Food Photo Production: HOW DOES IT ALL WORK?

m bpw chickenwrap coleslaw cokezerm bpw chickenwrap coleslaw snmallNandos


At Style Department, we enjoy producing food and still life shoots.

A food photo production consists of three main stages:

Pre-Production: Gathering a professional team requires the right photographer, a fabulous food stylist/ home economist and, if necessary, models. Hand models are sometimes needed if the brief requests them. Another aspect of pre-production is selecting appropriate studios or locations and sourcing prop and set stylists.

Production: Transportation, on-site catering and accommodation all need to be considered before the shoot begins. We also oversee the shoot on the day and ensure everything runs without a hitch. It’s very important that the results answer the brief as supplied by the client or the agency.

Post-Production: The photographer should deliver the files on time; this should include editing and basic retouching. Reconciliation of all financial accounts should also be done at this time to ensure that everything is in order and the final bill matches the budget given by the client.



PRE-PRODUCTION   Production team

Food shoots are usually made up of small groups of between 8-6 people including the client. Others on the team can include a production manager, production assistant, photographic assistant, driver, location manager, etc. If it is an elaborate shoot, more people may be needed to complete the team.

Production Managers

The production manager sources the location or set, all required equipment, accommodation, if necessary, and catering. They also hire the crew and sort out employment contracts. The production manager is the first port of call for any problems that may occur during the shoot and ensures that the photographer can do his or her job without interruption. Ultimately, it is the production managers responsibility to ensure the production stays on time and within budget. They are also responsible for timely distribution of pay to the crew once the shoot has finished.

Production Assistants
They help to run the production smoothly, working under the direction of the production manager. Their duties may include, preparing the set, checking equipment, setting up the lighting and accessories, as well as recording the lighting set ups,
transportation of film or prints to the lab, digital catalogues, filing, scanning films and keeping records of the film stock and exposures.




Sometimes we are required to put a cast together, pending the brief, we get in touch with modelling agencies according to the brief given by the client. We select the finalists and present them to the client who then chooses which models to be used for the shoot.




In photo production, photo shoots may take place outside the safe environment of a studio. On-site locations can include private homes or flats, as well as public and private spaces. However, the crew should always feel welcome during a shoot, and it is the responsibility of the Production Manager to ensure that everyone is comfortable working on location and engaged in the shoot.



A big part of the production is transportation (if the shoot is taking place in a remote location), catering and ensuring that everyone has proper accommodation if required.




Photo editing is done in post-production by specialists who are hired to remove any blemishes or to add special effects to the photos when needed.

Our job is to connect with artists/photographers (or their agents) to hammer out the budget and contracts/usages required to create a beautiful result.

For photography, we’ll see a shoot through execution by pulling together all the various elements (photographer, studio, hair, makeup, wardrobe, props stylists, sets, talent, etc.) with input from creative directors, the photographer, stylists and the client.




The best part of our job is all the interesting and creative people we get to meet and work with. We love unchaining ourselves from our desks and overseeing photo shoots; it certainly does give the working day some variety! We deal with a multitude of clients, so although it can be challenging to get the project done just right, we enjoy the whole process immensely.
Of course, seeing all our hard work online, in printed magazines or on billboards is our favourite part. It can sometimes be challenging to please everyone, especially when working on a tight budget or timeline, but we do our best!




Accounting, maths and business skills are all vital for this job, but we think one of the most important skills to have is the ability to build a rapport with people coming from many different creative backgrounds. Having a good understanding of how to put together a team is the key to a good production as well as having a systematic approach to getting a job done is also essential.
Be prepared for whatever emergency might be thrown your way because, as they say, when it rains it pours!

And don’t forget a good sense of humour always helps along the way!