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  • Writer's pictureAnnemarie Bolduc

Food Photography Story

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

How country life sparked my interest in capturing organic and cultural food stories.

Shooting a basket of seasonal fresh produce • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020

Food photography is designed to make people hungry, to desire the ingredients, and to get an idea of how a meal should turn out after cooking the recipe. It can also be a form of visual storytelling and a masterpiece art. Looking at how cookbooks have evolved over the years, the greatest improvement is certainly the image presentation, colour quality and the story behind the featured food. We eat with our eyes first! Today’s amazing food photography that is beyond being 'just a plate' is an art that requires many skills, including cooking, prop usage, styling and post-production. Homegrown, agricultural and gardening photography, has taken over all my sidelines for a few years, and all relate to food. Besides shooting my personal garden and cooking projects, I visited local markets, growers and other gardeners to do self-assignment shoots. This helped me get experience “in the field” and learn where the produce comes from. I do commission work now for local cultivators, vignerons, and producers. I occasionally contribute to ABC Organic Gardener magazine and shot a few covers since 2022. I sometimes do live shoots in restaurants and food events, but I think working with daylight in my outdoor studio, farms and in nature is my preferred "office".


Exploring "terroir" photography • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2017-20


I got interested in “terroir” storytelling, home cooking, gardening and preserving, and taught myself most of it through books, magazines and online classes. My favourite subjects are related to backyard harvest cooking, locally grown produce and culturally inspired dishes. I also love writing about my work in development and I created a new category of subject, which this post is part of. In Studio Stories, you will find behind-the-scene stories and tips on creating a food photography studio with a low budget and a mind full of ideas. You may not know this, but I have studied Fine Arts in college (CEGEP in Québec) and university and touched a bit of everything in other artistic domains before getting my graphic design diploma. In all degree studies, I was taught the basics of visual arts (composition, colour contrasts, etc.). At university, I took analog photography classes and enjoyed the old-school dark rooms. In my graphic classes, later on, we were in the digital age and learnt about post-production and calibration of images for printing with professional software. So that was my background in photography before all this, and learning to use a reflex camera came later when my dad gave me his old one. My life in Australia's high country got me "hooked" on the camera as everything around me is so beautiful and I can't help capturing the short-life edible treasures of nature, their environment and what we can create with it.


A "Snowy Foodie" at work • Photos © Matt Beaver 2021 (offered by Snowy Valleys Council)


Food is a great medium; as we have to eat anyway, it’s quite a sustainable art! There is nothing wrong with playing with food for creativity, as long it's not to waste it. I love working with natural light, and I barely use shaping gear. Prop styling is also very important in food photography. You must select the right cookware to create a mood, composition and theme. I prefer using smaller surfaces (cutting boards, wood boxes, trays, etc.) rather than tables, as I can move them around anywhere to capture the best light. I have a special "trick" that I came up with, and I will tell you more in an upcoming post about food styling. I can always find some good spots in the yard and use the grass, garden beds, shed walls, logs, baskets, chairs, or anything to make interesting compositions. Fresh herbs, flowers and produce, immediately at hand from the garden when needed as perishable props, is a great advantage when having a productive backyard. Food photography is an exciting artistic challenge, I love it. Plus, I'm enjoying the delicious food with my hubbie (a lucky guy...)!


Food compositions • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019-2021


It took a lot of my free time, but creating a bank of images available for my studio and clients is so useful now. All the self-assignments made are getting paid back. My work has been published in magazines and I won awards in international food photography competitions. What is next? Well, there is some good food for thought, still slowly cooking but getting there. Now that I know better which baskets to put eggs in, I know better where to focus.


My chook's eggs basket selected in Foodelia • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2022


To learn more about my awards and publications, go to bottleandbrushstudio.com/projects

To visit my photography portfolio, go to bottleandbrushstudio.com/portfolio

To discuss a shoot project, find my contact here bottleandbrushstudio.com/contact

Another day in the garden studio • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020

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