When people discover that I am a food photographer they say “You must get to eat a lot of amazing food!” or “Can you really eat the food?” or “How do you stay in shape with that job?” Obviously most people think a food photographer eats, photographs—and eats a little more—all day long. To be honest, photographing and sampling delicious foods are the heart of the job, but there is so much more to it!
Networking and Marketing
A big chunk of my time is spent reaching out to creative directors, photo editors, stylists and cookbook authors to set up calls and meetings, to introduce myself, or check in. Updating my blog and Instagram account, writing a monthly e-newsletter, producing quarterly print promotions are a must these days.
Planning and Managing a Shoot
Once I have established the vision, goals, timeline, and budget for a project with the client, I create a project description and shoot list for the team. Food stylists, prop stylists, digital techs, and assistants need to be briefed and booked for the shoot. We also have to scout and secure a studio or models. On the day of the shoot the photographer directs the show. So, I make sure everything runs smoothly, that everyone stays on track and that the client and team are having a good time. A happy set practically ensures gorgeous images.
Retouching, file delivery, checking in with the client and the team are the tasks that follow the shoot. Bags need to be unpacked and props need to be returned. The day after it is vital to send a thank you email to everyone involved in making the shoot a success, from intern to client.
Administration and Housekeeping
Filing, billing, and general housekeeping tasks often pile up and can easily be postponed to the next day. This is why a lot of photographers hire an assistant to help them take care of the studio routines. At a certain point in your business you'll hand your filing and billing over to a bookkeeper or your accountant.
Skills and Education
As a creative entrepreneur you have to practice your craft and stay on top of technology and business developments. I keep up with the latest gear by visiting Photo Plus Expo every fall and listening to This Week in Photography and Digital Photography Cafe while organizing the studio. As I have mentioned before I am a Creative Live workshops devotee. They offer free online classes on almost any subject, from creative photography over personal growth to money management. Take a look at their impressive catalog.
R+R and Inspiration
It’s important to schedule time to recharge from a job and find inspiration for the next one. Whether it’s a short hike, a weekend trip or a gallery visit, make sure you get some time to fuel your creativity.