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Food Photographer's Ego

You’re not important. Leave your g$d d%$#ed ego at home.

You are the Best New York Food Photographer. Your work is amazing, brands and companies clamor to your door and you poop lavender scented farts. Nobody cares. You are not the center of the universe.

But that’s not a bad thing and if anything it’s the best thing. When you’re not the center of the universe you’re free to do pretty much whatever you want to do and be whomever you want to be. Your ego might seem like your friend but it’s probably the single biggest thing that’s keep you from getting to where you want to go.

Food Photography in New York city for Editorial, Restaurants, cookbooks, and more.
I once was doing a photoshoot with a famous French chef who is also the son of a famous French chef. I asked that chef what he thought of the photographs we were making together. He said in a heavy French accent and I quote “It’s acceptable.” Which is not to say that he didn’t like my work. He is a part of a multi generational passion to master the art of cooking and achieve perfection. And he has been striving his entire life to find that perfection and acceptable is probably the highest accolade that he can bestow. I have spent many years in the pursuit of learning and adding to the craftsmanship of my photography, I have spent thousands of hours taking photographs but I am just a child compared to the hours that this man has spent working in the kitchen to perfect his art. Respect the craft and be flattered when he thinks the work you made together is acceptable.
A sizziling steak at an Italian Restaurant
At a video shoot I was shooting an interview of a charming woman. After the shoot I was editing the video and the woman that I was interviewing had on a hat that had a positive uplifting message but contained the word “shit.” Up until that point I was having regular communication with the company but I could tell by the sudden drop off in communication after that happened that my contact in the company was very disappointed. But it’s not about me, this was probably a part of a bigger marketing effort by the company that might have fallen through the cracks because of this. I’m just one part of a much bigger marketing strategy by the company and sometimes shit happens.
A culinary pastry treat covered in delicious sugar confectionaries
I once was shooting a celebrity chef and during the photoshoot she was crying. Celebrity chefs have an intimidating schedule an insane amount of things to juggle on top of her opening her new restaurant and was doing her best to keep it together but this just wasn’t the moment to be doing this photoshoot. I tried to quietly tell the art director on the shoot that our model was crying but the pupils in his eyes had literally turned into dollar signs. This was his ticket to the top baby! (It wasn’t)

A chef was looking at the photographs on my computer and asking me if the color of the chicken was right. Frustrated I was trying to explain to him color correction and how the software interprets the color information that the camera sends it. Just this whole detailed explanation of digital color theory and how that relates to some kid in Sheepshead Bay looking at the photograph on his 8yr old Android phone. Later he confessed that he didn’t cook the chicken all the way and I just used the brush tool in Lightroom to make the chicken a little darker.
Food with a dreaming background at a fine dining restaurant
I was doing a photoshoot at a restaurant with an extremely obnoxious man. I had met him before and when I saw his name as the restaurant contact before the shoot my heart sank. He is the epitome of the stereotype of a verbally abusive New York city restauranteur. The kind of guy who is a real sleaze bag and would insult his own mother rather than admit to being wrong. When he walked away to go yell at somebody in the kitchen I accidentally said under my breath “he’s my least favorite restaurant owner” in front of the manager. The manager later came up to me and said “He’s not actually the owner but if you have any dirt on him the owner would like to know.”

Early on in my career I was interviewing at a photo studio for a photo assistant position. I was showing the studio director my portfolio which is good practice for photo assistants. Even though they’re not hiring you to shoot it shows that you’re competent and interested in learning more about photography. There was a page in my book that had a fancy wine opener on it and when she turned to it she recognized it as the wine opener that broke the cork off in the bottle the night before. And she shouldn’t stop talking about it for the rest of the interview.
Italian Gelato waiting to be devoured by hungry people
The very first restaurant job that I ever did was for a sushi restaurant in downtown Chicago. I had spent the night before working on a Christmas decoration photoshoot for the Sears catalogue at a house in the suburbs of Chicago. Back when there was a Sears catalogue. We would decorate the house with Christmas decorations, cover the lawn with fake snow and shoot from dusk to dawn. My producer wouldn’t let me take a day off to do the shoot so I only had about two hours worth of sleep before I woke up to get the van to do the job at the Japanese restaurant. The hostess at the restaurant was named Bevin but I’m pretty sure that her birth name was Kevin. Bevin relentlessly hit on me during the entire photoshoot, all Love to Bevin but she’s not my type and I tried really hard to not offend her and keep it together. I slept for a good 12hrs after that.

There was this great moment on set where we were photographing a hand model shot and were approaching that climactic perfect photograph moment right as we had it the battery on my lights died. And in the same voice that she’s used with countless lovers she said, “that’s ok.”
Croissant being dipped in a cup of coffee Wine being pour tableside at the Restaurant Feroce in Manhattan.
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a food photographer in a restaurant How to be a Food Photographer. - Practice. Show your work to people. Repeat.
hands food styling burgers You're only as good of a Food Photographer - as the people that you work with.
behind the scenes of food being photographed How to do lighting in Restaurants - Lighting is most restaurants is awful for food photography.
pizza chef Pics Vs. Photographs - I don't take Pics but I don't mind when other people do.
food on fire How to Shoot Fire Baby! - How to capture fire in a food photograph.
a busy street in New York City Getting to the Job. - Some days this is the hardest part.
a busy street in New York City How to shoot with a Ring Light - My not so secret, secret weapon.
Cannoli in the coffee Passport to the World - Cannoli in the coffee.
Test photoshoot with a belly dancer Test Photoshoots - Try it you might like it.
Cry myself to sleep tonight If you Hate my Photograph - I will cry myself to sleep tonight.
Cry myself to sleep tonight Batteries - A Food Photographer's best friend.
Cry myself to sleep tonight Camera Kits - Everything you'll ever need.
Cry myself to sleep tonight Focus Food Photographer - Focus.
Cry myself to sleep tonight Food Photographer's Ego - Leave your g$d d%$#ed ego at home.
Cry myself to sleep tonight Spilled Food - S*!t Happens. Sorry for all the swearing.
Cry myself to sleep tonight A One Day Photo Shoot - is NOT a 1 day shoot.
You own your Work You own your Work. Copyrights.

This is an ongoing project with more coming soon.

Have a question? Feel free to ask and I would be happy to help.
a portrait of Will Engelmann
Did you just stumble on this page but you're actually looking for a Food Photographer in New York? Click the links below for Will's website.

Check out his Food Photography Website
Thirsty? Cocktail Photography Website