How to Become a Professional Food Photographer, Even If You Have No Previous Experience

Read through our roadmap and LEARN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BECOMING A FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER FOR FOOD BLOGGERS

The last time you needed to find a recipe for dinner, or some special occasion, did you pull out an old recipe book, or did you use your favorite search engine to find one? Most people nowadays, go to their phones and the internet.

That recipe you decided on, did you go to a food blog that had really yummy photos that made you go, “OH, I want to make that one!” Did you happen to notice how many recipes they have on their blog? Did you also happen to notice how each recipe has lots of detailed photos and detailed instructions on how to make it? How many people do you think it takes to run that blog and put all that content up there? Something that you, and millions of people, like to use on a daily basis?

Well, when most people think of a food blog, and what it takes to create and manage something like that, they think of a single person, taking all the pictures themselves, from their own kitchen, and then posting them up on their blog. Now don't get me wrong, there are some blogs out there like that.

But in reality, it takes a TEAM of people to run those big food blog sites that you and everyone else likes to visit. Millions of people go to these blogs every single day. They have become big business. And, if you spent any time looking through those search results, you’ll notice there are hundreds of these blogs out there. Each competing for your traffic.

Why Bloggers Hire

BLOGGING IS NOT A SIDE HUSTLE

HOW BLOGGERS EARN MONEY

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Food blogging is no longer a side hobby for people. People don’t start food blogs because they think it’s cute. They don’t work on it full time, making zero profit, giving away free recipes for 2-3 years out of the goodness of their heart. No, they are doing it because they know the sky is the limit and they have a vision for what it can become. It’s a full fledged business with a leader at the helm. So that leaves a lot of people wondering, how in the world do these blogs actually make money?

Now, when you finally found that recipe you wanted and printed it off, did you have to pay for it? Or was it given to you for free?

It was free right?

So, how do they hire people if they are giving all of their recipes away for free?

Large blogs, that get a million plus visits per month, are very profitable. Bloggers can make money in a number of ways. But the primary way is through the use of ads. Ads pay bloggers based on the numbers of views they get. The more views a blogger gets to their website, the more they earn from their ads. So this means, they need their blog, to stand out against all the other blogs, and be the one that YOU choose to use. Because after all, more traffic, means more money.

To keep their traffic high, bloggers have to continue to push out new content to keep readers engaged and returning to their website. And, as blogs grow, the demand for content grows. This is why most blogs are really a team of people, working together, to bring you all that glorious yummy content.

So why not just become a food blogger yourself? Well, you can and some of our grads have embarked on that journey themselves. But it’s a LOT of work with little to no reward for a few years. And you can't take time off. It takes very high dedication and commitment. Most people don't want to work for several years, before they start to see a return on their investment and time. But, you can work FOR food bloggers who have already made that investment. This allows you to start making money MUCH sooner. In fact, we have food bloggers themselves join Pretty Focused in order to work for OTHER bloggers while they are growing their own blogs. And they are taking what they learned in Pretty Focused to help them do that.

So to sum it up really simply, bloggers hire photographers because it helps them grow their business beyond what they can do on their own. Without that partnership, a blogger could never see their business grow.

What is the Demand?

A common myth is “Surely the market is oversaturated because it seems everyone has a camera and can become a photographer.”

But honestly, this is not true. Nice tools do NOT equal the talent or skill necessary to use those tools and make a great product. A saw doesn't make you a carpenter. An oven doesn't make you a master chef.

To get that “yummy” factor, that competes well on things like Pinterest and Google and to get the blogger high traffic, takes knowledge and skill that not many people have.

For food bloggers, recipes are the bread and butter of their business, no pun intended. If the photo doesn't make you stop and look, you wont click to visit the website.

The training inside of Pretty Focused, won’t just teach you how to use a camera. But teaches you the specific photography strategies and techniques that food bloggers need to drive traffic.

HOW MANY FOOD BLOGGERS ARE HIRING?

SUPPLY AND DEMANd

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We have found that there is a 10 to 1 ratio of bloggers to photographers. Usually what happens, is that bloggers work with multiple photographers, and photographers work with multiple photographers. The working relationship, isn't 1:1. In fact, on average, photographers can work with anywhere from 1-9 bloggers at a time.

According to our 2022 Grad Survey, 62% of our graduates reported they were able to connect with a blogger with HOURS after graduation. AND 81% of our grads reported they were working with not 1, but MULTIPLE bloggers.

The food blogging industry has been growing and expanding for over 10 years. Marketing companies have gotten smart. They see much better results through direct marketing. This means, those large name brands, those ones that you see in the grocery store, are spending more and more and their advertising money on online websites. Directly marketing to the people looking to buy, rather than random commercials on TV or somewhere else, is just more effective. And this trend is increasing everywhere!

When we look at the market and saturation for food photographers, we do not see a demand problem. The reality is, there is more demand than there is supply! This is why we see food photographing making more money, than ever before. If you can deliver quality work, you are not going to have any problems selling. PERIOD.

If you want to work in an industry that has high demand for highly skilled people, and is paying top dollar for quality work, then this is it! And you can do it from the comfort of your own home, working when, and as much as you want.

What Does the Work Look Like?

Bloggers need help updating old content on their blog and also help creating new content. This is where Food Photographers come in.











RECREATIONS

EXCLUSIVES

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The first thing we’ll talk about is what's called a Recreation. This is when a photographer photographs an existing recipe. Why do Bloggers need this? Well if you remember the prior video, they need to increase the traffic to their site. One way of doing this, is by updating older content. So, they will hire a photographer to take an existing recipe, cook that recipe according to the instructions, photograph it, and then deliver those images so they can update their post. Here is an example of what this looks like.

The photo on the left was taken when photography didn’t matter as much. You can see that they are a little outdated, are poor quality, and lack composition that really helps to sell this recipe. So the blogger hired a photographer to take this recipe and rephotograph it to look like this. As you can see, the new photos went viral on social media. By this post going viral, it took this post from low traffic to one of the highest performing posts on the blog.

The second thing is when bloggers hire for what is called Exclusives. Bloggers need to constantly produce new content. This looks a little different from recreations because there is more involved. This is where the photographer both develops AND photographs a NEW recipe.

There are 2 ways photographers can sell Exclusives.

One, photographers can work 1:1 with bloggers to come up with new recipes to develop. Let's look at Lauren as an example. Lauren’s client gave her a recipe idea and then Lauren works on developing the recipe; exclusively for this blogger.

The other option besides working 1:1 with a blogger, would be someone like Ivy. Ivy does her own market research and chooses what recipes to make. She then develops the recipes and posts them for sale in her shop or in the Buyers Club. Every Friday she releases new recipes. She emails a list of clients that she built from the Buyers Club. What's really cool is that her shop sells out nearly every week within hours!

How to Get Clients

As a Food Blog Photography graduate, you will be connected with people who want to hire you in our exclusive Buyers Club. In this group, only our grads are able to ask potential clients what they are looking for and create the valuable content they want to buy. Access to this group is priceless.

More than 1,000 buyers are inside this exclusive group and is growing daily.












Stats are self-reported by our grads on our 2022 Grad Survey.  These are not guaranteed results.

Buyers Club

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“The...thing that sold me on the course was the buyer’s group. You completely set us up for success with your course because you not only get us to work hard on putting our best work in our portfolio, but you connect us with bloggers who need us to work for them.

Not even 24 hours after posting in that group, I was hired by 2 bloggers to photograph 10 recipes for them. TEN!!! That covered my cost of your course plus extra! I am still in shock! Thank you so much for everything you continually do to help us!!!”

- Melody K, Pretty Focused Graduate

“After I joined the buyer's club I had so much interest from bloggers! Every day or every other day I was getting contacted or reaching out in response to posts. I quickly filled up all the time that I had for photography work. The first blogger contacted me FIVE minutes after that Buyer's Club post went live. And within a week I was full up.

So it's been super exciting to get to jump into paid work. I thought that it would take weeks or months to get clients but it happened so fast! The process of Pretty Focuses works!"

- Megan S, Pretty Focused Graduate

What Our Grads Say...

Average For Semi-EXCLUSIVES

$150 - $400

AVERAGE FOR EXCUSIVES

$250-$450+

Average For RECREATIONS

$150 - $350

How Much Food Photographers Can Make

Food Blog Photography grads can make as little or as much as they need.

In 2022, 68% of Grads reported making $50,000 or more a year. And 24% reported making more than $100,000.

These numbers were self-reported by our Food Blog Photography grads. This is not a guarantee. Results may vary.

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  • DSLR or Mirrorless Crop Sensor or Full Frame Camera
  • Lenses such as 18-55mm, 50mm 1.8 or 100mm macro
  • SD Cards
  • Tripod
  • Lightroom
  • Computer
  • Styling Boards
  • Portable Table
  • Neutral servings dishes


What Equipment is Needed?

Click here to view our entire list of Recommended Gear

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*Testimonials from Pretty Focused Graduates

"The only experience I had shooting food was posting what I was eating on Instagram.   

The tips and tricks Melodee has shared helped me take my photos from beginner to holding their own among elite food photographers!"

- Kim

"I set a goal for myself in October, when I started working for bloggers. I wanted to be able to pay for my kids' Christmas from my earnings. Not only have I achieved that goal, I've made enough to pay for the rest of our Christmas expenses. I'm completely speechless and totally humbled."

- Melody

Hear From Our Grads

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