Food Photography Art Direction via email

Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen an increase in Art Direction via email. Part of me thinks that this is a curse and part of me thinks that this may be the answer to a dream, a curse and a blessing.

Especially in the world of food photography, waiting for an 'ok' from some Art Director in some meeting a hundred miles away, is not an option. Things move, things change, things start to curl, dry out, and basically, start to go to hell. Like it or not, Art Direction by email is here to stay. If it’s not the actual Art Director that isn’t at the shoot, it’s the client that has to see the image before we move on. I can’t begin to add up how much time I’ve wasted sitting around waiting for some distant big wig to give their approval of some food shot.

Part of me hates it and part of me loves it. The reason that I like this whole idea, is that it opens doors that may never have been opened before. Tell me, if the Art Director isn’t at the shoot anyway, why does she have to be a client that is only five miles away? Why not a client 1500 miles away? Why does she have to even be in the same hemisphere? See what I mean? Now, we can open up our client base to the entire freaking world. If the client is only an email away, the world is our market. (at least the part of the world that is at work at the same time as you are) We’re no longer geographically bound by how far the client is willing to travel. We’re not quite there yet, but I think that it’s coming. As clients become more and more comfortable with the idea, the more we can count on finding new clients from distant areas. Why can’t I work for food magazines in New York, when I live in Pittsburgh? But don’t forget the flip side of that. Maybe that client that you count on right now, will find someone else (me, I hope) to do their food photography.

Another great thing about having the Art Director, or 'OK' person, not at the actual shoot, the photographer will have greater flexibility in displaying his or her creative vision. Too often an overbearing Art Director stifles the photographer’s vision, right at the very beginning of the shoot. If there is no Art Director and the shot actually gets going before the first set of approvals, the Photographer has a better chance of getting his initial vision made into reality. Then again, the down side is that all the time before the first approval, will be wasted.

So let this be a warning to you. Things, like always, are changing. You can change with them or fight the change. Maybe it’s time to geographically expand your marketing efforts, or maybe it’s time to hunt down those few clients that don’t want to change either. The choice is yours.

Like I said, is it a blessing or a curse, problem or opportunity? You can be the judge?

P o r t f o l i o: These images are from Michael's portfolio. Click on any one of them to take you to see his on-line food photographer's portfolio.