Nov 17, 2022
Food, glorious food—there’s no better time than the holiday season for a bountiful exploration of food photography—a fan favorite. For this episode of the podcast, we’re delighted to connect with food blogger, educator, and content creator extraordinaire Joanie Simon. Listen in as she discusses the magic behind her aspirational, achievable shooting style. Besides examining the limits to reality when shooting fake food, Simon describes her collaborations with a dedicated crew, offers advice about a photographer’s responsibilities when working remotely, and describes her personal evolution through camera brands and models to arrive at the Nikon Z mirrorless system she shoots with today. Discover all these things and much, much more—including a secret recipe for fake ice cream!
Guests: Joanie Simon
Photograph © Joanie Simon
Guest Bio: Instead of an apron, Joanie Simon wears many hats. She’s a food photographer, published author, educator, and content queen, and her daily life is a bouillabaisse of camera gear and culinary delights. In just a baker’s dozen year—that’s 13 for the inexperienced cooks—Simon has built her brand into a powerhouse of creative content and learning.
In addition to shooting commercial and editorial assignments, Joanie teaches food photography through her online platform, The Bite Shot. Her food photo adventures on YouTube and Instagram can be found at @thebiteshot and on Tik Tok @joaniesimonsays, and you learn tons more from the many tutorials in her 2021 book, Picture Perfect Food.
For more information on our guests and the gear they use, see: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/podcasts/photography/festive-food-photography-with-joanie-simon
Education Website: https://thebiteshot.com
3:56: Joanie Simon’s favorite holiday and seasonal foods to photograph
4:34: Cultivating aspirational, achievable food content
6:11: Images created with high quality gear requires exact timing
6:58: How far can you push reality and tricks to making food look good.
8:38: Editorial shooting - an opportunity to run wild, get creative, and shoot conceptually
9:48: A secret recipe for fake ice cream.
12:18: The hero of the shot vs the crash test dummy
13:12: The ratio between single shot pictures and food items that need a test run
15:18: How many team members are on set during a food shoot?
17:37: The evolution of Joanie Simon’s food photography career
19:16: Discovery of remote work and creating digital content from home
21:26: The need to take responsibility for communications when working remotely
23:10: What’s Joanie’s preference: mouth-watering stills or toe tapping videos and stop motion content?
27:18: Software for stills, video, and animation content: Capture One, Dragonframe, and Premiere Pro
29:44: The benefits to and workflow behind shooting tethered
31:09: Joanie Simon’s art background and her hesitation about studying art in school
33:10: Episode break
33:58: Thoughts on using gear in a controlled environment:
35:38: Joanie’s personal evolution through camera brands: from Nikon to Sony mirrorless to Canon and back to Nikon
40:04: The benefits to working in manual mode, and when to use auto focus
42:14: Joanie’s go-to lighting tool: the Godox AD 600 Pro strobe
43:52: Advantages to flash over working with continuous light LEDs
45:44: Drag your shutter when shooting with flash to control the ambient light
46:33: Joanie’s primary light modelling tool: Westcott 4’x4’ Scrim Jim Cineframe
48:36: Lens preferences: Primes or zooms and Joanie’s go-to lenses: 24 – 70 f/2.8 for flexibility and 105 macro lens for background compression
51:02: Food photography with a phone: wipe off the lenses and it all comes down to the light
52:30: Key elements to a food photograph: Texture, highlights, and getting close up to the food
53:36: Tips for transitioning from a phone to a more formalized camera: Look to the mirrorless world and get a camera in your hands to test
54:50: When photographing people around a holiday table: Stage the magic and direct your subjects.
56:54: Joanie’s free workshop about building a food photography business
57:34: Connect with Joanie at thebiteshot.com for links to TicToc, Instagram, YouTube, and blog