My photography professor said to me in class one day. “Why bother learning a trend if it’s not your style? So forget what everybody else is doing, Mica. Do and photograph what makes you happy.” At the time, the bright and airy trend was dominating the food world, but I wanted to do something else. I saw these shots everywhere: on social media, in cookbooks, and food blogs. The truth is trends come and go, but what’s genuinely timeless is finding your unique style. Here at Austin Food Guide, we want to set you apart. We don’t do the easy thing by jumping on every popular bandwagon. We look at what’s popular and amplify it.
There is a difference between trends and photography styles. Trends are a general direction in which something is changing. In trying to do what everyone else is doing, you’ll find yourself lost in a sea of sameness.
Trends are temporary.
Styles are permanent.
Trends are one-trick ponies that are a blip in time, but styles are timeless and adaptable, which means that a skilled food photographer can take whatever is trending and adapt it to their style. Photography is a form of self-expression. An experienced food photographer takes the time to explore and experiment with trends. Trends supplement and bring excitement into one’s personal style, but they should only serve as secondary to one’s core. Forget what everybody else is doing and focus on how you can set a new trend going forward.
In addition to client work, I plan three personal food photo projects every quarter to expand my skills and further develop my style. This allows me to practice new techniques, become skilled in existing ones, and grow creatively.
Take what’s popular and think of unique ways to make it your own. The goal should never be to replicate another photographer’s work. Instead, you should step back and evaluate what you love about the photograph. Reflect on your feelings at that moment and try to capture them in an original way. Your photo needs to speak for itself. I don’t want to photograph a cliché cake shot; I want to see what makes it different for you and not everyone else. Again, forget what everybody else is doing. What am I doing?
It’s helpful to reflect on how your passion was born. Think of this as a compass that keeps you centered and grounded. Reflecting on who or what made you first fall in love with photography is an excellent start to finding your unique style. Knowing this about yourself will help you forget what everybody else is doing and stay on the path.
My style evolved from my theatre background and deep love of classic painters like Rembrandt, Diego Velázquez, Johannes Vermeer, and Hieronymous Bosch. You can see the influences of their use of light in my photographs today. But for me, it’s not just about light but the atmosphere too, which goes hand-in-hand with color palette and composition.
There are so many blogs out there that focus on one aspect or another of food photography – what’s fascinating about Austin Food Guide is we’re not focused on just one trend. We look at what’s popular and think of how we can make it unique in an authentic way. The key to making any art authentic is to put some bit of oneself into it. Otherwise, you will end up working tirelessly but feeling like you don’t have much ownership over anything. Authenticity is liberating. Who has the time and energy to “fake it til you make it?” Authenticity means trusting yourself to make the right choices and doing the right thing for your clients.
As a photographer and artist, every client who works with Austin Food Guide can relax knowing that we will take their ideas and create visuals to make them stand out in the best possible way.
Got a project? Contact me to book a shoot.