This month I'd like to introduce you to a talented food photographer, food stylist & visual storyteller Elisa De Cecchi.
Can you introduce yourself? How and when did you start your food photography journey?
Sure! Hi everyone, my name is Elisa, I am a food photographer, food stylist & visual storyteller as well as and architect. I was born and bred in northern Italy's countryside where my parents own a dairy farm. Thanks to my family heritage I am extremely passionate about homegrown, simple food and love how it brings people together. Earlier this year I moved to Sydney, Australia, with my husband and our two little girls.
I started taking photos of my bakes just for fun around 8 years ago, here in Australia, but as you might guess I had no understanding of how composition, colour theory and light worked - if you are brave enough go check out my first Instagram images! About 3 years ago though, whilst in Italy and in full lockdown, I started to properly experiment with photography and I never looked back.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you adore any specific photographers?
My biggest inspiration is Nature - in Italy, it was being surrounded by lush woods and having access to my family’s heirlooms and the most beautiful organic produce whilst breathing in the history and culture. In Australia are the colours around me, the light, the ocean.
I do have a lot of photographers I adore! Just to name a few - Linda Lomelino, Bea Lubas, and Lean Timms were the first ones I followed. More recently Laura Edwards, Costas Millas, Alicja Sieronski… the list is long!
What do you think should be in a good portfolio?
I think you should include a good variety of savoury, sweet, drinks, action shots, close ups, different angles and flat lays, and moody and bright images to best showcase your skills. However, your portfolio should look cohesive and really highlight YOUR voice and your strengths! Remember, you want to attract your dream clients!
How do you prepare a food-styling set?
I start with the main hero and work around that. I ask myself - What is the story I want to tell? What colours would complement it the best? What props would work? I always try to build a scene that feels natural, effortless hence more approachable. I love to find beauty in the ordinary.
Do you work with natural or artificial light?
I work with natural light only - the way it changes throughout the day and with seasons is truly fascinating but at times frustrating too! To be completely honest I wouldn’t even know where to start with artificial light, wouldn’t be a bad idea to learn that skill one day!
What is a must have in food photography?
A tripod and remote control! Whilst I don’t own expensive gear, I shoot with an old Sony camera and my props collection is very limited I believe having a good tripod - hello action shots! - and using a remote control - I use my phone - really allowed me to step up my game.
What’s your favourite subject to shoot and why?
Cakes and bakes - I find them so much easier to style than, let’s say, a curry or a salad. But I have recently started sharing savoury dishes and I am truly enjoying the process.
Can you tell us what’s your favourite colour theory and composition? And do you have colours you don’t feel comfortable with?
My favourite compositional rule might be negative space - I love how powerful a breathing space is in photography. In regards to the colour theory I play with complementary colours a lot but I am somehow mostly drawn towards monochromatic colour schemes. I generally struggle with bright bold colours but I am slowly starting to appreciate and play around with them.
Do you have some photography tips and hints?
Study the light - experiment, play, have fun, manipulate it, compensate for it, move things around. Light makes photography! Also, try different angles and different colour combinations of the same setup. Shoot a flat lay then grab your camera and walk around the scene. You will end up with an array of different images with little effort.
Thank you, Elisa it was a pleasure to meet you closer and the way you work with food.
If you have any questions or struggle with any subject, send me a DM on my Instagram or email me. I will do my best to answer and help.