Category : Food styling Toggle

Australian food photography challenge: Jerky edition

A table filled with seasoned jerky to share


The Gold Coast (the whole of Australia in fact), is rich with attractive food to photograph, though jerky, most definitely does not fit into this category!

A new Surfer’s Paradise client of mine needed to rebrand and reshoot their jerky food packaging imagery. Their brand is very popular with tourists visiting the Gold Coast, though was in desperate need of more contemporary food photography to give the pack some shelf appeal.

The challenge with photographing meat, is always making it look succulent without glistening like a terd, fresh without looking like an abattoir floor, textured without looking like graphic roadkill. Understandably, this is precisely why few food photographers are comfortable shooting meat!

As a food subject, jerky simply is what it is – dehydrated cuts of seasoned meat. It splits and becomes heavily textured while drying and looks like a bicep off-cut left in the sun. And there is no succulence to capture with dehydrated foods. Challenge accepted!
Fortunately for me, some years back I had a trial by fire to really perfect my lighting techniques when shooting meat products in a marathon three day shoot involving entire carcasses being wheeled into the studio to be butchered and photographed!

Being so familiar with the reality of how the product looks, my client was beside himself with happiness when he saw the final shots. I tried to style the below shot in a way that tells the story of jerky a little, by way of serving and pairing suggestions and also brass drying racks subtly featured in the background.
Whether sharing a platter with friends or demolishing an entire bag on your own with a beer in a hammock and a self-indulgent grin, I think the final photographs are plenty to tempt buyers to pick up a bag of the world’s ugliest food type and enjoy it!

If you have a challenging food product that needs photographing, do get in touch with Gold Coast Food Photography today…   😉


Top-down image of beef jerky, surrounded by complimentary foods on a table to share

Food photography for Gold Coast bakery and Cafe

An image of a loaf of artisanal white bread presented on baking paper and metal tray, atop a timber tabletop, surrounded by scattered flour.

A while back I was approached by a Gold Coast bakery and cafe to photograph their breads, sandwiches and pastries. The client’s brief stipulated simple, unpretentious images of quality breads that will appeal to the health-conscious and food that showcased the generous fillings that is their USP.

I love a client who can identify their USP! True to their word, the amount of filling in their sandwiches is the kind of generosity that reminded me of decades past – before Australian bakeries started stuffing the entire content of a sandwich to the front, leaving the customer staring at 2 buttered slices of bread, never to return their custom. Don’t get me started!!!

Devour’s breads are truly artisanal and come in a wide range (including a great gluten-free bread (if you’re on the Gold Coast or Brisbane and need to source one, as they have 2 outlets). As such, my trusty Food Stylist, Pete May, created a contemporary timber deck to shoot the breads on, dusted with flour and rustic props, to also bolster the sense of back-story for breads that are crafted – not manufactured en masse in a factory.

When shooting the pies, I built a slightly harsher light, reminiscent of the bright light of midday, to give the viewer a subtle sense that it’s time to eat when met with their posters. Tidy. The no-frills presentation of the sandwiches ensured that over-worked food styling didn’t deter the ‘grab and run’ customers during their lunch break.

If you’re a Gold Coast or Brisbane cafe owner or baker, you’re already aware that you’re in a contested food market. Do get in touch to discuss your brand’s food photography needs and get this off your ‘to do’ list before the year is out.


An image of a round loaf of artisanal crusty bread with a rustic serving fork in the background, on a timber tabletop, surrounded by scattered flour.

An image of two loaves of artisanal bread on tin baking trays, with a rustic wooden-handled knife next to them on a timber tabletop, surrounded by scattered flour.

An image of a pie with tomato sauce sitting on a brown paper bag and tin baking trays on a timber tabletop.

How to utilise good food styling to tell a story

Last week a 5-star Gold Coast hotel client asked my advice on how to best photograph the food being served at their Vegan buffet.

They obviously wanted beautiful photographs, but needed to ensure that these particular food shots weren’t misleading – the meal offering is a buffet, after all – not a-la-carté…

I thought that the table styling could help to tell this story, while avoiding simply showing a line of hot platters on hotel trestles. I suggested that I photograph a single plate of food that their highly-awarded Chef has plated up nicely (unlike the physics-defying pyramids that many diners construct when embracing a buffet)! Plating-up the food this way communicated the fineness of the food on offer at the hotel, while the surrounding table styling made it clear that this was not an a-la-carté dish for one.

This was achieved with stacked plates and serviettes as well as scattered handfuls of cutlery, rather than a place-setting for one.
A great story-telling solution for a suite of images that the client was super happy with!