I am starting to think I want to hire a photographer for cookies. There are a lot of situations where that wouldn't be very convenient, but it's starting to occur to me that if I save four or five art cookies to photograph at once, it might make it worthwhile. Assuming I can afford it (I'm not assuming I can, hah).

I just don't have a good camera – don't even have a good phone camera – am not a professional. After three/four years of photographing cookies, I'm not sure I'm *that* much better at it or even really interested in getting better at it. I'm reasonably good at basic Photoshop work because of other job skills, and would have been lost without that, actually, but all that ever does is save my so-so photos and make them . . . eh. Ok.

I need great photos. Especially because this is the only record of my work. I kind of love that cookies disappear fast, either eaten or thrown away, but not having a great photo ruins that. It's becoming stressful instead, ruining the fun. Anyhow, I feel like I know at this point that I do not enjoy the photography part of the process. (Graphics/design/marketing are a different animal in my eyes.)

So:

• Anyone ever hired a photographer? Was it just too laughably expensive to consider? Did it work at all for you?

• Or (alternately) Did anyone ever buy a camera or buy a phone with a camera that changed your feelings about cookie photography/gave you a foolproof tool that took photography stress away? I have done a fair amount of research about cameras, but never invested in one, in part, again -- because I just don't think I care that much about it all.

Thanks for any help. I think this post is functioning as a bit of a vent as well. I was outside yesterday trying to hold up cardboard with one hand while I took photos (with the other) in the indirect sun and as per usual . . . all the results were pretty eh. Heh. 
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(I did some searching to see if my question was covered as a discrete topic on the forums and didn't find anything; if this has been covered elsewhere, [my apologies and] please let me know!)

Original Post

What a timely topic! We'll be posting the results of our photo survey in a few days, where some of these issues may also be addressed. (So be sure to be on the look-out for that!)

In the meantime, yes, I have hired a food photographer, twice, to shoot the photos for my two books. It can be very expensive ($8000 for a three- or four-day shoot covering 30-40 projects and no more than 100-150 finished photos). The photographer was paid out of my book advance from the publisher, but these were the going rates about 9-11 years ago. I also did all of the food styling and setups myself. If you aren't going to do that part, you'll have to pay more. I hired a pro and you could, of course, probably find a good student photographer to do your work more cheaply, so this is just one benchmark.

Once I got into more cookie work and had to market my work more regularly, I decided I couldn't afford a pro, or the lack of control that went with hiring one (having to shoot to their time schedule, for instance). So I bought a digital camera. I really like mine - I shoot on semi-auto mode, so it does much of the photo-thinking for me, though I still need to be quite mindful of lighting (setting up white boards to bounce light and control lighting balance) and the overall staging. I take a lot of time with both of these things, often taking an entire day to shoot one cookie project for my videos and marketing needs. The camera I have is a Canon EOS Rebel SL2 EOS 200D. Pretty user-friendly. I find I most often shoot in landscape mode to get the most depth of field (especially needed for large 3-D cookies). My only complaint is that I haven't figured out how to get a completely crisp depth of field, as even elements in near-background are rather fuzzy in the landscape mode.

Hope this helps a bit. I recommend doing it yourself, and getting a user-friendly digital camera (where you can operate semi-automatically) AND also capture images in raw mode to allow for maximum editing capability. Phones don't store as much data with each image, and so phone images are harder to correct (for lighting, shadows, etc.) in Photoshop.

My husband does filming of independent films and has won awards for his photography so i asked him to photograph my cookies.  They are clear and highlight every flaw.  My pictures are flawed, but my cookies look better.  I save  him for competitions where the picture has to be perfectly clear.

P.S. I used to dread taking photos of my work, but also feared not capturing them for posterity. Now that I have a decent camera and some reasonable command over the photo-taking process, I actually really enjoy the photo-taking and welcome it as an escape from some of my other types of work. I hope you end up having the same experience! 

Econlady posted:

My husband does filming of independent films and has won awards for his photography so i asked him to photograph my cookies.  They are clear and highlight every flaw.  My pictures are flawed, but my cookies look better.  I save  him for competitions where the picture has to be perfectly clear.

Heh! That is an interesting point of comparison. (How handy to have a spouse for at least some of it.) Appreciate your answer

Julia M. Usher posted:

P.S. I used to dread taking photos of my work, but also feared not capturing them for posterity. Now that I have a decent camera and some reasonable command over the photo-taking process, I actually really enjoy the photo-taking and welcome it as an escape from some of my other types of work. I hope you end up having the same experience! 

(Replying to both this and your response above, here.)

Thank you so much for the thoughtful advice, especially with regard to camera buying / using / limitations / strengths. I think a decent camera might change this whole situation, to be honest. You put it exactly right -- it might (like design/marketing feels for me now) become a part of the process I enjoy rather than dread. Especially if I have a camera over which I have some control, but can trust to give me baseline good stuff.

Can't wait to read results of photo survey -- reminding myself.

Thank you!

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