One of my most FAQ is how I got started in food photography, what courses I took, and how to make this a career. So I thought today I could talk about my photography journey and how I ended up where I am today!
A Timeline of My Journey
Let’s break it down, shall we?
2013 – graduated highschool, and bought my first DSLR
2013-2017 – attended Central Michigan University and graduated with a B.S. in Communication Disorders (realized my senior year how the healthcare field was not for me. I thought I was stuck because you have to go to grad school to become a Speech Language Pathologist and I knew I didn’t want to do that.)
2017 – graduated college and felt so, so lost. served full time at the restaurant where I worked throughout college
2018-2020 – worked at Red Lobster full time as a server (truly not a bad gig, but not something I ever wanted to do long term. Shout out to all the people who make serving their career…it is not easy!!)
2020 – covid hit and the world shut down, including Red Lobster. Suddenly I had time on my hands to do whatever I wanted, in the confinement of my own apartment of course. So, I started baking a ton and creating content to post on Instagram. I had so much fun exercising my creative muscles.
2021 – went back to work at Red Lobster and realized I wanted to somehow work for myself. I randomly stumbled on food photography and became so intrigued! I had always loved food and photography…what a perfect fit!
February 2021 – I took Foodtography School and committed to learning manual mode on my camera. After completing this course, I landed my first paid client photography shoot (some photos below). Yep, I got paid for those.
April 2021 – Moved with my husband to Grand Rapids and decided I wanted to take a shot at making this my full time career. I definitely did this too early, but it still worked out and I have no regrets.
Now – Creating Kaitlin has evolved into a Food Photography and Videography business where it has generated 6 figures. I’ve worked with over 20 clients and I absolutely love what I do. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. So, so grateful.
Some of my recent work:
But How Did I Get Here?
I can’t even tell you exactly how I decided I wanted to become a Food Photographer. I truly feel like I woke up one day and God was like “Hey Kaitlin! You should try your hand at food photography. Go ahead, make it a career.” Like what?! It was so random, but also not random at all. Does that make any sense?
Growing up I always loved taking photos and just being creative in general. My girlfriends and I would have photoshoots whenever we hung out because that was just the fun thing to do. And if I ever had ideas for a more stylized photoshoot I’d drag a friend or two to come help me bring it to life.
I bought my first DSLR when I was a senior in high school (2012/2013). I thought for sure I wanted to become a wedding photographer. I even shot one wedding. The issue was that I’m a big ole introvert. I didn’t necessarily want my subject to be a human haha. So after a few free sessions, I decided to just ditch the idea. My poor camera stay tucked away in a drawer to collect dust after that.
Oh, also REALLY wanted to be a photographer for a band for a minute there. Did I reach out to someone connected with Fall Out Boy? Sure did! 😂
There were so many times I almost sold my camera. For some reason, I just could never bring myself to actually do it. Huh, must have been a reason for that, right? Because seven years later I decided to dust it off and actually learn how to use it properly.
By the time I decided I wanted to learn more about food photography, I had been creating content on Instagram for a solid year. Covid gave me a lot of time to be creative and I feel like it gave me a new sense of purpose. I wanted to figure out a way to make money from posting content. I thought the only way was to try and become an influencer. Here’s the thing, I’m also not cut out to be an influencer. I tried so hard to grow my platform and post cool content, but it just wasn’t working out.
Like I said earlier, I don’t know how I even came across food photography and thought “yeah I should try that!”. But I did. I think I’ve always admired beautiful photos of food and wondered how on earth people could make it look so dang pretty. So I signed up for a free Foodtography Masterclass just to get my feet wet and start learning more about the field. I instantly fell in love and felt motivated to really go for it. I registered for Foodtography School the same day and decided that this was it. I’m committing and I’m not going to quit. And for once, I didn’t. Usually with this stuff, if it gets hard, I give up. I was so proud of myself for continuing with it and not quitting just because it got difficult or frustrating.
Some of my very first food photos:
There you have it! The basics of my journey. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to try or start (food photography related or not)…DO IT! You’ve gotta start somewhere, sometime. There’s no better time like the present.