How To Chose the Right Light for Food Photography

Closing the Right Light for Food Photography

Choosing the right light for food photography is a key skill and creative decision for any food photographer out there. You can find the files from this video here where you can have a look up close at how the modifiers work

If you want to see the full workshop, you can download it from here

The Marketing Photographers Should Do in 2021?

As we hopefully reach the end of a crazy few years, it is probably time to start thinking about marketing, and the marketing photographers should do during 2021 and moving into 2022 to try and catch up on an industry that has been very hard hit.

I am sure you will have heard me say at some point, I do my marketing on a Monday, mostly because it illiterates. I like the sound of “Marketing Monday” even if it does often happen on a different day of the week.

The Marketing Photographers Should Do

As part of my Marketing Monday I have a check list of the basics that must be completed. Yes, there is far more to it than this, but this is a great start if you are at the point of wondering what marketing photographers should be doing. It is also worth mentioning that the biggest part of your marketing should be your product itself. For me that is my website over at where I showcase my commercial food and drink photography work, and more recently my commercial food and drink videography work.

Here is a checklist for the marketing photographers should do each week

The Marketing Photographers Should Do

Marketing Monday

Marketing Monday
TASKWeek 1Week 2 Week 3 Week 4    
Research People in agencies and Agents to build mail lists        
Email current clients        
New Project Ideas        
SEO on files for website        
Blog post and content for social        
IG posts for the week written and saved to phone        
E cards for mailshots        
Print media designs        

The list above is a simple checklist of what I make sure is completed as a minimum each week. If you want to learn more about this and full details of exactly what and how I marketing and advertise my commercial food and drink photography then you can download my Marketing 101 workshop here

Following on from my previous online workshop,

The session will be predominantly looking at how to market yourself as a professional photographer looking to make a good, full time living from the industry. It is an instant download

This workshop is aimed at both complete beginners to the world of professional photography as well as anyone who is finding that they just can’t seem to get the right jobs. So do not feel intimidated if you currently know nothing, all will make sense soon…

We will cover;

How to brand yourself – names, logos, stationary, websites

How to get noticed as a photographer

Website style and structure (not the physical how to build side)

Bios, contacts pages, and blogs

How to use social media as a commercial photographer

How to use e shots as part of your marketing

How to find the right people to contact

How to use your portfolio as your branding tool

How to approach people you wish to work with

Mailing lists

Very basic SEO

How to bring traffic into your website

I will then be recording my “Marketing Monday” to show you exactly what I do once per week for my marketing so you have an idea as to exactly what goes into this each week.

Please note, due to the limited number of spaces available, refunds will not be available once you have made your booking.

I hope this has been some help in understanding the marketing photographers should do in 2021

More about Commercial Food Photographer Scott Choucino

Professional Food Photographer

Pro food photographer with a can-do approach, in-depth understanding of technical requirements and bags of experience delivering successful campaigns on time and within budget, I’m proud to have so many long-term clients.  Having been a professional food photographer for over a decade, there are few problems that I haven’t had to face.

From house hold names to start ups… 

European multi location shoots to carefully curated macro images shot in my studio…

From editorial to world wide campaigns…

Shooting food is my passion.

The Best First Modifier – Food Photography

Getting your first light is a daunting enough task (more on that in another article). However, choosing your first modifier can be even more intimidating. With so many choices in both brand, price, type, and then sizes too.

There are plenty of great modifiers that can offer a range of looks for food photography, but when starting out and looking for a versatile and easy to use option, there is one modifier that I would highly recommend

The Softbox

For the majority of food photographs, we are trying to recreate natural looking light. The flash is merely a means to an end. A way to allow us to get the perfect settings, no matter what the available light is.

Most food is eaten near a window. With a softbox you can remove the fabric scrim/diffusion material to make it seem like a sunny day, or add it in to make it seem cloudy. Then you have the shape and catch light of a standard rectangular window.

They can be purchased cheaply like this one here or if you use Elinchrom, Profoto, or Broncolor lights, you can buy more elaborate ones that give a better quality of light.

Taken with a high quality softbox to camera left

How To License Photographs

When I started out in photography, I was more than flattered to be paid £250 for a days work. Compared to my low wage day job it seemed like a dream. However, after breaking a lens of about a similar value, renewing my insurance and making a few upgrades it became suddenly apparent that £250 a day would not cut the mustard.

So I doubled my day rate and I was shocked to see that the amount of work I was getting increased too. £500 a day was a markable increase in my income, so along came a studio, some big lights and a nice desk set up. However, it still wasn’t enough to make a good living from.

This time I upped my day rate to £1200. The work increased yet again and this seemed to be a sweet spot for my area. However the work we were producing was hard on the gear, we needed multiple fast machines and that £1200 a day quickly vanished. I did’t know what to do as no one else was charging this much in my area. So I spoke to a few trusted friends from further afield and decided to target very specific ad agencies in London and Manchester who would pay a license fee on top of the work that I was producing, which would allow me in turn to produce better work (there is a constant chicken and egg debacle in photography).

My current studio set up

What Is a License Fee?

The simplest way to look at the license fee, which is often called usage fee is this. You get paid a set of expenses for your production, on top of this you get paid a day rate which is for your labour, then you charge the client a specific fee for them to use your image in certain scenarios. If we didn’t do this, then the general day rate would be huge. This way clients get to chose exactly what they pay for and not have to pay for the images to be used in a way that they simply don’t need. However, they still have the option to buy the image in perpetuity, which kind of gives them unlimited usage, at a larger cost.

Why Doesn’t Everyone Pay Usage?

Simply put, they don’t have the budget. So you might be thinking, surely the bigger brands are being ripped off?

Well, no. They receive a far higher level of production, skill, and time, they also receive a better standard of photographer because of this, which is really important to certain brands and campaigns. The images produced on a £20,000 shoot will be of a far higher standard than those produced on a £1200 shoot and produced by a photographer who knows that they can get the job done, on time, on budget, every single day. Consistency is key. I tend not to work with brands who can’t afford license fee as they see my portfolio of high production work and expect a similar service to that. but with a far lower budget, which of course I could never produce within their parameters .

When Should You Charge Usage

The above is all well and good, and we can talk about numbers until the cows come home. However, to be booked by an agency who are willing to pay the big fees you need a few things. First of which is a portfolio that shows a clear vision in your work. Secondly you need proof that you can produce work on a high standard for a high level client at a similar production cost, which in turn becomes a catch 22 (something we will look at in the future), and finally, you need to know the right people so that you can get your work in front of the right buyers and directors.

How To License and What To Charge?

I tend to use as a rough guide for how much to charge. As with everything in photography, it is a negotiation. But this is a great starting point, although often deemed a little high in certain categories.