November 2020 // The Business Edition

The Business of Food Photography | Chelsea Kyle


Building a proper team of crew and stylists for food and drink photography is an extension of one’s creative vision. Who you hire and why can determine your success for a specific shoot. Some stylists are better with desserts and piping, others drinks and condensation. Do you need assistants that are super savvy with lighting and technical procedures? Or do you need someone detail oriented to provide you backup as you balance your focus on directing and addressing a client? All of these factors come into play, but ultimately, you as the lead photographer have the responsibility to know those roles in and out and advocate for your team as they execute. Knowing your lighting and equipment, giving clear direction, and how you lean on the team you built to help you is important to the success of a job. Arguably, the best way to learn how to build a specific team for a specific food and drink shot or set is through assisting. Learning from other photographers early on in your career, both logistically and creatively, is an incredible way to build your own style and learn how you can utilize the tools needed to be successful. Lastly, I think reaching out to other photographers (when equipped with compassion and love for this industry) with specific questions and friendly advice about teams, contracts and industry standards is the way we keep this industry and community a better place for all of us.

Chelsea Kyle is a New York-based Professional Food and Drink Photographer, represented by Hello Artists, and a former full-time Staff Photographer at Conde Nast working for Epicurious and Bon Appetit. She has been working in the field for 10 years and is a passionate advocate for photography business education. website: instagram: @chelsealouisekyle

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