Same Food Subject > Different Creative Perspective…
Some say that a good artist can make any subject look interesting. This also applies to artists who like to play with their food! Each food creative has the unique ability to highlight and hide certain aspects of food.
On Phoode’s Instagram segment: “Creative Food Subject of the Day,” we try to showcase how the same food subject can be perceived and approached by different creative individuals, and how big of a difference it can make in the audience’s interpretation of the food.
Each Food Creative Sees the Same Food Subject Differently
Did the food artist emphasize the healthiness, beauty, or juiciness of the cabbage? Did the food artist focus on the texture, color, or shape of the food subject? Was this food item interesting only because it was replicated and multiplied by 10? Our “Creative Food Subject of the Day” segment presents a collecti. All images are curated by us and include both contemporary and historically interesting work from food creatives whose work we personally find inspiring. You can view images that run the whole gamut of individual creative perspectives, creative techniques, styles, and aesthetics, from many creative sub-genres.
The subject can be a simple food ingredient or a plate of food, food product, or a larger food scene. It could be featured as an oil painting, photograph, collage, hand illustration, video, or animation. Each of these images was crafted for a specific purpose and transmit a different message to the viewer. Also, each of these creative techniques makes a tremendous difference in the way the same food object can be perceived by the audience/customer.
The purpose of the segment is to point out the influencing factors behind the choices of these creative individuals. We also want to highlight how viewers, readers, and other creatives can benefit from analyzing these kinds of differences in creative perspectives. In continuation, we offer a bit of insight and try to answer these questions.
An Introduction to Our Creative Food Subject of the Day Segment on Instagram
By looking at our “Food Subject” Instagram segment you can see the wide range of creative styles from the past, as well as those in demand right now. Some are historically significant and lots of them represent the wide range of potential creative food photography projects. We aren’t compiling a bunch of grapefruit photos so you can learn how to photograph grapefruit, but to get you inspired by this fruit and learn how to approach it creatively by considering which way is the most visually natural for you.
For example, the choice of each image in the burger food subject segment (below) wasn’t accidental. While curating images such as these, we take into consideration not only the difference in their looks, but more importantly, how the images are used for different purposes and the mediums they were produced for. Some of them represent the world of food advertising (a MacDonald’s app), while others would be perfect for telling a story in the editorial realm of food magazines (burgers on the grill), or used for a variety of publications and projects.
Some of them belong to the fine art category and are meant to be hung in an art gallery. Some tend to represent an extremely rare craftsmanship, showing the author’s unusual creative thinking. Visit Phoode’s Instagram to see the work and follow the accounts of these amazing food creatives.
Matching Creative Perspective and Technique with the Purpose/End Use of the Final Food Image
Let’s say you run a restaurant or food company and want to hire a professional photographer or designer. It’s important to think about the nature, philosophy or mission of your food brand or food business, so that you can pick an artist who will reflect these ideals through their interpretation of each creative food subject. If you run a high-end sushi restaurant that focuses on authentic culinary experience of Japan. You perhaps should let the freshness and the texture of the fish speak for itself, a minimalistic approach in photography is the way to go and you should look for a photographer who approaches food from the fine art end. On the other hand, if you’re a trendy, rule-breaking hot sauce company that concocts crazy mixtures and markets them as something new, you may want a colorful and loud composition to adorn your packaging and a skilled advertising food photographer to carry out the job.
Conversely, food creatives must be able to convince their clients that they are capable of creating imagery that aligns with their visual needs. Usually the photos from their portfolio will do most of this convincing. If you present 20 distinct styles in a 20-photo portfolio, the result would be chaotic, although perhaps professional, and ultimately unconvincing. The best idea is to understand your strengths and present the top few styles/techniques that you have mastered with numerous examples of each. Of course, each assignment may call for a slightly different portfolio customization.
The Variety of Visual Strategies for Food Photography
Most of the images present in our Instagram creative food subject segment are actual food images derived from different sub-genres of food photography. By comparing them side by side you can instantly see the difference in visual strategies employed within each style of food photography.
Each sub-genre of the food photography world comes with its own set of techniques and trends. Flashy post-production tricks are quite common in advertising food photography. McDonald’s released a new mobile app and featured cheese oozing out of a mobile phone to show how it turns your food desires into an instant reality. The reason to use this tactic, is to impress and grab your attention. And, it works really well, as it tells the essence of McDonald’s business. The concept stands out, and relates to its end use (a mobile app that will help you order a burger). Like McDonald’s or not, but this creative concept and the execution of the image is brilliant, engaging, and does the job of making you feel hungry (if you are a burger fan).
Also popular, and somewhat of a visual opposite to the previous technique, are downplayed rustic aesthetics. Many restaurants and food companies want to appear like a mom-and-pop shop, distinguishing themselves from “unhealthy mainstream brands” and go for a homey look. It’s not always the case that these companies are small brands, nor healthy, nor that they make a homemade product. Instead, they hire photographers who are masters of creating this illusion, the rustic look is one strategy. No matter what the food subject is on our Instagram, our goal is to show how each style of food photography can have its professional application. For food creatives, the trick is to be able to establish what’s the right venue for your style and your natural creative instincts when it comes to food.
As a visual food artist, you may have a burger in front of you, but really you have a nearly infinite amount of choices to intentionally mold how others will perceive it. You can focus on its shape or macro focus on its texture and juiciness. You can put it in a lifestyle context by placing it on a table with other food items and staging a BBQ feast, or you can deconstruct the food dish and make each of its components fly through the air. If you look at the range of innovative ideas artists come up with from one creative food subject, you will become more familiar with the tactics professional photographers use on each project.
Visual Differences between Fine Art and Commercial
By analyzing a whole different set of parameters than advertising food photographers, the fine art food photographer has come up with their own techniques for successful images. This is because they are presenting to a completely different audience, usually with (at least a bit) less economic incentive. Let’s say your subject is cured meats. A fine artist often looks beyond common forms. Predictable shapes are not as visually surprising and in general less artistic. So, fine art food photographers/stylists might try to circumvent the normal form of a food subject, making it modular and constructing a new shape with its parts.
Another common technique is to incorporate other art mediums into the medium of photography. For example, taking photos of a food subject, making a collage with those photos, and photographing the whole artwork again, perhaps even with the real food subject intermingled (hyper-reality). Each medium, including photography, has a limited aesthetic, so by crafting with two, there is a greater likelihood that something never-before-seen will blossom. These fine arts approaches sometimes perfectly translate into stunning editorial food photography that can be easily published in a prestigious lifestyle and fashion magazines.
We look for fine artists who work with food and only include the ones we feel interestingly approach the food subject. The images in our “Creative Food Subject of the Day” also contain links to each food creative’s own Instagram, or their website. This way you have a chance to explore further and find a great new source of inspiration.
Creative Food Packaging and Food Design Techniques
Food packaging labels, food brand logos, graphic food patterns, and promotional materials are all amazingly important end uses of creative food content. To serve as an inventive background for text, a food photographer may use an additional monochrome food item or prop. This is a particular concern for food photographers who deal with packaging and design, and not a common consideration for fine art photographers.
On the other hand, the repetition of a food item is a common technique in a nearly every kind of food art. As the shape, color, and arrangement of the creative food subject change, so does the resulting pattern. These designs are often applied to garments, packaging, and backgrounds for promotional materials, although are certainly not limited to that. Each dish, food, or ingredient has a hidden potential to turn into a stunning repetitive pattern if seen by an imaginative set of eyes.
Our Meticulously Curated Creative Food Subject Gallery on Instagram
As a food creative you absolutely must understand the variety of approaches and the demands for different styles of creative content within the food focused creative industry. We try to offer an accurate and visually inspiring depiction not only on Phoode’s blog, but our Instagram site as well. There are many ways to learn about creative needs within the food industry. One can take a look at the award-winning photography of food photography contests, or study the websites of the hottest new restaurants in their hometown. These are both valid avenues of information that could very well direct you towards success. The idea behind the “Creative Food Subject of the Day” though, is to shed light on the creative process itself, the spark of genius that leads to captivating visuals. There is far from just one way of looking at a food subject, and the better the photographer, the more ways they can envision an object immortalized by the camera.
Make sure to look up Instagram profiles and more work from all the amazing artists we feature!
What food subject would you like us to explore? Comment below. Also, you can show us your own various personal interpretations of one specific food item. Just sign up as a creative and join the Phoode community!