- Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Boon Gee (BG): Prior to becoming a food photographer, I worked as a professional accountant in the capacity of a financial controller with companies in several industries for a good 20 years or so. No, I am not saying I am old just wiser. I didn’t like my day job but I didn’t know what else I could do for a living too. Though photography was my passion (and still is) it was just a hobby. I have never thought of it becoming my career. Anyway, I decided to quit my quite well paid job in 2012 to find inspiration for my next career move. What came next was what I called career experimentation moves for me, but photography was still not on my radar as a viable option.
- You specialize in Food Photography. Is there a story or reason why?
- BG: After I quit my day job in 2012, I had all the time pursue my passion, that is, to hone and master my digital photography skills; learnt skills in digital photo editing etc. This was when I noticed my creative talent in digital photography and the idea of it being my career began to form. So I started freelancing. I shot events, pets, food, weddings and sometimes took on jobs with no pay just to gain the experience. As I moved on, I realized I have a passion in food photography and the ability to create food shots that wowed my viewers. But then I wasn’t sure if I should specialize in food or continue to be a generalist since I was getting jobs. So this went on for a while then I realized if I want to make a name for myself in the industry, I cannot be a generalist – I don’t want to be known for shooting anything. Friends had encouraged me take the leap and let people know I am that photographer who takes amazing food photos. So this is where I am now.
- Do you have a team or do you work by yourself?
- BG: Yes and no. If depends on the clients budget. If the budget allows, usually it will be myself as the main photographer and a food stylist who takes care of preparing, styling and staging the dishes. In some other cases, I will have an assistant who will assist me in the shoot, allowing me to double up as a food stylist. Otherwise, I work solo for more straightforward shoots.
- Can you bring us through your process of a food photography shoot?
BG: Typical scenario
- Understand client’s needs/requirements;
- Present visual samples /mood boards to clients for discussion /final selection;
- Preshoot preparation – meeting with team, source for props, prepare equipment for onsite shoot;
- Onset – Usually the client and/or creative representative will be present during the shoot. Typically, we use a stand in, ie. anything that is used to replicate what the final product will look like, to help the set and set up, adjust camera angles, lightings, staging etc. before the actual hero dish will be used for the final shoot. Both client and my team will work closely to perfect the shots.
- Thereafter, selected images will go through retouching process to make them pop;
- Client will get to view proofs of the retouched images; and
- Final high res images will be transfer digitally to client in soft copies once they are happy with the proofs.
- Any tips for those interested in being a professional food photographer?
- BG: Lighting is everything in food photography. A good grasp of how lightings, both natural and artificial lightings, accentuate texture of the different types of food and how it affects the overall mood is key.
- What are some of the more challenging food items to shoot? Why?
- BG: This will have to be real ice cream as it melts fast.
Takeaway message for readers?
BG: Just the other day I saw this quote “You can get what you want or you can just get old”. A very motivating quote for those who procrastinate a lot like me.
Read on for more about Boon Gee!
4 Years of Experience | Aries
Creative Approach // Well, I am paid to do a job hence the end product must please my paymaster. This is fundamental. Giving suggestions and ideas are part and parcel of the creative process, but at the end the day my clients have the final say. This is different from being an art photographer.
Fact // I hope to become the go-to food photographer in Singapore.
Message // Focus on your interests rather than your qualifications if you want a career that fulfils you.
FUSSY // Yes… I am very fussy about the quality of the work I produce.