When a Chicago Area Restaurant wants to show off their menu they don’t pull out a cell phone, well the serious ones don’t anyway, they leave that up to the customer. My phone rings and their chef and I have a session in their restaurant. It’s fun, it’s hard and it’s a big tease to a real food lover like me. But I know my job and my personal limitations. Haaaaa. Seriously though. I really enjoy food photography in the Chicago area because of the artistry involved. There are so many talented chefs in Chicago. It’s not all fun and games, however, the chef has worked countless hours in perfecting a dish that temps the very essence of your food core and causes you to begin salivating over that dish. Through a series of colors, smells and decorations the chef is an artist. Then the chef passes the masterpiece to me and I record it using the tools available to me to continue the artistry. It’s about timing, and controlling light. Some dishes only have 3-5 minutes before they begin to loose their “sparkle”, greens may wilt, sauces run, bread hardens or dries out. Colors change and steam looses it’s …..STEAM. Pun intended. So at times its a very fast pace, and some kitchens are small and space is tight. Shooting at the restaurant’s location is always the best. Not all shots have to occur in the kitchen, sometimes I shoot in other places of the restaurant. Especially if the owner or manager wants a collection of plates in a single shoot. Then it becomes like an environmental portrait for food, showing off the venue as much as the food. Chefs are passionate people, so sometimes they need a little space around them to create. One of the hardest moments in photographing food comes early on in the shoot. It is learning the chef and when it’s ok to interact. Some concentrate deeply and do not like to be bothered others could care less, they are cooking and preparing, life couldn’t any better for them. In some of the big kitchens in Chicago the Chef brings in a small staff for the photo shoot to keep the line rolling. In this case the chef is managing and preparing as well as decorating. Food Photography in Chicago is not a small thing. Imagine the 100’s of chefs all pushing to be the best and looking to hook you in with dishes created from passion and years of practice. It can be intense for them and for the photographer. Successful shots are very rewarding. A chef always appreciates when my artistry shows off their artistry. That’s a great conversation.