In addition to photography I consider food to be another passion of mine. Well, I like cooking it, I definitely like eating it and I also like to take photos of it whenever I can. Despite my passion for food, and food photography restaurant photography is something that has always eluded me, and it really bites. I would really like to be a restaurant photographer and earn money with restaurant photography but it simply isn’t happening.
I do offer food photography and restaurant photography services among other things, but I have never been assigned a commercial food photography shoot. A few years back I tried to promote my restaurant photography services and offered several local restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs and other eateries the opportunity to use me as a restaurant photographer for very little money.
I even stooped so low as to approach the local fast food outlets (you know those low class outlets selling burgers, pizzas, kebabs and the like to drunk people on their way home from a night clubbing) to see if they wanted me to take photos of their food stuffs for free. I thought if I could get some commercial food photography experience and build up a portfolio of images to demonstrate what I can do it may lead to a few paid restaurant photography shoots and enable me to fulfil my want and desire to become a restaurant photographer. Needless to say, no-one took me up on my offer. When I enquired why I was told that using the services of a professional photographer (or an enthusiast like me who does it on the side) is not worthwhile because there are so many free photos of food on the internet available to download. Basically, I was told that the pictures of burgers, pizzas and kebabs in many of my local fast food outlets were free stock photos. Yep, the photos on the walls in the outlet, and the photos used on their advertising literature and menus weren’t even photos of the food they had cooked! Hmmmm………… To say I am not impressed is an understatement.
Despite my set back in trying to be a restaurant photographer and break in to the world of restaurant photography I still take photos of food, and I have made some money with my food photos. Yep, I am proof that you don’t need to be a “proper” restaurant photographer and whilst I haven’t made loads of money with my food photos I have made a decent amount, which has enabled me to buy a bit of (much needed) photography equipment.
My method of making money with food photography is to use print on demand stores where I upload my food photos, place them on various products (such as shirts and tops, mugs, mouse pads, phone cases, laptop cases, tote bags etc.), add a witty comment or slogan and then put them up for sale. As well as these novelty items I have also placed my food photos (without a witty comment or slogan – trying to be serious) on postcards, greetings cards, posters and postage stamps. I have to admit my novelty food photos (i.e. those with a comment or slogan) sell better than the serious ones (i.e. those without a comment or slogan) but I have made some money as a “serious food photographer”.
I still have aspirations to be a commercial restaurant photographer and specialise in restaurant photography in the future, however I don’t know if I will ever get there. Consequently, I have given up actively promoting food photography services, but if someone asks me I will, of course, do it.
Here's what I do with most of my food photography shots:-
All of the above are available on a range of different home ware products, including mugs, plates, coasters, kitchen towels, place mats, aprons, serving trays and jars among other things. To see the entire range in my Zazzle store click on the design you are interested in.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.