Food Photography

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Appetizing food photos pack a flavor punch in cookbooks. Home cooks appreciate seeing a recipe photo before diving in to cook a new recipe. On the other hand, many successful and bestselling cookbooks on the market don’t include any food photos.

Food photography is indeed an art. Alongside the food photographer is the food stylist, who sets up props and the food in an artful and palate-pleasing way. The food stylist can also shop for recipe ingredients and cook recipes for the photo shoot, if necessary.

Callawind can arrange for original food photography sessions in the exciting food-centric city of Montreal , where our offices are located. In most cases, however, our clients prefer to work with food photographers in their cities and be onsite guiding the photo shoot. Another advantage: if you prepare the food yourself, you won’t need to pay the food stylist to shop for ingredients and prepare the dishes.

Whatever your food photography needs, Callawind can help you choose the right professional photographer for your cookbook.

Food photography tips

  • make sure that the food is well lit with studio lighting or natural light, and no distracting shadows
  • the food should look fresh, moist, and not dried out, and shot close enough for the viewer to “savor” the food
  • recipes chosen to be photographed should be colorful, appetizing, and simply garnished
  • for cover photos, try to avoid meats or anything brown (unless it’s a meat cookbook or a signature dish with brown sauce!)
  • every element of the photo should complement the food, (choice of color and design for the plate, cutlery, napkin, etc.
  • avoid props that are heavily patterned or designed unless this reflects the history or heritage of the dish.
  • the photo styling needs to match the overall look and feel of the cookbook
  • the trend in today’s food photography is simple, artful food styling

Note that food photographers can make recommendations for food stylists that they have worked with in the past. Or, they may have a fully stocked kitchen with kitchen props so you can make the food on site, and work directly with the photographer to style the shots.

If your photography budget is limited, you can consider shooting a small selection of food photos and grouping them as color food inserts within your cookbook. The inserts need to be in multiples of 4 pages each. Inserts are then placed in between the signatures (booklets) that make up your book. For example, if your book is 80 pages, and the printer is printing in signatures of 16 pages, you can drop in a 4-page color insert between pages 48 and 49. Page 48 is a multiple of 16, and would be the last page of the third signature in your book.

Since the cookbook cover is what first catches the book browser’s eye, your front cover photo(s) need to be high-quality and have immediate impact. It is worthwhile setting up a photo shoot of the cover photos if you have a specific idea or vision in mind.

Stock photo image research

These days, there are many online stock photography companies where you can find good-quality photos and illustrations for your cookbook image needs. Callawind can research images for you, or provide you with a list of recommended stock photo websites. Individual images can cost a few dollars (royalty free) to a few hundred dollars (rights managed).

Let's talk cookbooks and food photography!

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