I have been a professional food photographer for over 15 years and have photographed the plates of Eric Ripert, Thomas Keller, Charlie Trotter, Joel Robuchon, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Anthony Bourdain, Alain Ducasse, and many more world class restaurant chefs. Most of them are now hugely successful entrepreneurs and celebrities. This elite group has always understood the importance of excellent food photography.
Why spend all your time creating gorgeous recipes for your menu only to ruin them with less than flattering food photographs? I remember when the first iPhone was released, and the cell phone photography was so unflattering that some restaurants banned their use! Of course, that has changed now, and thankfully some cell phone photographers are getting much better than the early days, still ugly food shots convey the wrong image of your food and are a turn off to many potential diners.
When I entered the private golf industry, I quickly realized there was a great need for high-quality food photography whether the golf club, country club or resort was serving hamburgers or haute cuisine. Why spend thousands on your golf course photography, clubhouse, interiors, and exteriors and skip the kitchen? Food should never be an afterthought.
Don't forget your appetizers, these are often the most photogenic. This Pan Seared Port Lincoln Scallops recipe (above) is by Executive Chef Nigel Munzberg of Royal Adelaide Golf Club, Seaton, South Australia. Photo by Diana DeLucia.
When I look for a club to feature in my books or Golf Kitchen magazine the website is the first place I visit. I can usually tell if the club values the culinary side as they will highlight and compliment their chef, culinary team and services, often displaying the menus and excellent food imagery. However, the website is not the only place a club needs high-quality food photography; there are many places. Food photography draws attention everywhere from social media, newsletters, advertising, magazine and news stories, club banners, posters and more.
Many golfers love to see a big, juicy beef dish on the menu and these are often the most difficult to produce. The chef and the photographer need to work closely to create an appetizing display. This Brandt Beef Bone Marrow Bread Pudding recipe took hours to create. Recipe by Doug Blair, Executive Chef at Cassique at Kiawah Island Club. Photo by Diana DeLucia
How to find a great food photographer.
Food photography is an art form and challenging to learn; more often it is an inborn skill. The golf course photographer is likely not a skilled food photographer and vice versa. I have never been hired to shoot a golf course, while I might be able to take good enough landscapes, I am by no means a golf course photographer as I do not know the game or what golfers are looking for in a great image. I leave that up to specialized golf photographers like Larry Lambrecht, Jacob Sjöman and Evan Schiller. Look for photographers that specialize in food photography and do your homework. Find out if their clients are happy with their services, word of mouth is essential. Local does not always mean better, hire for talent every time.
5 reasons to hire a skilled food photographer to support your culinary team.
1. Members of upscale private clubs can eat wherever they want. Their palates are advanced. When you produce low-quality food imagery that can be enough for them to go off property to eat, or worse, join a club that values the food and beverage department as much the golf and other facilities.2. Younger golfers demand higher quality cuisine this means that you need to hire Executive Chefs and other culinary team players who match this demand to attract more members to the club, and you will need to support your team by showing off their work with great food photography.
2. Younger golfers demand higher quality cuisine this means that you need to hire Executive Chefs and other culinary team players who match this demand to attract more members to the club, and you will need to support your team by showing off their work with great food photography.
Don't forget desserts! This Huckleberry Pie Gelato recipe by Lauren Yerrick, former Executive Pastry Chef at Kiawah Island Club, was carefully created. Photo by Diana DeLucia.
3. My first impression as a non-golfer was how do clubs attract new members, especially the ones who have never played golf? Golfers already play so there is no point preaching to the choir; you need other avenues to get potential new members to the club. Food is one of them. More reason to hire a talented food photographer.
4. Food is a conversation topic. The last thing you want as a private golf or country club is to have members, guests, and media trashing the club's choice of cuisine. Poor food photography can be a bad choice as it shows lack of attention to the food and beverage department.
5. Hiring a reputable food photographer has many other perks, savvy food photographers are very good at marketing, you will likely have your club featured in their marketing and online social media campaigns as well as your own at no extra cost.
Give your mixologist some publicity. This Kohanaiki Mai Tai created by Clara Kelly, Mixologist at Kohanaiki shouts Hawaii! Photo by Diana DeLucia.
About the Author: Diana DeLucia is Founder and Editor in Chief of Golf Kitchen Magazine and Golf Kitchen cookbooks. She began her culinary photography career in New York when she photographed for Restaurant Insider Magazine. DeLucia's work was recognized by industry leaders, and she became the food photographer of choice by many. Diana discovered the private golf and country club industry in 2010 and created an entire business surrounding the culinary talent in the industry.
DeLucia launched The Golf Kitchen Culinary Excellence Awards on October 4th, 2018 at Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, New Jersey and has a yearly culinary and golf event in Mexico at Punta Mita each April. www.golfkitchenpuntamita.com