Scroll through the Instagram feed of Fanette Rickert and you'll be served a colourful feast of vibrant produce and freshly prepared food. Fanette's images are crisp and refined and she is able to effortlessly flex between the different aesthetic styles required for her personal and client projects. Always present in her photographs is Fanette's appreciation for colour and composition that heroes even the most humble ingredients.
Born in France but currently based in DC, Fanette has had a varied and experience rich creative background - some of it even taking place underwater! After living on three different continents around the world she is both well traveled and well versed in different cuisines, resulting in a passion for food photography.
As well as producing images for her own clients, Fanette is dedicated to creating educational resources for aspiring photographers that teaches them good business practises. Many of Fanette's courses and free templates teach creative business owners vital skills in using technology to streamline their workflow processes and remove repetitive tasks with automation.
We admire Fanette's constant evolution of both her business and creative skills and drive to help others improve theirs as well. We had a chat to her to find out what her top tips are and how she stays inspired.
Hey Fanette! We'd love to find out how you got started as a food photographer?
I bought a camera before I left on a world trip. I didn’t know how to use it well, so I came back from the trip with thousands of okay pictures. When we moved to the US, I started working for a friend of my husband. He had a small online retail store, and I was taking care of social media, basic graphic design and such.
One day, my friend, who knew I owned a camera, asked me if I was interested in shooting his products for his online store. I said yes even though I had no idea how to take product pictures. I went home and spent the next 2 days watching courses on CreativeLive and Lynda.com to try and figure it out. My images weren’t great (by any stretch), but my friend was happy and I was hooked.
What are some fun things people might not know about you?
What equipment do you currently use to produce your images?
I currently use a Canon 5d mark iv. My favorite lenses are my cheap 50mm f1.8, and my macro 100mm. I also use a 24 to 70mm for shoots on location. I have a Manfrotto tripod and a few c-stand that I use for my lights and when I shoot overhead. I use the Godox ad400 pro (strobe) and sl200 (continuous) for my work in studio and I have a few Yongnuo speed lights for work on location. I like to use a 47 inch octogonal soft box, a trip box or no modifier for more dramatic lighting.
Do you have a favourite lighting setup at the moment?
Right now I am on a big hard light kick. I love the dramatic effect and the summer feeling that comes with it. I also like to play with gobo lighting (placing objects like plants or fake windows) in front of the light source to create interesting shapes and add dimension.
Can we see your studio?
Do you have any advice to share with aspiring food photographers?
You don’t need a ton of equipment to get started. Start with what you own and focus on studying the light and practicing.
What is one thing you wish you knew earlier about running your own business?
You are allowed to change your mind. As a beginner, you feel like if you don’t get your portfolio, your ideal client, your Instagram, absolutely right you will impact your business forever. And that thought is paralyzing. The truth is you will change and so will your business, so just do something. You can always change your mind later.
How do you keep learning and evolving your skills?
I am constantly taking courses, watching YouTube videos or reading business books. Lately I have been wanting to develop my video skills, so on somebody’s recommendation, I purchased 14-day filmmaker. It’s a great introduction to the basics of videography and it’s very inexpensive. I also swear by Skillshare, where I know I can always go to learn a specific skill. @amandacampeanu and @lishcreative always have some great tips / reels as well!
Which other creators do you admire and find inspiring?
What are your three favourite props to use?
My first one will have to be backdrops. I have a large collection that I keep growing constantly. Backdrops can really help tell the story in an image! The second one would be fabric. In food photography, it would be napkins, with product photography, it could be towels, throws, scarves, anything to add texture and the flow! Finally, I love to use greenery and flowers. It adds an organic touch that I really love!
and lastly, we'd love to know - what's next for you?
For the last few years, I have mostly be working alone in my studio and I am ready to add more work with a team (that might be post confinement talking, here…). I find it particularly inspiring to work with a stylist and other creatives. I am also working on some digital products and online courses to help photographers grow their business!
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