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Stock Food Photography - Stock Food and Drink
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Stock Food Photography

Herb infused oils used in cooking. From the online portfolio of photographer Steve Lupton. Photo Copyright © stevelupton.com

Stock Food Photography

Herb Infused Oils (above)


License my stock food photography at Getty Images


Stock Food Photography By Photographer Steve Lupton


At it’s best Stock Food Photography has to be an art form in itself and behind the scenes a great deal of effort goes (perhaps mostly unnoticed) into producing great images. It’s relatively easy in this digital age to make any photo of food or drink, just point your iPhone and shoot right! But it’s quite different creating an image that meets the requirements to make it suitable for licensing as a credible, quality stock food image. Successfully represented by the top photo libraries. Sometimes people think photographing food should just happen, to look natural and real, but to produce the top images people are prepared to licence it’s often not quite as straight forward as that.

Here are some of my main considerations for creating iconic images in stock food photography.


Technically Sound Stock Food Images

Before any stock image is released to the world it’s essential to ensure that technically it’s sound.

When a customer buys a licence for the image my representative photo libraries have to ensure that they aren’t going to face technical issues from the image later, no matter where and how the images are used. So every aspect of technical quality is considered by myself before, during and after production, then it’s double checked by the libraries themselves.


Spaghetti Bolognese © Copyright stevelupton.com

Spaghetti Bolognese


Image Capture

Quality food photography has to start with the image capture. I use a very high quality medium and large format camera system and digital backs to guarantee that my images don’t suffer from any peculiar issues. My lenses are of superb quality. I’ve tested each one of them against other well known lenses and I was genuinely surprised how much of a difference in quality and performance there really is. This is how I know that what I capture is hard to beat both technically and optically.


Processing Digital Images

Once captured my digital images are processed up to a natural 112mb file. Each element in processing is carefully handled by professional software to maintain the quality we are looking for. No automated dust and scratch removal or anything at all that may impair the quality. No interpolation, it’s a sophisticated system that achieves the most from each original capture file.
Each image is carefully checked over in Photoshop using colour calibrated monitors and the latest computer systems once again ensuring when the image leaves it’s just as it should be.


Quality food photography has to start with the image capture. I use a very high quality medium and large format camera system and digital backs to guarantee that my images don’t suffer from any peculiar issues


Food Styling for Stock Photography

You think I do the preparation and the food styling too? I’m certainly not a food stylist and some say I’m not particularly a good cook, so when required I like to work with a good food stylist to help look after this side of things. Of course I like to guide the stylist just as they guide me, it’s a team effort after all.

Combined with my experience in photographing food and their experience and incredible knowledge of food, we usually come up with the goods. And this is where it really counts because it’s not about having a go and failing, or trying somehow to make the best of a bad job. I have asked people to go home rather than try to make a professional image from something that just doesn’t work. A good food photography team has to ensure the end result is what the client expects and importantly what the end user wants to see. It’s the same for stock food photography as in advertising because if it doesn’t sell or it’s not fit for purpose the consequences can be high. With stock food photography the production costs can be quite high so it’s important to get things right first time.


Ice-cream Scoop © Copyright stevelupton.com

A lovely scoop of Ice-cream. Textured version.


Lighting a Stock Food Photo

Natural daylight aside, I am fortunate to work with a lighting system that proves it’s beauty in lighting style and reliability time after time. My lighting is frequently adapted by me to suit the subject and create a mood that portrays the food well. Quite often the subject itself can dictate the style of lighting. The Image at the top of the page ‘Herb Infused Oils’ is a good example. You may notice that this whole stock image appears at first to have the light from totally behind the oil bottles, but on closer inspection you will see the careful lighting from the front too. The Lemons and herbs are discernible and so too are the Chillies revealing that there must be front lighting also, but note this doesn’t impact on the bottles where it would look sharp and out of place. It’s carefully placed lighting to bring out detail in the herbs. Used subtly to enhance the image.


A creative image with the experience of food professionals offers authenticity and validity


Experience in Food Photography Matters

In Stock Food Photography as in all photography, experience plays an important part in making the the image whilst adding extra value. You can see it in the image. A creative image with the experience of food professionals offers authenticity and validity. A customer using such an image has the confidence to know what they are getting is right. This experience also plays an important part in deciding how and what to photograph for the person that is ultimately going to use the image. It’s fundamentally important to research the subject and try to be original. I spend hours making sure what I have in mind to shoot isn’t represented already as I want to do it. There really is no point in just copying what another photographer has done, you will weaken their original just for a quick buck and it will limit your own creativity and ultimately reputation. If you’re a photographer please don’t do it! Find your own avenue rather than copy, try to be original!

Steve Lupton

View more stock food images in the portfolio

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