When it comes to food photography, developing your own style is something that most new photographers strive towards: you want your work to stand out, you want your style to be unique, and you want viewers to be able to identify it as YOURS.
Developing your style isn't something that happens overnight, it takes time and most importantly practice.
This month, I had the pleasure of talking to Danica from madebydanica about blogging, food photography, and her journey of finding her style. I meet Danica very early on in my Instagram journey and have loved following her along and seeing her style develop, and her account grow, so I'm very excited to share this interview with you today!
Tell me a little bit about you and madebydanica!
My name is Danica I am originally from Canada, where I trained and worked as a chef. I currently live in Ireland with my husband.
I started the blog because although I liked cooking I didn't have the best eating habits.A few years ago I realised my diet although normal was pretty lacking in healthy ingredients. Eating fruit and veg was something I knew I should be doing but it was always an after thought. I liked eating them but sadly they weren't a big part of my diet.
My husband and I were pretty addicted to sugar and we had the annoying side effects of a bad diet. Allergies, acid reflux, bad digestion, tiredness, and we got sick often. So I started doing research, trying new recipes, and ways of eating. There were lots of recipes online but I found I was making my own because I have a cooking background so I thought I should put them online.
What have been some of the biggest challenges in finding and developing your style?
I used to do photography in school so I had a good idea about the technical side of things but I had never done food photography. I liked experimenting with my images but I had no idea what style I wanted to adopt because I liked everything!!! That was my biggest challenge! I saw these beautiful accounts with these perfectly honed styles. But I was still finding my way.
What was the big "aha moment" (or how did you realise you had actually found your style)?
I am not actually sure I had that moment as my style is still evolving. However, I knew where I seemed to be naturally heading.
I love natural textures like stone, wood, surfaces that are weathered and rusted. Also, the light that comes in my kitchen is naturally dark and moody because it's often overcast in Ireland. So I guess in a way my style found me.
Before I photograph any dish, I like to get inspired. I often look at Pinterest or other Instagram accounts to get ideas for styling, colours, props, etc. Is that something you do as well? How do you get inspired?
Yes! If it's my shooting day and I wake up uninspired I will look at cooking magazines, books, or Pinterest. I actually try not to go on Instagram for inspiration because I don't want to copy other peoples personal styles.
What’s your process when photographing a dish or a recipe?
I actually try and think about the dish long before I photograph it. I think of different angles or compositions that could be interesting. So when I come to set up the picture I have a few ideas. Usually, the first 10 photos I take I don't like and I just keep pushing till I'm happy.
Other than your camera, what are some of the tools you simply can’t work without when it comes to styling and photographing your dishes?
Other than a tripod, I guess with styling I couldn't live without props. I love old dishes, rusty spoons, jars, I think they make the images richer.
What role has Instagram played in growing and monetizing your blog?
Instagram is such a great tool. It gets your images and recipes out there. Not to mention the other opportunities that can come from companies being able to see your work. The connections you can make are so valuable.
What would you say is the most important thing in food photography?
I personally think a great lens. You could have the nicest food or the best lighting but If you don't have the right tools to capture it some of that beauty gets lost.
What would be your nr. 1 tip to anyone who is still trying to find their style?
Try not to compare yourself with others. It takes time to find your style and comparing yourself to others who have been doing it for years will make you feel inadequate and add pressure. Keep trying new things that are outside your comfort zone, finding your style should be fun!
What are your plans and hopes for madebydanica?
I have so many ideas but for right now I want to continue to improve my photography and do more commercial collaborations. I am learning so much every day about the endless possibilities available!
Now tell me, what have been some of your biggest challenges and "aha moments" in finding your own style? Comment below!