Food photography can be expensive. Behind that $10 burger photographed in a menu could be a photoshoot costing $5,000…or more! Ask any professional food photographer, and you’ll hear that the costs of food photography can add up quickly.

When you’re paying for a food photoshoot, you’re not just paying for the food, but also the photographers and all of the props. And those are the basics. I’ve done many photoshoots over the years that include food stylists, TV crews, and models, all of which add more wages to be paid. When you have all those people on set, you’re paying them for their work, paying for their food during the day, and could be paying to hire locations too. These shoots might start around $5,000, but they can add up to $20,000 or even $40,000 quickly.

When it comes to a large-scale shoot like that, you don’t want to blow your money.

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If you’re hiring a professional food photographer for a shoot, you need to know you’ll get the shoot right the first time. So what should you look for when hiring your photographer? In my experience, three things are most important when hiring for a large-scale shoot.

1. Experience

The most important factor in getting the right images from your photoshoot is hiring an experienced photographer. You will want to find a photographer who has done large-scale shoots before. The photographer will be the one running the shoot, so they need to be able to be in control and perform on demand. Problems and unexpected changes will always come up, and a photographer who has handled bigger shoots will know how to fix them.

2. Backups

Sometimes, if a problem occurs at the photoshoot, it will be a problem with equipment. There is so much equipment needed for a photoshoot that it’s always possible that something will fail, and you never know when that thing will fail. On the day of the shoot, a great photographer will have backup cameras, backup memory cards, backup lighting equipment – everything. I sometimes even work with a second photographer as a backup. If something happens to me or I miss a shot, I can be confident that the other photographer with me will be able to get what we need.

3. Portfolio Images

The images in a photographer’s portfolio let you know about what kinds of images they will produce. Before hiring someone, make sure their portfolio showcases the types of images that you want to capture. Photographers tend to have a particular style that’s just theirs. They will produce images similar to what they have done in the past. Make sure those are what you want for your shoot. Taking the time to go through someone’s past images will provide you with the confidence that your photographer will get the images you need the first time.

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Specialising in photography of food, products, and images of business, I know how important it is to find a photographer who can fit your needs. As you consider potential photographers, keep these three tips in mind, and you may have your best photoshoot yet!