I have been a foodie for as long as I can remember, but food photography emerged after 4 years of assisting all sorts of photographers in the fields of fashion, interiors and ballet. After that, I got a job helping on a cookery book and I was hooked forevermore!
I originally trained at Leeds College of Art, and then went to Newcastle College for my degree in photography. After that, I headed straight to London, in order to work as an assistant to other photographers.
London is a hard city when you haven’t got any pennies! I lived with college friends who were all trying to assist photographers so we were all in the same boat.
I took a fairly conventional route into the profession, as I went from assisting great food photographers, to testing with food stylists, getting my book together and finding an agent. Janice Hague at the re:fresh Agency in London (www.refresh-agency.com) is like a second mother to me – in a good way!
I always enjoy doing photo shoots. Generally we are taking beautiful pictures of stunning food , so what’s not to enjoy? I like to keep my shoot days really relaxed and friendly, as that is the best way of getting really good results.
The day usually starts with coffee. The food stylist, the prop stylist, the client and myself start with a good chat about what we will be shooting that day, any problems that might occur, a running order and generally a bit of a natter! The props are laid out and we all dream about which we would like to keep, meanwhile the food is cooked and I sort out the set. I shoot with daylight so in winter it means we have to work fairly quickly, and in summer we might be still there at 8pm getting everything perfect!
I have been shooting for 2 years now, and as Janice, my agent, says, we have only just begun! Food is always my passion but I like to move around and shoot travel photographs, people and lifestyle. Some of the photographers I admire apply their style across many fields. Ditte Isager (www.ditteisager.dk) is one of my main influences; she was the first food photographer I assisted and she made food ‘cool’, Jason Lowe (www.jasonlowe.eu) was another photographer I assisted and his travel photography is stunning! Other photographers’ work I really love and find deeply inspirational are Jenny Zarins (www.jennyzarins.com) and Mikkel Vang (www.mikkelvang.com).
I’m really lucky that I shoot smaller things at home, I get to look out onto my garden and see what my cats are up to.! I live in Walthamstow village, in north east London, with my boyfriend, Bob, and my cats, Pandora and Zeusy
I’m lucky to have a fantastic restaurant about 12 steps from my front door, called Eat 17 (www.eat17.co.uk) and we are always to be found there on the weekend having eggs Benedict. Walthamstow has a great farmers’ market on a Sunday where we buy our fruit, vegetables and Giggly Pig sausages. We are lucky to have a garden, and I’m constantly watering the salad and tomatoes we’re growing at the moment. We are also growing broadbeans, rhubarb and lots of herbs.
I think that the food styling for professional photography has been relaxing itself for years. In the future I see it going more modern than rustic, as we don’t all have beautiful linen napkins and rusty cutlery. I think the trend will be towards the more realistic, and that is a good thing.
If I had to advise anybody who wanted to enter this profession, I think I have enough experience now to be able to give some helpful guidance. At just aged 18 I had met my boyfriend (and my cats) and was well on my way to a photography degree. I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do and I went straight for achieving my goals, but the best advice I can give is to keep testing. Food testing is something you can do quite cheaply, so do as much as you can, there are lots of great food assistants out there, get in touch and get testing. Good luck!
E-mail: [email protected]
Mobile phone: 07734 851 788
Janice Hague (Laura’s agent)
Tel: 020 7724 8200