Anja Burgar is a food photographer and stylist from Slovenia known for her signature moody aesthetic which has artistic qualities reminiscent of a still life painting.
While many of her shots are favouring darker backdrops, Anja also captures crisp, bright images featuring pastel hues such as pink. This effortless versatility is what makes Anja such an inspiring creator who is able to craft a unique visual story for the viewer in each frame.
Taking a scroll through Anja's Instagram feed @useyournoodles makes it abundantly clear that this is a photographer who has a keen eye for composition and understands how to hero her subject matter. The thoughtful styling choices Anja makes in each image allow the different colours and textures of her subjects to command attention in a way that is refined and often whimsical.
Anja isn't exclusively behind the camera either as she often gets hands-on with her photography appearing in frame to capture movement while cooking or serving beautifully plated food. She also creates videos for her YouTube channel where she helps aspiring photographers learn about different creative techniques and equipment.
We were honoured to have a chat with Anja to find out more about her creative journey so far and the process of producing incredible imagery.
Hey Anja! We'd love to find out how you got started as a food photographer?
I was born and raised in Slovenia and still live here under the Alps in a small Slovenian town.
I started my food photography journey in 2015 when I started posting recipes on my blog. I soon realised that I enjoyed taking photos so much! I was unemployed at that time so I spent every hour learning and practicing my craft. After I had my son I was dedicated to making photography my career - so here I am now, working as a full-time photographer.
What are some things people might not know about you?
What equipment do you currently use to produce your images and video?
I currently shoot using Canon EOS 6D Mark II. I pair the camera with different lenses, depending on the look I want to achieve but probably 90% of my work is done with either 100mm macro or the 50mm lens.
I recently updated to the Manfrotto 058B Triaut tripod and enjoy it so much!
As far as lighting goes, I mix it up. I shoot both with natural light and artificial light. Although, for client work, I mostly work with flash for stills and continuous light for video.
Do you have a favourite lighting setup?
I would have a hard time saying what is my favourite light. I like chasing beautiful pockets of natural light. It brings me so much joy every time I find one. But in terms of workflow, flash is my preferred choice these days. It gives you so many options to create moods and feelings in photos. In any way, even when I use artificial light, I'm inspired by natural light.
Can we see some more behind-the-scenes shots of your studio in action?
Here is another example using natural light from the window, this time with a reflector to bounce more light into the frame.
Do you have any advice to share with aspiring food photographers?
My advice to anyone starting their food photography journey would be to practice as much as you can and don't give yourself hard time when things don't turn out as planned.
It was a huge awakening for me when I started seeing failure as a positive thing and using each opportunity to improve. Even people with a ton of experience fail sometimes! Growth comes from taking your mistakes and learning from them.
Developing creative skills is all about deliberate practice and having the confidence to try something new.
I find it hard to get out of my box some days and that's okay, I just leave the experimental projects for days when I feel like it. I think not forcing creativity is one of the primary reasons I continue to love the work I do.
I love helping people awaken their creativity, this year I made my first ever food photography course for beginners which hopefully will be open for registrations this Autumn.
Where do you find inspiration for your own work?
I also enjoy following food photographers on YouTube like Joanie Simon, Scott Choucino, and Brandon Figueroa. They provide so much value in their videos and they also offer courses and workshops for those that want to go even deeper.
What are your top go-to props to use on shoots?
My three favourite props include anything vintage, like cutlery and old metal trays, fabric scraps and linen cloths, and my backdrops.
and lastly, we'd love to know - what's next for you?
My plans for the future are definitely to be even more involved in the food photography community as an educator. I'll be focusing more on my YouTube channel and more courses and workshops in the next months and years.
Thank you to Anja for continuing to inspire us all with your creativity and for being so generous with your time sharing your techniques through educational content.
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