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A food photographer is employed to create images of food and drinks that will appeal to consumers. They are required to have an excellent knowledge of photographic and lighting techniques. Most food photographers work on a freelance basis, so anyone interested in entering the field should be able to run his own finances and be pro-active in securing commissions.
Most food photographers are freelancers who have chosen to specialize in this particular area of image production. Cookingschools.com judges the average salary of a freelance food photographer to be $18,000 per year. However, the potential salary can vary greatly depending on experience and expertise. StateUniversity.com puts the annual salary at $36,000. The very top professionals can attain salaries of $500,000 or more.
Food photographers are usually employed by book and magazine publishers to provide photographers for cookbooks and editorial pieces. They may also find employment with commercial food companies, creating images for their packaging and advertising campaigns. The salary expectations for each are similar as work is usually commissioned on a project-by-project basis.
Education and Experience
There are no formal requirements to become a food photographer. A degree in photography should help the individual gain an entry level position as it demonstrates a good knowledge of photographic practice and technique. However, experience in the particular field is invaluable in gaining commissions and thus increasing one's earning potential. Assisting a food photographer is an excellent way to begin one's career.
Individuals interested in a career in food photography must remember that their salary requirements must take into account the expenses necessary for a professional freelance photographer. They will have to provide their own equipment and update or replace it as necessary. The start-up equipment costs for a professional photographer can be $30,000.
Dirk Huds has been a writer/editor for over six years. He has worked for bookshops and publishers in an editorial capacity and written book reviews for a variety of publications. He is currently studying for his master's degree.