Think of the menus or posters you’ve seen with the too-good-to-be-true picture of some mouthwatering dish. Or the cookbook picture that makes a recipe seem worth all the work. Or the cover photo of your favorite food magazine. Chances are that a food photographer has helped made the food look that good.
The food photographer works with the food stylist to enhance the look of food and arrange it in such a way that it will hold up and still look as fresh and appealing as when it was first plated. Food photography is not always done in a studio. Food magazines, restaurant menus or advertising agencies may choose a setting on location -- either in a restaurant or a home -- and the food photographer must select appropriate lighting and equipment.
Food photographers face special challenges in applying the basic photography skills to perishable food, and it's necessary to develop your own techniques and tricks. How do you capture steam without steaming up your lens? Which is the best angle to promote the subject when the subject is... potatoes? How can an otherwise goopy piece of pie hold its shape?
Though there are no specialized degrees in food photography, the essential skills that you'll hone in an associate or bachelor's degree program will provide a solid foundation. Add in some additional courses focused on cooking and learn a few tips from food stylists, and you'll be set for a steady career in food photography.