Food Photography Degrees

What is a Food Photographer?

Food photographers are professionals who work along food stylists to create food images that are later processed to be used in advertisements, cookbooks, menus and other such media. This field requires a certain extent of artistic streak and great aesthetic sensibilities. The idea is to arrange food in an appealing and appetizing way and photograph it from angles that make it look the most scrumptious. The use of a camera and related equipment is also required in this field.

If you are interested in this field, you might want to look into getting a Food Photography degree.

How to Become a Food Photographer?

Even though this is not a compulsory requirement for this field, earning a degree can help aspiring photographers gain skills and experience that will help them get forward in the long run. Undergraduate degrees in food photography are designed to teach students the concepts of creativity, art, composition, color balancing, lighting, editing and printing. This learning enables aspiring photographers to give a highly professional touch to their otherwise amateur work. Learning the basic techniques and developing them over the course of the undergraduate degree would give students plenty of experience to enter the job market for this field. Associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees are available at community colleges, universities or technical schools for students who are serious about pursuing a career in Food Photography.

If you are planning on looking for freelance projects, taking a few business and marketing courses in this degree might help you. These will teach you how to manage your own work or business in the most optimal manner.

Training for a Food Photographer

After getting a degree, photography majors would typically be required to undergo some practical training before they can begin to work on professional projects. For this, you can start to work as an assistant to a professional photographer. This internship or apprenticeship will expose you to the way things are handled in the actual photography world. Food photographers can pick up quick tips such as the best angles for food photography, best lighting, ideal compositions and color balancing in a picture. Similarly they might even learn a few things about the photography of different kinds of food items and cuisines – fruits, vegetables, desserts, drinks, meat and so on. Such tips picked up during workshops and trainings will go a long way in making your work look complete and professional with great attention to detail.

Career Outlook for Food Photographers

Being a part of the photography industry, there are various directions you can take. One of these is food photography. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data on career prospects for all kinds of photographers. Have a look:

2015 Median Salary

$31,710 per year

Typical Entry-Level Education

High School Diploma or Equivalent

Work Experience Required in a Related Field


On-the-Job Training

Long term training

Number of Jobs, 2014


Job Outlook, 2014-24


Employment Change, 2014-24


*Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Typical Duties of a Food Photographer

Even though this job does not have a strictly defined job description, there are some duties that are commonly carried out by food photographers:

  • Capture food objects in commercial-quality photographs
  • Enhance the subject’s appearance by the optimal usage of natural and artificial lighting
  • Market and advertise services offered to attract potential clients
  • Use various photographic techniques to achieve the desired results
  • Use different kinds of photographic equipment, suitable for the subject you intend on capturing
  • Use photo enhancing and editing software to retouch your work
  • Plan and analyze ideal compositional structures
  • Maintain a digital portfolio to demonstrate your work

Most photographers today use digital cameras instead of the traditional film-based cameras. This allows them to capture images in an electronic form and edit them to their liking on a computer. Images can be stored in memory cards or flash drives and carried wherever necessary. High quality cameras, printers and editing software have all contributed towards catapulting food photography into a highly-sought after field.

Work Environment

Most food photographers would work in close connection with restaurants, magazines, food producers and so on. The work environment could vary from anywhere between an indoor studio to a farmer’s market. Especially in the case of freelance photography, the work environment would be greatly dependent on the client’s requirements. If you have a full-time job with a restaurant’s marketing department or with a food magazine for instance, your job might be mostly studio-based, with some instances of varying destinations.

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