Welcome to March, and a whole new theme on the ADC Blog! We are super excited to announce Photography Month, where ADC Members with shutterbug tendencies get to shine. Photography has been an important part of the club since its very inception, and although the technology behind taking a snapshot has changed quite a bit since 1920, we are proud to have so many ADC Members who carry on the tradition of craft, whether as professionals, students or really keen hobbyists.
We’re kicking off Photography Month with Felicia Perretti, a New York-based food photographer and a very active member of the ADC community. Felicia will be presenting an ADC Hands On workshop in food photography here at the ADC Gallery on March 12, and we hope you’ll be able to attend! In the meantime, here’s her story…
How old were you when you became interested in photography? How did that interest come about, and how was it fostered?
I always enjoyed the art and definitely as a child had a creative/crafty side. My uncle gave me my first film camera the last couple years I was in high school and when I started a commercial art program my school offered. The class involved graphic design and photography, and I progressed into the photo side of the class. My teachers really saw I had a passion for taking pictures and really helped push me along. Beyond high school I attended the art institute graduating with a photography degree which takes me to today in my career!
Do you remember the earliest photograph you ever took?
I’ve taken a lot of pictures so it’s difficult to think of my first. I can remember when I first started shooting I was using my uncle’s film camera that he gave me and I was able to buy black and white and infrared film. This was right after Christmas so I think my first memorable images were out in the snow playing with the film I picked up. There was beautiful contrast to what objects I were shooting and seeing it draped in snow. That experience was instilled in me.
What type of photography would you say is your specialty, and how did it come to be your specialty? Can one be transient — starting in one area of photography but evolving into another?
My specialty is food and beverage. This probably came about while I was working my first job at a supermarket. I was a cart girl that moved up to being a cashier (that was my favorite!) I was ringing up food all day. Fresh food to packaged food. The packaged food such as crackers would have images on the box and that got me thinking “some one took these pictures, why can’t I?” While in school I did however intern and assist for other photographers in other specialties just to see what I could learn and see what really stuck with me, which was food.
Define your photographic style in a single sentence.
Vibrant and punchy lighting with clean compositions.
What’s your favorite camera to shoot with? What’s so awesome about it?
Personally I really enjoy my Holga! It’s a plastic $20.00 toy camera I had since college that makes happy accidents when the film is developed. Professionally would be my medium format Phase One system. It produces the most detail and color in a image file. It’s great for packaging work and really any job I have. I feel confident in delivering these final files to my clients because I know I gave my best work.
What is the hardest part about making a living as a photographer? Any advice on how to overcome that challenge?
Standing out from the sea of other photographers. You have to bring something to the table that’s unique to you and will get you hired. Persistence is key in this field. Just keep shooting and working on your craft. You never want to stop learning and expanding on your skill set. Also you want to have fun! We’re making pictures, not practicing surgery.
“Persistence is key in this field. Just keep shooting and working on your craft. You never want to stop learning and expanding on your skill set.”
Is there a particular project of yours of which you’re especially proud?
Probably my more recent shoot photographing the cover of Wine & Spirits magazine. I’ve been reaching out to the publication for some time, and I got a email out of the blue for an opportunity to shoot the cover story. It came down to timing because it all came together last minute for them as well as the concept behind the shoot. It was discussed, shot, and finalized over the course of 1-2 days and went to print.
What would be your dream client/project/collaboration?
A Bon Appetit cover story or really any recipe spread in their magazine. It’s beautifully produced and constantly recognized for its content and design.
Nowadays everyone has ‘cameras’ in their pockets and Instagram on their phones. How has this changed the photography game? How has this changed your photography game?
It’s certainly something to discuss and I do take part in the camera in pocket on my Instagram account. I view it as another avenue of marketing as you can see others utilize it as well. Technology evolves quickly, more now than ever before. I’m sure there will be another app that comes out down the road that will effect us greatly in other ways. I can’t say it’s changed my photography too much, just that it has added to my list of things to do for my business.
“So, you’re a photographer?” What’s the strangest question you’ve received when someone learned what you do?
Being a food photographer, a question I get is, “do you get to eat the food on set? Or is the food real on set?” Usually it is real food and that’s because clients and their audience’s perception has evolved, and they rather use the real product or food. Normally I don’t eat the food on set, unless it’s chocolate.
“Being a food photographer, a question I get is, ‘do you get to eat the food on set?'”
What are your other creative outlets and sources of inspiration?
Art, cooking, movies, really anything that may take me outside and away from my normal work routine.
Which professional photographers do you look up to, whether from afar or as mentors?
Robb Grimm has been in the food and beverage world for a long time and I enjoy looking at his work and listening to his videos online about his craft and general knowledge of the business. Richard Alvedon is a classic, and really produced amazing fashion and portraiture images in his time. I found his work so inspiring!
When all is said and done, what is it about being a photographer that gets you up in the morning and drives your passion?
I have the opportunity to make cool photos and work with great people.
Photography Month takes place throughout March, and is open exclusively to ADC Members. Not yet a Member? Join today!