Watch the Live Presentation and Q&A with Nathaniel Crawford of Captures By TK!
Watch the Replay
About Nathaniel Crawford
Nathaniel is an award-winning Chicago + Milwaukee-based commercial food, product & lifestyle photographer/videographer, iced chai aficionado, learned home baker & person who stutters.
At the age of 18, he fell in love with the art of cooking/baking. At 19, he discovered a passion for photography. Six months later, while working through his undergrad, he started his food blog called TermiNatetor Kitchen. After graduating college and moving to Chicago, he was tired of blogging and wanted to rebrand as a full-fledged photo and video company. So, in early 2019, he launched Captures By TK Photo & Film.
Today, he works and collaborates with his clients to capture delicious moments through the lens of food, travel, and hospitality. With an additional 5 years of marketing experience under his belt, he has a deep passion and understanding of creative content and how it can be best implemented across an omnichannel strategy.
Creators with Disabilities
During this replay, you will see a section where a viewer says something disrespectful about Nate and the fact that he stutters. Nate is very open and honest about his stutter as it’s listed in his bio and his intro. He also lets the audience know that is happy to repeat anything that is needed, but that being hateful and disrespectful is not tolerated.
Nathaniel asked that we keep this section in the video we publish so that others can learn from this experience and we agree that this is a wonderful educational moment (as well as a harmful one). But we hope that the community will view it and learn to be more inclusive and respectful of all creators, especially those with disabilities.
Thank you Nate for this opportunity to teach our community.
Tastemaker Conference is an inclusive community. Discrimination, disrespectful speech, and hateful comments will not be tolerated, and are grounds for removal from any events.
Styling & Composition
You might start off not so great, and that’s okay! It takes years to perfect and everyone is always changing and growing in their artform, so don’t be afraid to get started even if it’s not perfect to start.
After years of experience, Nate says that one of his favorite ways to get started on a project is to think: “What narrative am I trying to tell?”
Try to invoke a FEELING.
So to build this narrative we want to use Styling and Composition!
Elements of Styling
There is no wrong way to do this! You are using your own lens of narrative for this.
Things to think about:
- What is the hero of the image?
- What texture is showing? What do we want to add?
- Is the subject taller?
- What ingredients would really add more texture and narrative to the scene?
- How do we get the eye to be drawn to the hero?
- Focus on Framing (ie Rule of Thirds)
- Flow/Layout of your scene
- Pick the right Lighting
- Spacing, spacing, spacing
- Don’t be afraid to draw up a diagram!
- Sometimes, less is more
Food Photography Walk-Through #1
- The inspiration: The vision was “summery, backyard BBQ vibe”
- Looked at Pinterest for inspiration
- Compiled the inspiration in a program called Bublup, which is basically a collaborator Pinterest Board
- Shared Inspiration with the team
Then taking that inspiration we created the food items, lighting, and camera settings & set up, and the props/textures we wanted to feel. Props are a great way to add texture, but also some cooler tones. And then you could add some little final touches, like they did with the nutes and fruits.
Food Photography Walk-Through #2
The inspiration and style for this was similar, but this time they’re changing the scene food items of a close-up of two burgers and having one in hard light and one soft light. The camera settings can be found above. The props & textures are added in with the ingredients like the sauces and cheeses and produce.
The final touches here are the little bits of water spritz on the produce.
- My Photo & Video Gear – https://bit.ly/3S8DHHO
- Join the TK Email Squad – https://view.flodesk.com/pages/620c6ff7d328ec5152cf0476
- Learn about 1 on 1 Mentorship – https://bit.ly/3Jd6dUl
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/capturesbytkco/
- Tik Tok – https://www.tiktok.com/@capturesbytk
- Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/capturesbytkco/
- Hristina Polk – https://www.instagram.com/thepineapplecooks/
- Bryant Polk – https://www.instagram.com/whats_bry_eating/
- Mayra Perkins – https://www.instagram.com/emcatalina/
- Justen Lambar – https://www.instagram.com/justen_lambar/
Usually, glycerin and water for my food photography. However, if it is going to be around flames, try to just use water or oil as it can be flammable. You can purchase this from Michael’s or even online.
For lifestyle photos I do a lot of natural photography with natural lighting. But for food photography I need more control, so using artificial lighting is easier for me.
Using syringe to place droplets. Another tip would be to use t-pins to hold your food in place, like making sure your produce stays in place. They are great for food photography.
Watch more in the full video above!