We love our local photographers. Their accomplishments never cease to impress us. They are proof that Columbus is a great city for photographers. Hometown Heroes highlights a Columbus photographer that we think is doing amazing work.
Catherine Murray is a food, product, and portrait photographer, and the owner of Photo Kitchen. Her work has appeared in edible Columbus, among other publications, and promotional materials for local restaurants and businesses like Bleu & Fig. She blogs at Freshly Baked. Check out the gear she uses here.
How did you get into food photography? In other words, which came first: photography or food?
Photography definitely came first. I always knew I wanted to be a photographer, but I spent a number of years at a job I loved, working at a great local restaurant. When I went back to school, food became the perfect photography niche.
You’ve photographed promo materials for catering companies, spreads for magazines, not to mention portraits and other non-food photography assignments. Is it difficult for you to transition from one type of assignment to another?
Not at all! I love the variety in subjects, locations, props, and the people I work with. While photographing people, I might come up with the perfect idea for shooting food. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Having a variety of clients guarantees I’m never bored!
What does the prep for a “general” food photo shoot normally look like? Do set up the food and the plating yourself, or do you hire someone to do that?
That all depends on the level of quality the client is looking for. I call it the Good, Better, Best. I can absolutely create a Good photo all on my own, but if the client is looking for the Best, where everything is just so, then I hire the experts to help me achieve it. Spend an hour with a food stylist and you’ll totally understand why that job exists.
Your style is very consistent, colorful, and bright. What is your philosophy when it comes to photographing food? What are you trying to convey?
My number one goal is to make you hungry. I want you to be tempted to eat the page–hence my tagline, “Photos Good Enough To Eat”. If I accomplish that, my job is done.
Many photographers try to start their own photography business, but not everyone is successful. What makes Photo Kitchen successful? What advice would you give to photographers looking to start their own business?
I’d imagine what makes me successful is persistence, patience and simply knowing there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.
My advice to future photographers? NEVER UNDERSELL. It’s so easy to get caught up in the artist’s dilemma (wondering if you’re good enough, wanting to create without worrying about getting paid…) that charging for your work becomes an afterthought. Make sure, even if you’re doing photography on the side, that you charge for your time and expenses. Otherwise you’ll get burnt out, lose your self esteem and go broke.
I love the Bite-Sized Photo Shoots that you do. How did you get the idea?
I’ve been planning these for YEARS! Doing outdoor sessions was too unpredictable, so the moment I secured a studio space, the Bite-Sized sessions began. It’s the best way to give new clients a taste of working with me while giving established clients an excuse to come see me throughout the year. It’s a small time and money investment, just like grabbing a candy bar at the checkout lane. Having a different theme each month is the best part.
I’m assuming you also like to cook. Care to share a favorite recipe?
Oh, but which one!?! I going to have to go with Homemade Orange Rolls. I could eat the whole batch myself. I mean, I have….
What’s your favorite thing about being a Columbus photographer?
My favorite thing is knowing this town LOVES FOOD. I feel right at home with my food obsession. I’m in good company. 🙂