tcphoto1 wrote in post #18382977
I think that it's best to walk before you run.
This advice is spot on imo, and while it appears that the OP has disappeared I'll add a little in case it's of any value to anyone else.
I had the benefit when I started out of sharing a studio with one of the original food photographers in the US. His career started in the 50's with the rise of packaged foods. I spent 3 years assisting him as well as shooting on my own when the studio was available. Despite the fact that the photography end couldn't be more different today, the insight into the world of food photography that I gained by observing him work was invaluable. Everything from pre-planing through the production itself....and simple things like how to work with clients and manage expectations,etc...things that I still to this day use.
A few additional thoughts... I'm sure that there are lots of restaurants that hire photographers to shoot their food, in fact, I field lots of inquiries from them; single locations/stores with little, to no budgets. Personally, I've always been interested in and have pursued the higher budget projects- having done both, the bigger the budget the more fun it is and surprisingly (or not) the less work it is, imo. Depending on where you'd like to be in the food chain (no pun intended) there's lots of factors that play into getting the higher paying jobs but from what I've seen, the most important and difficult to achieve is *credibility*, and it can be somewhat elusive. That's a tough one to build as it can really be a catch 22. Without the opportunity to shoot for a client, it's difficult to build the credibility to work on the bigger projects....and without credibility it's really difficult for an agency to give a $100K photography budget to an unknown entity as there's a lot at stake and ad agencies tend to be the textbook definition of risk aversion.
One of the things I gained while working at the studio I stared out in, was how to build that credibility. I got to work with and know the people who were actually responsible for buying the kind f photography I wanted to do. I was able to develop friendships with many of the art directors and art buyers at the bigger agencies in town. When my photographer friend retired and it was time for me to strike out on my own, I had a base of contacts that I knew and could call on, and while I started small it was a great first step on the ladder of a career.