One year, I decided to try food photography. I loved food, I loved local restaurants, and I loved photography. It seemed like a perfect fit for me. One problem… two actually. The first was that I had no experience in product photography; my style was more akin to photojournalism, which is stylistically different than product photography. The second problem was that I had absolutely no culinary background. Being who I am, I didn’t let any of that hold me back.
I first started by reading about food photography, and researched the tricks and tools of the trade. I watched cooking shows, and looked through food magazines to analyze how the food was photographed. I also started reading food reviews so I could pick up the lingo. I eventually put together a kit just for food photography.
When I felt ready, I put up a website, and printed out a few business cards, and I just started contacting emailing local chefs. I simply told the chefs and restaurants owners that I was a food writer and photographer, and that I really enjoyed my meal there the other day. I told them that I wanted to review their restaurant for my website and take a few photographs. Not every restaurant returned my phone calls or emails, of course, but several did, and we quickly set up appointments.
I walked into the restaurants with my food photography kit, a reporter’s notepad, a pen, and a digital voice recorder. I looked, talked, and behaved like I had been a food photographer for years. Rather than photographing the dishes the way the chefs presented them, I rearranged and recomposed the dishes slightly for what I thought would make the best photograph. It’s something a food stylist would do. When I tasted the food, I made sure to really taste every bite, and tried to guess what went into making the dish. I asked questions about the ingredients and techniques. I asked the chefs about their unique culinary point of view. They ate it up.
And just like that, I became a food photographer and writer. Although I think I needed more practice in becoming a better food writer, my photographs actually turned out surprisingly well. Some of the restaurants actually used a few of my photos as part of their print advertising.
I basically transformed myself into a food photographer overnight. Even though I had no experience in this genre of photography, I knew enough about photography to pull it off. Even though I had no culinary experience, I did enough research to know which questions to ask. Even though my only intention was to build my portfolio, I went in there like a professional photographer who had done this for years rather than like a beginner photographer begging them to let me take photos of their food just to build a portfolio. I became a food photographer because I behaved like an experienced food photographer.
Eventually, I realized that food writing was not my calling. I realized that if I could transform myself into a food photographer overnight, perhaps I could help others transform themselves into the person they were meant to be. I realized that my higher calling was helping people. This is why I started ideavist.
If I could become a food photographer overnight, imagine what you could become. Rather than becoming who you think you should be, or what other people are trying to convince you into becoming, focus on who you already are. I believe that we all know who we are meant to be. Not who we should be, but on who we were meant to be. Who you already are, who you were mean to be, is buried deep inside of you. All you have to do is discover who you already are, and then become who you are.