Joanie Simon of The Bite Shot | The Vinyl Dish Interview

Whether you need some inspiration for food styling or whether you just got a new camera and have no idea how to use it, The Bite Shot is an awesome new resource for all of the tips and tricks you need to bring your food photography game to the next level.

Founded by talented photographer, Joanie Simon, the growing YouTube Channel is a great way to learn the fundamentals of food photography for your perfectly curated Instagram feed or professional portfolio. We got the chance to interview Joanie and learn more about how she got her start in professional food photography, her thoughts on food sharing over social media, and of course her opinion on the best places to eat in Arizona!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started in photography?

I have a bachelor’s degree in art and have always gravitated toward things that allow me to be creative.  While my husband and I were living in NYC, I started blogging about our life so the family back home in Arizona could see what we were discovering in the big city.  I subsequently started taking a lot of pictures of my food because I have always been passionate about food and cooking. The blogging about life evolved into a restaurant food blog when we moved back to Arizona which then evolved into a recipe blog as of 2015. Throughout the blog adventure, I continued to get more and more into my camera, learning about it, and experimenting. In 2015 I was contacted by a restaurant to photograph their menu and the rest, as they say, is history, turning what was a hobby into a full time job for me.

Why food photography? What is it about food photography that appealed to you in particular?

I love food and it’s my art form. Some people enjoy sculpting clay, I get a high off constructing the perfect bowl of pasta. I actually attempted homemade pasta at the age of ten, so my love of food goes way back to childhood. Getting to marry my two favorite things into one creative art form that also pays the bills, it’s a recipe for success.

What are your thoughts on the world of food photography on Instagram? With some people standing on chairs or putting food on the floor at restaurants, has social media food sharing gone too far?

I think everyone has to find their own happy medium when it comes to food photography. For me, I used to be that crazy person trying to get the perfect shot of my dinner as soon as the waiter dropped it off. But, to be honest, it takes the fun out of the dining experience for me.  So, when I’m out to eat, I prefer to enjoy my meal and leave my cell phone in my purse and my camera at home. The one exception to that being media dinners which I occasionally attend.  But, otherwise, I save the snappin’ for when I’m not going to be inconveniencing my dining partners. I want them to eat their food while it’s still hot!

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“Take the time to learn your camera, force yourself through the discomfort of leaving ‘auto’ settings behind. It will make all the difference”

What advice would you give to anyone looking to enter into the world of food photography or photography in general?

If you’re not shooting in manual mode on your camera (DSLR, mirrorless, etc..) then take the time to learn your camera, force yourself through the discomfort of leaving ‘auto’ settings behind. It will make all the difference. And as for photography in general, be patient with your work and know that you’ll always be your own worst critic.

What advice would you give to food photographers that are beginning to do professional work for companies?

One of the things that I don’t think you can over-communicate with a brand about is what they’re really looking for in the images. You have to really understand the concepts they have in their mind. I’ve had a brand tell me that they were looking for “modern and edgy” styling, so I requested they provide me some inspirational images to inform the direction of the shoot.  The images they provided were more what I would qualify as classic and neat and not my definition of edgy. Some clients (especially those with art directors) can be really good at communicating exactly what they want. But, not all are great at communicating vision, so it’s your job to really help form that so that they’re thrilled with the images you provide.

“Not all [clients] are great at communicating vision, so it’s your job to really help form that so that they’re thrilled with the images you provide.”

As you know, we are a food and music blog, so we’d love to know what are your favourite artists or songs to listen to while you shoot?

It can be anything from Tom Petty and The Beatles to Kelly Clarkson and Lady Gaga. But, lately, I’ve been jamming mostly to Jain, Portugal The Man, The Decembrists, and Rogue Valley.

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Best restaurants to visit while in Arizona?

My house! My favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant is La Santisima. The best Japanese is at Hana Japanese Eatery. The best place for a date night is Rusconi’s Kitchen.

You’ve been seeing quick success with your YouTube channel and social media, what’s next for The Bite Shot?

Right now I’m having the best time connecting with the rapidly expanding Bite Shot Family. It’s a unique blend of people, photographers from all of the world, so I’m working hard to listen to their needs and understand how I can best serve them. I’m currently finishing up my first e-book (a freebie coming out 2/14!) and have a few more e-book ideas on the horizon. I am also looking to launch some workshops later in the year, so stay tuned!

Thank you to Joanie Simon for interviewing with us and for providing amazing resources for all of us to improve our food snappin’ skills!

Check out her latest YouTube video HERE!

SIGN UP to get her upcoming FREE e-book, out February 14!

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