hurdles encountered in food photography for delivery services and the strategies I’ve employed to tackle them.

Traveling by tram in Brussels

1. The Relentless Time Crunch

Racing Against the Clock

One of the foremost challenges in food photography for delivery platforms is the relentless battle with time. As a photographer paid by the hour, every minute counts.

My journey begins with the relentless ticking of the clock. Hourly pay sounds promising, but in reality, it means I must be quick, very quick. Unfortunately, restaurant owners aren’t always aware of the ticking seconds. Waiting for meals to be prepared can leave me twiddling my thumbs, while my meticulously planned schedule unravels. If the first client is late, it’s a domino effect on the rest of my day’s photoshoots.

2. The Scene Setup Puzzle

Adapting to Diverse Stage

Food photography can take you to a wide range of eateries, from bright and spacious restaurants with streaming natural light to the depths of “dark kitchens”. The guidelines insist on plates, not plastic containers or cardboard boxes. Carrying these around is far from convenient, and it’s not always appreciated by my wallet. Then there’s the issue of natural light – or lack thereof – which can throw a curveball into the mix. My trusty LCD light and wooden board often save the day, but the compensation feels far from deserving for these extra efforts.

3. Battling with the Crowd

The Art of Navigating Crowded Food Scenes

Food photography often means working in bustling environments, and where there’s food, there are people. In the world of food photography, people are inextricably intertwined with the process. Everyone becomes an expert when they peer at my LCD display, oblivious to the post-production magic that follows. Crowded fast-food joints add another layer of complexity, with limited space to craft the perfect shot. Balancing my creativity with curious onlookers is like walking a tightrope, all while the compensation remains, well, “peanuts and rice”.

4. The Traveling Photographer

My Journey to Culinary Captures

For me, part of the charm lies in the journey, traveling to remote towns and villages in pursuit of the perfect shot. Exploring remote towns and villages can be rewarding, but not all agencies are willing to compensate for your journey. The question arises: is it worth it? Carrying expensive equipment on public transport adds another layer of complexity. It makes me wonder whether the “peanuts and rice” payment is truly worth the effort.

Veggie Burger, Mag's Brugerbar, Halle, Belgium (food photography by bsilvia)
Veggie Burger, Mag’s Brugerbar, Halle, Belgium (food photography by bsilvia)

5. Vegetarian Photographer in a Meaty World

Navigating Culinary Conflicts as a Vegetarian

Being a vegetarian in a world dominated by non-vegetarian options comes with its own set of challenges. The aroma of meat dishes can be overwhelming, challenging my olfactory tolerance during photoshoots. How do I stay focused and creative when surrounded by scents that don’t align with my dietary choices?

My journey in food photography for delivery platforms has been anything but smooth sailing. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of creativity, time management, adaptability, and the occasional moment of frustration.