Festive Food Photography, with Joanie Simon: The B&H Photography Podcast


Food, glorious food. There's no better time than the holiday season for a bountiful exploration of food photography—a fan favorite. For this episode of the podcast, we're delighted to connect with food blogger, educator, and content creator extraordinaire Joanie Simon. Listen in as she discusses the magic behind her aspirational, achievable shooting style. Besides examining the limits to reality when shooting fake food, Simon describes her collaborations with a dedicated crew, offers advice about a photographer's responsibilities when working remotely, and describes her personal evolution through camera brands and models to arrive at the Nikon Z mirrorless system she shoots with today. Discover all these things and much, much more, including a secret recipe for fake ice cream!

Guests: Joanie Simon

Photograph © Joanie Simon

Sponsored by

Apple crisp servings as seen through iPhone camera view
Soup ingredients in a tray
Bite-sized desserts on a tray
Dipping an apple into caramel sauce
Decorating caramel apples with sprinkles, nuts, and chocolate chips
Turkey dinner served on a wooden table
Individual pumpkin cheesecake servings
Frosted pumpkin bread squares
Pumpkin coffee cake squares
Individual pumpkin pie slices
Spiced olive side dish
Three people at a Thanksgiving dessert table
Toast slices topped with ricotta, olives, and almonds, with a side of…
Apple pie on a wooden table

Episode Timeline

  • 3:56: Joanie Simon's favorite holiday and seasonal foods to photograph
  • 4:34: Cultivating aspirational, achievable food content
  • 6:11: Images created with high quality gear requires exact timing
  • 6:58: How far can you push reality and tricks to making food look good?
  • 8:38: Editorial shooting—an opportunity to run wild, get creative, and shoot conceptually
  • 9:48: A secret recipe for fake ice cream
  • 12:18: The hero of the shot vs the crash test dummy
  • 13:12: The ratio between single shot pictures and food items that need a test run
  • 15:18: How many team members are on set during a food shoot?
  • 17:37: The evolution of Simon's food photography career
  • 19:16: Discovery of remote work and creating digital content from home
  • 21:26: The need to take responsibility for communications when working remotely
  • 23:10: What's Simon's preference: mouth-watering stills or toe-tapping videos and stop motion content?
  • 27:18: Software for stills, video, and animation content: Capture One, Dragonframe, and Premiere Pro
  • 29:44: The benefits to and workflow behind shooting tethered
  • 31:09: Simon's art background and her hesitation about studying art in school
  • 33:10: Episode break
  • 33:58: Thoughts on using gear in a controlled environment
  • 35:38: Simon's personal evolution through camera brands: from Nikon to Sony mirrorless to Canon and back to Nikon
  • 40:04: The benefits of working in manual mode, and when to use autofocus
  • 42:14: Simon's go-to lighting tool: the Godox AD 600 Pro strobe
  • 43:52: Advantages of flash over working with continuous light LEDs
  • 45:44: Drag your shutter when shooting with flash to control the ambient light.
  • 46:33: Simon's primary light modelling tool: Westcott 4x4' Scrim Jim Cineframe
  • 48:36: Lens preferences: primes or zooms and Simon's go-to lenses, 24-70mm f/2.8 for flexibility and 105mm macro lens for background compression
  • 51:02: Food photography with a phone: wipe off the lenses and it all comes down to the light
  • 52:30: Key elements to a food photograph: texture, highlights, and getting close to the food
  • 53:36: Tips for transitioning from a phone to a more formalized camera: look to the mirrorless world and get a camera in your hands to test

Guest Bio

Instead of an apron, Joanie Simon wears many hats. She's a food photographer, published author, educator, and content queen, and her daily life is a bouillabaisse of camera gear and culinary delights. In just a baker's dozen year—that's 13 for the inexperienced cooks—Simon has built her brand into a powerhouse of creative content and learning.

In addition to shooting commercial and editorial assignments, Joanie teaches food photography through her online platform, The Bite Shot. Her food photo adventures on YouTube and Instagram can be found at @thebiteshot and on TikTok @joaniesimonsays, and you learn tons more from the many tutorials in her 2021 book, Picture Perfect Food.

Stay Connected

Website: https://joaniesimon.com
Education Website: https://thebiteshot.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebiteshot
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/joaniesimonmedia
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@joaniesimonsays


Hi Thukai, thanks for writing in, we hope you find the podcast to sound as good as it looks! And please stay tuned for a new episode release tomorrow afternoon at 4pm eastern ... Spoiler alert ... our upcoming episode is a boon to photographers and music aficionados alike! Thanks again for tuning in, and for reading the Explora blog.