In cookbooks, chefs share these secrets, and it’s always a great pleasure to capture these tricks in cookbook photos and interpret them in new visual imagery and a new culinary universe.
Chefs work at countless levels, from gourmet chefs at nice restaurants with white tablecloths to chefs in the sandbox with plastic shovels and sand crunching between their teeth, but the joy of making an effort and serving something that you have created remains exactly the same. Their passion and love for food radiates from the chefs behind the dishes, and the dishes reflect the art of cooking. Because it is art, and much of food photography is about allowing the image to reflect the process that happens in the kitchen and the chef behind the stove. That’s why it is always fun to take a camera into the kitchen and take portrait shots of the hardworking chefs. The atmosphere in the kitchen is reflected in the food, and acts as a throughline in the cookbook.
Food enthusiast and photography geek
For a food enthusiast and photography geek, taking photos for cookbooks is a huge pleasure. Projects like these allow you to influence the visual imagery and tell the stories behind the dishes. You can choose to focus on the tools and techniques or on the plating and the meal around the table, and tableware and locations play just as big a role in setting the mood for a cookbook. Visually, you can create unique experiences that a cookbook communicates to its inquisitive, hungry reader. A beautiful cookbook’s pages should make the reader want to get straight into the kitchen and start cooking, and the fun challenge lies in making them want to do so each time a new page is turned.
I always try to stay abreast of what is happening in the industry and use the world as inspiration by regularly participating in professional food photography festivals. I am always happy to participate in workshops with younger colleagues, and I am also inspired by the old masters of the art. Technique and style rub off, but what is most important is the close interaction with authors that gets the creative juices flowing.