The category of food is a highly competitive market segment, and stock photos in this category have to be extraordinarily good in order to be successful. This requires not only high technical quality, but also the skillful choice of a subject. Vegetarian and whole food nutrition occupies a special niche in food photography. The photo productions of Westend61 photographer Eva Gründemann centrally explore this topic.
Eva had already discovered her passion for photography long before she began to study clothing technology with a major in design. While she was a student, she took every photography class that was available in her course of study before going on to graduate and begin working as a designer for functional wear and motorcycle clothing. In 2009, shortly before her 40th birthday, Eva read about the possibilities of producing and selling stock photos in a book. She already had the desire to further her professional development, and since her work as a freelance designer afforded her the time to do so, she prepared to enter the world of stock photography as an additional sideline of work. Eva found out about Westend61 while she was searching for the right agency to work with. Westend61’s concept resonated with her so well that she decided to immediately apply as a photographer.
“And if I can also whet other people’s appetite, that’s even better!”
Considering her long-standing fondness for vegetarian cuisine, it wasn’t very surprising that from then on the images in her productions concentrated on this subject, afterwards expanding to also include whole food nutrition. Lately in the food industry, topics of importance such as ‘clean eating’ and overall healthy cooking are dominating the media landscape, encouraging her to also explore these topics in her photo productions. Eva is hoping that her enthusiasm for healthy food will also rub off on others: “And if I can also whet other people’s appetite [with my images], that’s even better!”
Her substantial portfolio is characterized by a quite minimalistic approach to her subjects, as well as the skilled handling of strong colors and contrasts.
Would she consider working with a different subject? Eva says: “I truly have my heart in this genre, but I really wouldn’t be opposed to getting outside of my comfort zone and dedicating myself to something else, such as travel photography.”
She’s never at a loss for subjects, drawing her inspiration from various sources, such as images from magazines and Instagram blog posts or the ideas featured in Westend61’s Inspire magazines, which are exclusively provided to all photographers contracted by the agency. Sometimes just particular components of an image (lighting, styling or perspective) prompt her to work on an idea: “That’s how a soup spotted in an image can serve as the inspiration for a smoothie bowl”, says Eva.
Over the years she’s also managed to collect diverse backgrounds and a large amount of props – some of which were purchased, others which she made herself. Having a comprehensive supply of props on hand allows her to layout compositions and implement her ideas rather quickly. Working with a tripod is especially important to Eva, so that she can precisely optimize her image composition bit by bit until she’s completely satisfied. For lighting, Eva prefers to work with naturally available light, and loves to take advantage of classical side lighting in her images.
So that she can ultimately offer her customers the most versatility, her subjects are not only photographed from various perspectives, but the images are also captured in portrait and landscape formats. A production’s final step is completed with Lightroom.
“Why should I keep recipes which I think are good to myself? The same goes for my photography workflow.”
Moreover, Eva has been maintaining an interesting blog for several years with the telling name “Food Vegetarisch”, focusing on various aspects of vegetarian food and nutrition. Visitors to the blog will not only discover recipes and book reviews, but also tips and tricks for food photography which Eva enjoys providing. What makes her want to take on the additional effort? “The blog is first and foremost like a personal calling card for me – it gives me a way to combine business with pleasure. It also serves as a reference work and thanks to the blog, I’ve been able to land various commissioned assignments.”
Eva also has a very successful and popular presence on Instagram. “I don’t consider Instagram to be just a platform for presenting my work to a large audience – it’s also a wonderful opportunity to make new contacts and stay in touch with others.” Eva still enjoys going to photography workshops, where she always meets new people and Instagram is a good way for her to stay in contact with those who share her interests, kind of like a “virtual food and photo hangout”. “My presence on Instagram also spurns me on to continually develop myself as a photographer and keep on top of the latest trends dealing with food.’ Recently, I’ve started to enjoy bringing human elements into my food images, and Instagram, among other things, helped to inspire my ideas.”
Yet Eva and her images are not only active in the virtual world – she’s written a cook book focusing on grains which will be released this September (“Geniale Getreideküche”, Ulmer publishing house).The project put Eva and her partner on the search for old varieties of grains, and of course a lot of pictures were taken during the process.
Eva describes working with Westend61 as “simply fantastic”. She especially appreciates the service which Westend61 provides their photographers. The swift editing and placement of the finished images online, the large marketing network of partner agencies, and, last but not least, the great feeling of being part of an extensive team. These are qualities Eva appreciates both as a person and a photographer.
At Westend61, we’re extremely pleased to have Eva as a photographer and we always look forward to the innovate images from the world of vegetarian cuisine which she present us with – many of her photos simply make our mouths begin to water!
Speaking of Instagram: Within the next few days Eva will be taking over the Westend61 account to share with us her current favorite photos – don’t miss it!
View more of Eva Gründemann’s images here.