Food and Restaurant Photography

Food photography is another niche that I have vast experience in. Having photographed food for magazines for many years, I have developed a system to insure that I don’t take any longer than in necessary and still get quality results that my clients demand. I have photographed food many different ways and it seems as if the same kind of photograph still gets used. People like to see the close up detail of what they are eating. As they say, we eat with our eyes first. The colors need to be vibrant and the textures have to show through in the final photo.

Usually, I try and work with restaurants around times that they are not doing a service or when they are at lower volume. This takes the stress off both the restaurant and myself as we can take a little more time and make sure that everything is “photo perfect”. I have had the pleasure of working with all kinds of folks. I have worked with chefs that are fresh out of culinary school and some that have many years of experience. On one recent shoot that I did for a restaurant, the head chef was located in New York City at the time and Emeril Lagasse came strolling in looking for a good cheeseburger. I asked how he liked it and the chef replied, “Well, he must have liked it, the plate was clean”. Another chef that I worked with worked under Gordon Ramsey. He told me that he’s not anything like you see on TV as drama sells. It’s interesting to hear and see how these chefs got to where they are today.

When a restaurant calls and wants their food photographed, I like to get there early. Not to set up for the food, but for the structure. Technically this may fall under the Real Estate Photography category, but I always like to get a few interiors in case the editor of a magazine or the owner of the establishment may want to use them for marketing materials. This is one reason why I like to go in at lower volume times as I can get a clean shot of the space. I do photograph a restaurant interior as I would a home.

As far as the actual food photography goes, I have done it a couple of ways. Sometimes a food critic accompanies me as they are going to do the tasting. In this case, we find tables that are side by side and once I’m set up, I shoot and give the dish to the reviewer. I know some folks might be thinking that food photography is supposed to take all day. Well, they are correct. This also usually means having a chef, and food stylist at your disposal. In these economic times, most places don’t have that kind of time or budget. Thus, being efficient saves the restaurant owner time and money.  Also, many of the chefs that I have worked with in the past, have great plating skills. Once in awhile, I might just tighten things up on a plate. Here is another tip that makes me different than some other photographers. I actually photograph the REAL FOOD. This doesn’t mean Crisco ice cream and steaks that have been ladled with motor oil. Here’s why I like to work this way. It’s not uncommon that when I’m not working that I’ll go back for lunch or dinner. The owner and/or chef will approach me and tell me that their sales are up 30%, but more importantly, people come in and bring in either the magazine article or marketing piece with them and they don’t know what the name of the dish is, but they want “that dish”. This allows the chef to recreate what they did for the shoot without a sweat.

I hope that you enjoy the following photos. If I can be of assistance to your establishment, please use the Contact Me page. I will get right back with you. I will deliver photos that are high resolution as well as low or web resolution that you can use on your website. I appreciate your time. Thanks…

Spencer Pullen


Please click on the photo to see the full size.

 BBQ Chicken

Chocolate Cake

Pan Seared Scallops

Wild Alaskan Salmon

Crab Cake

Strawberry Chocolate Mousse