So, things got a little crazy with the fancy restaurant style salad shot I did last month, and I'm unfortunately never going to be able to respond to the 2,209 [and counting] messages. I just wanted to express my thanks for your support and interest in my work! It really makes me smile, reading each "this makes me hungry!" message that you guys have written.
I have also gotten quite a few requests for advice on everything from lighting to what gear to where do I shoot and do I have any tutorials. I want to urge you to not get caught up in gear, firstly. If you aren't working professionally, why do you need a professional grade camera and $10k worth of lighting? I am working professionally, and I have a consumer grade DSLR and I use the sun for the vast majority of my shots. I shoot in my home, in my kitchen, most of the time. I don't have a studio, and don't need or want one. I prefer to think of my kitchen as my "home studio," and I even get to work while wearing my jammies. It's the best.... for *me.*
That said, what you may need and want and shoot may be completely different, and I can't give you advice about that - I'm simply not qualified. My setup above would definitely not work for a fashion photographer, for example. Ultimately I can only tell you what I already have, which may not be very helpful, I'm afraid. The best advice I can tell you is to go out and find photos that you want to make, and then practice making them. That doesn't mean rip someone off and pass off their creativity as your own, by the way. Figure out what your own personal style is, and make photos in that style. If you specifically want to learn more about lighting and commercial photography, I hang out here with the most fantastic group of working professionals I would ever want to meet: [link] - all experience levels are welcome. We don't give one single damn about what camera you use.
Lastly, to the very few of you who think it's cool or helpful to be the voice of opposition when commenting on others work, there is a great phrase that my mentor taught me early on last year: "Judging by your own body of work, you don't appear to have the capabilities of having a valid opinion on my own work our how I should do it." I don't make photos for you, I make them for myself and for my paying clients. If you don't understand my style, that's perfectly okay; there are things I don't understand about other people's styles too. But please think twice before instructing someone on how *you* "would have" done such and such differently because it just makes *you* look bad unless you absolutely a] know what you are talking about, and b] have a body of work to back it up - even then, you have to take someone's personal style into consideration. Everyone does have their own opinion, but that does not mean that it is a valid one, and I am extremely selective about where I get my advice from, solicited or otherwise. I know that my work is not perfect; as a perfectionist, I am often painfully aware of the mistakes I see that many others are not trained to see, and someone that doesn't understand my style may see "mistakes" where there is not one. Someone that has a handful of mediocre outdoor photographs in their gallery and nothing indoors or food related, instructing me on what I "should have" done in my food photography and zero understanding of my style and intentions is not a good or welcome situation - you are wasting your time and mine. If you find yourself unsure as to why I have done x, y, or z, you're more than welcome to ask; it's much nicer for both of us that way and we can actually have a conversation if that's what you're interested in.
I do have a low Bullshit Tolerance, but even so, I hope the above paragraph is more informative than bitchy. That's just the reality of the situation for me and many others out there.