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Whether you are a hobbyist, student, or professional, it is nice to make money through your photography. You have made the investment in the gear and taken the time to practice your craft. You are confident in your skills and are ready to earn money for your talents.
Have you thought about food photography? Think about it. Unless you are there eating the dish, the only way to experience food is by seeing it! Mouthwatering food photography is something that is needed by restaurants and businesses worldwide! There is a large market out there for these high quality food images. So how can you get your foot in the door and start making money off of your food images?
Start locally. Focus on the independent businesses and publications that focus on where you live.
Restaurants- Local restaurants are always in need of quality food images. They need them for menus, website, and printed advertisements. With the turnover of their menu every couple of months, there is the opportunity to come back and shoot more items.
Stock Food – Whether it is a microstock site or a food specific stock photography site, there is always a high demand for beautiful food images. Instead of focusing on the images that anyone can take, try and take images of cuisines that are local to you. Cornbread, collard greens, and barbeque are found throughout the Southern United States, but not in Germany. When a publication in a different area is doing a story on a certain region of the world they will look to stock photographs from that region as an option.
Local Magazines- Local magazines in your area will always have at least one story on food in the area. This could be a food trends, restaurants, recipes, or all three. These publications are always looking for beautiful food photography. Shooting for these publications will help connect you with local food businesses that could lead to commercial work.
Local Food Shops- Local bakeries, coffee houses, confectionaries and other food purveyors all need images of their food products. They will usually need solo shots of their products as well as lifestyle shots showing their food products being used by consumers. Being able to shoot food and portraits will help you become a one stop shop for all of these companies needs.
After a few assignments, you may see that these categories will begin to overlap. For example say you shoot a barbeque sandwich at a local place in your town. You get paid by the owner for the shot. A magazine then does a story on the restaurant and sees that you were able to take beautiful pictures at the restaurant. They then pay you for an assignment. Finally, you put the shots on a stock photography website and a magazine in a different country uses it for a story. As long as you are aware of what rights you give away when selling you images, you can be paid more than one time on your food assignments.
Photo and article by: By Taylor Mathis