Back in June I randomly stumbled onto a link, on Twitter, where someone had wrote an incredible post about the different styles of food photography that are currently popular among food photographers. It had such a plethora of information and tips. So of course I had to meet the photographer behind this post. Looking through Stephanie Shih’s food photos is quite awesome. Just the different contrast of colors in each photo is so beautiful and wonderfully matched. Be sure to check out her blog “Desserts for Breakfast” where you can make this delicious looking coconut chocolate cake with raspberries and have it for breakfast!
Q. Can you tell me what you’re trying to capture when you take your food photos?
A. When I’m taking pictures of food, it’s as with any other subject—travel, landscape, people: I’m trying to capture the personality and character of that particular food subject, its innate quality that makes it unique and interesting.
Q. What inspires you?
Traveling: seeing and experiencing life outside my own. People who are shockingly good at what they do, who have worked incredibly hard to get there, who believe whole-heartedly that you can achieve the same, and who push you to do so. Tall trees, natural bodies of water, floral print teacups, musicians who are amazing storytellers, fresh and carefully-grown fruit, light and shadows, simplicity, nostalgia, anything that surprises me… the list goes on.
Q. What is photography to you?
To me, photography involves the intersection of two things: the inherent essence of the subject or moment and the way I, as the photographer, interact with and experience that subject, moment, or scene. Every photograph reveals something about the person behind the camera, as it does about what’s in front of the lens: when the photographer chooses to press the shutter is so crucial.
Q. Thank you for writing the “Current Food Photography Styles and Trends” post on your blog. It’s great to see all the different ways you can shoot a subject in one place. When you’re about to do a shoot, how do you decide which “style” to use?
The styles covered in that post were much more of a post hoc analysis of what’s popular in food photography on the blogosphere today than a guide for when I’m shooting. Before a shoot, I’m thinking more about what photographic elements—lighting, composition, props, styling, etc—will help to best express my subject’s story. “Style” is what happens when all of these elements come together in the end, after I’ve made the whole image.
Q. Any food photography heroes? If not, any photography heroes?
Ditte Isager, for her captivating simplicity and cleanliness. Gentl + Hyers’ images are always so hauntingly beautiful and inspiring. I’m also currently obsessed with the collaborative creativity of Anna Williams’ The Voracity series. Beyond food photography, there are several, but I must at least mention my friend and portrait photographer, Toni Gauthier, who’s constantly pushing me to think harder about every image I make.
Q. Best meal so far in 2012?
In a life so fortunately filled with good food, it’s sort of impossible to pick just one best meal! Top ranking favorites so far from 2012: lunch counter at Castroni in Rome, spicy tom yum soup on a blistery winter day at Thai Peacock in Portland, and the vast backyard BBQ potluck spread from my talented friends for my June birthday party.