From plate to social media – the modern face of food photography

From plate to social media – the modern face of food photography

I have quite a unique background for a commercial food photographer, as I came into photography from the other side, the retail side. With almost 20 years’ experience in buying, product and brand development from mail-order, to the high street to supermarkets all of which gives me an amazing perspective on where images end up and how getting them right will dramatically lift sales.

I approach my photography assignments the way I would have developed a product range, assessing the tone of the brand, the market it sits in, to get inside their customers head before producing the images that will sell their products. Being a massive foodie, loving to cook and collecting props, food photography became a natural fit.

Social media has been a big game changer for brands as their imagery is more important them ever, images that sell a lifestyle, sense, feelings, moods and has to sell a story with just a split second view as you scroll through your smartphone every day. No more important is this than food photography as it needs to jump off your screen or pages and scream “eat me now”.

Food photography styles have changed a lot over the last few years with the likes of Instagram being on the forefront of this. It has made food photography more edible, real and less contrived, clean and processed because you are no longer just a selling a plate of food you are selling the story behind it. The atmosphere of the restaurant it comes from, the chef who lovingly cooks it or the field it’s nourished and grown in, you are selling the lifestyle the story of that food as much as you are selling the food. Just as wonky veg comes back on the shelves as customers are more educated and aware, food photography is becoming more honest as it becomes more accessible.

The way people are posting on social media are also affecting the trends of food not only is it changing rapidly as people post several times a day. People have become healthier as they are far more accountable for what they post and in turn what they are eating. With the bloggers and social media stars being the new era of chefs with recipe books, just shows how important social media and food images are becoming.

As food trends are pushing for more locally sourced ingredients, sustainable fish, Nordic cuisines, negative on GMO, healthy street food, using buzz words like clean eating, raw and Gluten free. Food photography is becoming more about keeping it simple, allowing the colourful ingredients to shout out. It’s about home-made artisan food, rustic textures props, spontaneous and honest food with natural and ambient light. It’s about movement, whether that is in the shot of a blurred hand mixing a bowl, or with GIFs or video and it’s about showing real food images that make you drool at the very sight of them.

Lara Jane Thorpe(
Lara Jane is an established as a successful commercial photographer. Her work has an up to the minute creative style, with a commercial understanding that benefits any business or brand offering not only photography but creative direction and design capabilities.