Jennifer Kilberg, Owner of FluidVision and Consultant for Agency Access, Notices the Growth of Food Photography

January 5, 2012

By Jennifer Kilberg

© Matthew Benson

Farm to table from Matt Benson.

Jennifer Kilberg, Owner of FluidVision and consultant for Agency Access, notices the growth food photography, and in particular, photographers Matthew Benson, Kevin Marple, Francesco Tonelli, Joe Brooks and James Worrell.

Happy New Year everyone! I am sure after all the holiday parties and events you are filled up with delicious food. But it’s not just the holidays that are making food the center of attention. In the past few years, I have seen a tremendous increase in the number of food photographers in the marketplace. I see different focuses from editorial, advertising, in-house corporate, and B2B industries.

Food is accessible, can be very colorful and is abstract to work with. From the everyday foodie photographer to the professionals, social media has made it easy for photographers to instantly post images from what they ordered for dinner to what they made for breakfast. Food imagery is meant to give you the itch to run to your local market or to motivate you to go out to the finest restaurant in town.

One of the best parts about the industry for food photographers is the ability for each photographer’s style to truly stand out. Here are a few of my clients who use their particular focus on food to differentiate themselves from others in the field.

Farm to Table

A huge movement in the food industry is the “Farm to Table” approach. With the rise of awareness in nutrition, many restaurants are either sourcing products from local farms or actually growing their own food. Photographer Matthew Benson has a solid approach in this area.

So how vested is Matthew in food and photography? Just to name a few, Matthew’s work has appeared in the magazines House & Garden, Condé Nast Traveler, Traditional Home, and Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. He’s also shot photos for the books are In Season (Taunton, 2011), Urban Farms (Abrams, 2011), Cook This Now (Hyperion, 2011) and The Photographic Garden (Rodale, 2012). He is also the owner of Stonegate Farm, an organic estate farm in New York’s Hudson Valley.

 benson figs

© Matthew Benson above

The Restaurant 

It’s not just food that’s getting all the praise. These days, chefs are being treated like celebrities, and with the artistic approach and strong styling, photographer Kevin Marple  showcases everything from restaurant life to plated food.

Kevin Marple is a Dallas-based advertising and editorial photographer whose work has been featured in national and international ad campaigns as well as adorning the covers of numerous magazines.  Known primarily for his engaging, cinematic and provocative images of food, his work has been seen in publications like Southern Living, Texas Monthly and Saveur and for clients such as Chili’s, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Carino’s.  In constant pursuit of creating captivating photographic iconography, Marple has been satisfying the desires of art directors for the past 15 years by successfully capturing superior images in challenging locations and situations for their campaigns.

 marple man


© Kevin Marple above

The Process  

Photographer Francesco Tonelli has really shown a different approach to food. He is able to not only showcase food in still life, but capture the process from raw to cooked in motion. You can see his motion reels on his website, in which he truly treats food as a moving object.

Francesco is not just a food photographer. He’s also a master chef and a food stylist. Born and raised in Italy, Tonelli has cooked in kitchens throughout Europe, was a R&D Chef and Food Stylist for La Cucina Italiana in Milan, and worked as an Associate Professor in Culinary Arts at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. 

For the past decade, Francesco has used his professional experience as a platform to interact with food experts and creative professionals at a new level. He has successfully stepped behind the camera, taking full charge of the design, styling and photography of food on set.

tonelli joia


  tonelli pesto

 © Francesco Tonelli above

The Classic  

Photographer Joe Brooks truly has the ability to make the ordinary appear extraordinary, capturing the perfections in food from the classic breakfast pancake to the mouth-watering cheeseburger. For over 25 years, Joe has been known for creating signature images of food for commercial, national and restaurant clients. You’ve probably also caught Joe’s classic style in some national ad campaigns, books such as The Art of the Chocolatier and magazines. Joe’s goal: focus on the voice of his client ensuring optimum creative results.

pancakes brooks

brooks fancy

© Joe Brooks above

The Concept

Photographer James Worrell, “Photography for Thinking,” takes a very different approach to food, exemplifying the conceptual approach. As an advertising and editorial photographer, James uses simplicity, color and humor to interpret concepts and make powerfully graphic images for his clients. His fine art training, coupled with his Midwest, Iowa boy “can-do” attitude, has and still makes commercial photography a perfect fit for him.

 “I love what I do. Photography has allowed me to carve out a small, wonderful corner of the world where I live and work with my wife, two daughters, some hermit crabs, three goldfish and a rescued Australian Shepherd Maltese mix,” says James.



 worrell sandwich

 © James Worrell above

  Whether you are an amateur or professional, food photography is a great way to show passion in a subject matter everyone gets. The industry has limitless ways to showcase your creative energy and bring beauty to everyday items. And let’s face it, everyone has to eat – that’s just my way of saying the future in this area of photography will always look bright for new talent and inspiring ideas on how to capture food, cooking and the industry as a whole.