5 thinks you need to check before asking a quote for Food photographer in Dubai

Food photography is a great marketing instrument for your business. All Horeca, restaurants, cafes use this powerful key to promote their business, products and for creating a marketing content. Businesses are so different that usually, photographers need to know what goal client need to achieve. Is it food photography for a menu, or it content media for Instagram, or maybe this photos you want to showcase on billboards?  

1. What type of food is going to be shot?

2. How many food items & how many final images?

3. How would you like your final images to look like?

4. Do you need a food/prop stylist?

5. Who will buy the ingredients & provide the props?

6. When to shoot, where to shoot and who’s going to attend?

7. Do you need retouching?

So many time client asking for day rate or quote for food photography without giving any idea and details about the project. I think main step here is understanding clients goals, to provide the best service. Usually, we asking a basic question, which helps us to calculate in right way. Here 5 things that better to check and think about before asking about food photographer quotation.

 

1. What type of food is going to be shot?

Knowing what type of food is going to be shot is quite important. The reason is that most food photographers charge by day or half day (not hours or shots) and different types of food take different amount of time to shoot. For example, burgers, sandwiches or wraps need to be built up by a food stylist which takes quite a bit of time, but a rice dish is easier to setup and can be shot faster resulting in more shots per day. Knowing what type of food is going to be shot in advance helps the food photographer calculate (based on complexity) the correct amount of shots possible to shoot in a day.

2. How many food items & how many final images?

It is crucial for food photographers to know exactly how many food items are going to be shot before they can calculate the amount of shooting days required. It’s best to be as precise as possible about the amount of dishes, for example: shooting 20 items in total (10 main dishes, 5 starters and 5 drinks) or shooting 33 items (20 main dishes, 5 sandwiches and 8 drinks) etc… providing them with a list  of the food items that need to be shot is optimal.

Another important thing for them to know is how many shots are needed of each food item. Do you need to capture a top shot for facebook and a 45º angle shot for your new menu of each dish? Do images have to be shot on different or on the same background? Do you need one or two group shots from some of the dishes? Is there a need to shoot one horizontal and one versical shot of each dish?

Without the above information food photographers cannot correctly plan the shoot and might end up over or under quoting. With that in mind, it is very important to think about the number of food items and the amount of final shots required before contacting any food photographers for an estimate.

3. How would you like your final images to look like? 

 

There are many ways to photograph food and in the end, choosing a style comes down to personal taste and marketing requirements. A professional food photographer working with a stylist should be able to execute any style and recreate any mood required by the client as long as the requirements are clearly communicated with them.

To make this easier, at Weshootfood, we usually ask our clients to provide us with a visual mood board or reference images (from our website or anywhere else) so we can understand how they want the mood of their final images to be.

The above point helps the photographer to properly plan in advance in terms of lighting, props, and shooting location, and by avoiding experimentation capture more images on the shoot day.

In our experience, there are two types of food photography that is usually required by or clients here in Dubai, we tend to call them propped images and plain background shots.

  • Propped food photography: These are food images that appear to be shot in an environment reflecting a certain mood. Food photographers and stylists use cutlery, ingredients, napkins, etc., as props around the food to create the required environment for shot. Propped images are more complex than plain background since there are more items in one shot to be placed, prepared and lit. Propped food images can have different styles, like modern, minimal, rustic etc.

  • Plain background food photography (cut out): Plain background food images are food shot that only feature the food without any props around it. In these shots the food is usually meant to be cutted out from the original background and placed on a different background by a graphic designer. Still these images can be used with the original background as well in online menus or even print. The background can be any color or material depending on the clients requirements.

4. Do you need a food/prop stylist?

In 99% of cases the answer to this question should be YES! To understand the role of a food stylist it is important to know that the photographer is only in charge of lighting, composition and technical aspects of the shoot, and it is actually the food stylist who is responsible for the way the food looks in the final image. Food stylist usually have a great understanding of cooking plus a good knowledge of presentation for the camera. Great food stylists also have many skills under their sleeves for keeping the food looking good and fresh long enough for it to be shot. So even if you have the best food photographer around, you still need a great food stylist to get those mouth watering food images.

However there are times that lack of budget makes it impossible to have a food stylist on the shoot. In this case someone from the restaurant (usually head chef) takes the responsibilities of the food stylist. It is important to note that Chefs are great at cooking food for the taste buds but food stylists prepare their creations for the camera.

5. Who will buy the ingredients & provide the props?

This is something to think about in advance as it can affect the cost of the shoot. Food photographer and food stylists can buy the ingredients required for the shoot, but they usually charge for the time they have to spend buying them (usually called prep days). It is obviously more cost effective If you can take care of the shopping. Still it is advisable to get the instructions from the food stylist about what to buy before going shopping for ingredients. On the other hand, if you decide to let the food stylist do the shopping, it is important to mention this when you’re asking for a quotation so the prep days will be included in your quotation.

Regarding props, if you wish to use your own dishes and props on the shoot you will need to have them clean and ready on the shoot day (providing they work for the mood you’d like to achieve for your images). However, if you’d like the photographer to provide the props it is wise to mention this when asking for a quote. At Weshootfood we have special packages that include props at no extra cost, but different photographers and stylist treat this differently.

6. When to shoot, where to shoot and who’s going to attend?

It is good to know the answers to the above questions (if possible) before asking for a food photography quotation.

  • Knowing the deadlines: Knowing the approximate day you’d like the shoot to happen and when is your deadline for the final image delivery can help the photographer in terms of scheduling. Some photographers have quick turnarounds for image delivery but some can take up to a week to deliver the images (depending on the complexity of retouching and how busy they are at that specific period of time). Letting the photographer know in advance about your deadlines can prevent disappointments in terms of bookings and image delivery.

  • Shooting Location: For restaurants it is usually both cost efficient and practical to do the shoot on location at the restaurant itself, since this removes the cost of studio hire from the quote. But to be able to do that, it is important to have enough space and time in the restaurant. At Weshootfood we usually ask for 5 square meters minimum for the lights and props placement, however, the space required may differ from photographer to photographer and based on job requirements. So it’s important to check with your food photographer in advance about the space requirements or ask them to do a recce of your location (check the shoot location in advance).

    For shoots that require a studio, It’s good to let the photographer know in advance if you’d like to use their studio or you prefer to take care of the studio yourself so they can put the cost in the estimate. If you decide to hire the studio yourself it is crucial to check with the photographer about studio requirements before making any commitments for studio hire. Finally if your location is outside of Dubai, it is important to let the food photographer know so any traveling charges can be included in the quotation.

  • Shoot Timing: Regarding timing, when shooting on location, it is very important to choose the right time for the shoot. The best time for shooting in a restaurant is when the restaurant is not very busy as stopping the photographer mid shoot for any reason will result in lost time and less amount of shots. When shooting in the studio, it is important to understand the studio timings and double check that with photographer to avoid paying for extra hours to the studio.

  •  Who will attend the shoot? At Weshootfood we require at least one person from the client side to attend the shoot since we need to get confirmation for each shot before moving on to the next. Because of this, we always advise our clients to have the person who has the final say about the images to be present so we don’t waste time by waiting for confirmations. Keeping this in mind, it is always best to let the photographer know in advance how many people will be present on the shoot day, specially if the shoot is happening in a studio, so they can arrange for space, food and beverages accordingly.

7. Do you need retouching?

It’s a good idea to ask a photographer in advance about the approximate retouching costs. In many cases, basic retouching in form of color correction and cleaning up the image is enough to get the job done and here at Weshootfood we offer this within our packages (this may not be the case with all Dubai food photographers). However if your images require photo manipulation, cutting out or major retouching, you should definitely inform the photographer in advance about your requirements and ask for an approximate cost to be included in the quotation to avoid disappointments later.

This image only required color correction and cleaning which is considered basic retouching. Shot for Under500 Dubai.

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Basically that is it. Hopefully the points mentioned above will help you understand what information is required by a food photographer to be able to prepare an accurate quote for a food shoot.

If you have any questions about any of the points mentioned above please leave a comment below or contact us and we’ll be happy to chat. Meanwhile please feel free to check our food photography portfolios and follow us on social media for updates about our work.

Looking forwards to your “informative” inquires 🙂

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