Let’s be honest — food almost always looks better in photographs than it does in real life, right? Eating food is sensorial. While we eat, our brain doesn’t only take in how the food looks. It absorbs aromas wafting from the plate, too. We hear a grill sizzle or a spoon clink against a dish and immediately salivate. Everything comes together when we finally taste.
Eating food is an experience. A food photographer heightens the beauty of food in an attempt to capture that experience. But only a professional food photographer can capture such memorable experiences in every single photograph.
WHAT IS FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY?
Food photography is an area of photography where food is photographed as the main subject for still images. A subset of commercial photography, the images are then used in product packaging, cookbooks, billboards, marketing materials, and more. In today’s digital market, images are often used for websites, newsletters banners, and social media accounts, too. Because food can be a difficult subject — cooling, melting, or losing lustre quickly — food photography is collaborative: Prop stylists, food stylists, lighting specialists, and designers work to support food photographers for optimum shoot timing.
At one point in history, food photography had a bad reputation. Stylists were caught using non-edible materials that looked like food but weren’t. And photographers learned they could manipulate the size of dishes, which disappointed consumers. But today, professional food photography services focus on making food look natural, accurate, and enticing.
As a professional culinary photographer, that is Brent’s goal with every collaboration. Brent knows that only a great team with detailed vision can capture the best food photography. He understands that the plating or styling of food can’t be rushed. But also that he must always be ready to shoot dishes speedily to ensure the freshest images possible. His goal is to ensure not only the food looks enticing and natural. But the scene surrounding the food feels natural and organic, too. And with food always the focus, he makes sure the bigger picture never gets lost — that the products or dishes always belong in the larger commercial or editorial story.
WORKING WITH BRENT ON YOUR NEXT FOOD PHOTOSHOOT OR CULINARY SHOOT
Brent has been a professional food photographer focusing on food and beverage for 10 years. His love to find an exciting food or drink story and then help capture it in the best light. But he knows this is a hard thing to do for inexperienced yet ambitious photographers: Food can be fun to shoot, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! Because people eat with their eyes first, a beautiful photograph can lure customers to a new plate or product. But a bad one? It will convince customers that a food or drink product is not good — even when it is. This damages brands both large and small.
To make sure his clients only get the most appetizing results from his food photography services, Brent makes sure his team always delivers:
- Images with appetite appeal.
- Alluring, stylized lighting that matches the brand look.
- Memorable and long-lasting images.
WORKING AS A COOKBOOK PHOTOGRAPHER.
For example, Brent shot all 150 images for Melisa Hartwig Urban’s best-selling The Whole30 Cookbook. Before shooting, they created mood boards to design an overall look that would unify individual images and the overall design. They prepared a massive amount of props and organized their recipes. Then, they executed those 150 recipes in only 7 days. (This does not happen in the cookbook shooting world!) Commenting on the quality of the photography, Publisher’s Weekly included in their review that, “Veteran food and cocktail photographer Brent Herrig drives home the point that a burger served on a tomato slice is as delectable as one on a bun, and that meatballs do just fine in a cream sauce made with coconut milk.”
In contrast, he took a different approach for Acquolina Catering of New York and Milan. Their refined Italian cuisine was not fully represented on their website and marketing materials. Discussing a few general dishes and their overall design concept, Brent designed a bright white story theme that reflects the upscale brand. The resulting bold, dynamic photographs both feature the food and also tell a client story of trust and timelessness.
Similarly, for Scarpetta (LDV Hospitality), Brent let the food photography speak for itself. Featuring the food in its natural setting, the space and style of the restaurant were seen and felt. A lighting style both helped define the food and further set the scene. The images taken from that session have been embedded across the internet, marking a time and location
FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY – HUNGRY FOR MORE?
A professional New York food photographer traveling the globe, Brent has created mouth-watering images for small restaurants and international brands. He approaches each commercial, advertising, or editorial shoot ready to put food center stage. With freelance stylists and assistants at the ready, his team handles projects large and small. And his friendly, collaborative approach has clients returning to work with him again and again. Here are a few notable publications, restaurants, and brands that have trusted his food photography services:
- The New York Times (Dining)
- Bon Appetit
- Regal Cinema
- LDV Hospitality
- Haru Sushi
- Maille Mustard (Unilever)
- Rizzoli Books
- HMH Cookbooks
- Spring Place
- Starr Restaurants Group
- Serious Eats
READY TO CREATE?
As a food photographer, Brent’s team is always excited to partner with new clients on restaurant photography, advertising photography, and more. Ready to discuss even the first steps of your next project? Or curious about how food photography can bring your brand to the next level?
Get in touch.