We were recently commissioned by a Macrobiotic expert – Shonali Sabherwal of Macrobiotcsindia.com to create a bank of images for her business and upcoming book. As with any project we undertake, the start was with a lot of questions. We’ve all heard about the Macrobiotic diet, in passing, but being who we are, we just had to dive in and learn a lot more about it.

A macrobiotic diet (or macrobiotics), comes from two words: “macro” meaning large and “bios”  – life. It’s a dietary regimen which involves eating grains as a staple food supplemented with other foodstuffs such as local vegetables, while avoiding the use of highly processed or refined foods and most animal products. Macrobiotics also addresses the manner of eating by recommending against overeating and requiring that food be chewed thoroughly before swallowing.

Macrobiotics is considered an approach to life rather than a diet.

In keeping with the thought, we chose a simple approach, with bold and graphic imagery that highlighted and showcased both the ingredients and the recipe as well as a bright, natural and open colour and texture palette. Most of the images have also been created with negative space at the top end, to allow for future use in posters and as magazine covers, with some beautiful (hopefully typography.

Here’s a sneak preview of what we created, with a promise of more to come once the book is published.

These images and more are available for editorial use in connection with Macrobiotic cuisine and the work of Shonali. Get in touch with her at shonaalii [at] macrobioticsindia [dot] com

Macrobiotic Food by Shonali Sabherwal

Macrobiotic Food by Shonali Sabherwal - Broccoli Soup, Brown Rice Salad and Pressed Salad


This is a broad category used to describe the use of food photography in print advertisements, outdoor billboards, online ads etc… It also covers smaller items like brochures, menus etc. More often than not the ads are either Concept driven or Product driven. In concept driven ads, there is an underlying idea which is designed to engage the viewer, and the product being sold is food or related to food. In product driven ads, the image of the product, again food or related to food is generally the hero component of the layout.

Most ads go through several rounds of internal approval at the advertising agency and client, so the requirements are pretty well spelt out and the right photographer will be chosen, who’s style closely matches the requirement.

Pre-Opening Ad for China House, a fine restaurant at Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotel

Pre-Opening Ad for China House, a fine restaurant at Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotel

A pre approved layout with either an illustration or reference / dummy image is present, and everyone expects the final image to be quite close to the approved mockup.










Bottom line is the photograph must convey the idea and work with the copy (text).

Sometimes we have simple photography and a great line, sometimes a heavy duty image with special effects and the like to convey the idea.

Infinite Solutions for the Bakery Industry

Infinite Solutions for the Bakery Industry

Of the three types of food photography, packaging tends to be the most expensive, technically demanding, tedious, and structured type of food photography.  It is not unusual in a packaging shoot to actually count the number of items shown on the plate, like peas, carrots, croutons, etc…  Strict rules in advertising make everyone involved in the process.  Lighting must be relatively flat to show maximum detail and stay within reproduction contrast limitations, and there is definitely not much room for special effects and one has to take into account the different materials packaging is printed on these days, like good paper, bad paper, plastic, foil, etc…  The food photographer’s job is to show the food in a realistic, and yummy way.  An Art Director and a layout will be supplied and you are expected to match that layout to the best of your ability.  Most details of the shoot regarding cropping, propping, and backgrounds will be pre-determined at the pre-production meeting.  All the food photographer’s skills will be called in to make the mundane into magnificent within the pre set limitations of the structure of the pack, the material, the layout and other requirements.


Godrej Tyson Yummiez Veg Tikka

Most of the time at the shoot will be spent working on very small details and dropping images into layouts to see if everything fits just right.

The image pictured here is of a specific product, the Vegetarian Tikki, which is a potato and vegetable mash which is then turned into a Tikki, which is a patty or cutlet. As the Target market is used to consuming this product with chickpeas, chutney, ketchup and a bit of bread, these elements were critical to conveying the whole story. These were not to be confused with Burger patties.

The addition of visual fresheners like greens were also strategically placed to provide both colour and visual relief. Scroll on to see the final pack with the image. Note the bread slices in the left hand side of the trademark Yummiez arch are a very subtle hint, without looking too sandwichy..


Final Retail Pack: Godrej Tyson Yummiez Pack Veg Tikka

Please don’t get me wrong, but of all the types of food photography, this kind of work is the toughest and most painful, and usually clients will pick the most experienced photographer they can find/afford for this type of job. We’ve developed a lovely workflow to allow images to be composed and shot with the layout overlaid on them live, as well as to have low resolution images to be ready for dropping into client supplied layouts within seconds on the shoot. A dedicated client machine with layout software is linked to the shoot machine, which allows the designer / art director and client to instantly preview what the pack is going to look like with the food in it.

See more food photography for packaging at: http://www.foodphotography.in/packaging.html

Food photography, Food photographer, Food stylist… What? What are all these terms your bandying about? Get to the point man!

Asian Chicken Stir Fry - © www.foodphotography.in

Asian Chicken Stir Fry - © http://www.foodphotography.in


Well, I’m a food photographer! And what I do is food photography ☺ and I couldn’t do it without a Food Styiist 😉

A food photographer is a professional photographer who specializes in shooting food and drink for clients like Magazines, Cook books, Advertising agencies and Manufacturers of those yummy things you see in Supermarket shelves!

Broad categories of Food Photography: