Kate Francis Battersby
Kate Francis Battersby is an Auckland based Food and Lifestyle photographer.
What’s the best thing about photographing food?
It stays still… most of the time. Ice Cream doesn’t like to stay still.
What attracted you to food photography?
I had never done food photography until I got my first full time photography job with Annabel Langbein. Turns out it was a good match because food is now my ‘specialty’
Talk about some of the challenges you face when photographing food.
You need to be quite quick because it will always look its best when fresh. Also you need to make sure the light and the focus is on the right part not just the pretty part. I work with natural light so sometimes when shooting a book it is a rush to get all the shots in early enough. We can sometime get in 16 shots a day when shooting books, its extremely fun but also quite gruelling.
Do you get tasting Benefits?
YES. I have had to learn some self control over the years. I have eat my way through a few books now.
Which part of photography do you like best ie. Shooting, editing etc?
I really love the buzz of being on a shoot day. I have had the great pleasure of work with an amazing team over the years. It’s great when you can have a team who don’t take anything to seriously and can have a laugh during the day, especially when you are working multiple longs days at a time.
What do you dislike about working as a creative?
The thing I dislike I guess is really that anyone can be a “creative” these days. I find that a lot of Influencers are biding for the same work but not providing the same quality outcomes that you get from someone who actually does these things for a living and has trained. Not all, but more and more are popping up. Also I feel like it is very easy to be taken advantage of when it comes to being paid. Sure exposure is great and all that, but whats even better is being able to pay your rent.
What informs your creativity outside of photography?
I do a bit of pottery and illustration in my own time and I love the different colours and shapes that can be made. It also reminds me to slow down a bit, because they are not fast mediums. In photography I think that everything can happen very quickly and you move from shot to shot very fast. Sometimes its nice to take a bit longer to set up the shot and really think about what you are doing and what goes where. Treat the shot like a vase or a painting that can’t be fixed up in photoshop later, make everything very purposeful and deliberate.
What’s your dream project?
I love publications. I have had an idea to try and get a book on Te Rongoa (Native NZ herbal medicines) published but to have it also act as a guide. An informative, educational tool that is shot and designed beautifully.
Professionally, what is your goal?
I would love to just travel and photograph cookbooks all over the world. I would also love to do a bit more creative direction, i’ve got a lot of ideas but not all the skills or hands to be able to put them into action.
You also shoot a bit of lifestyle how do the two styles interlink for you?
I do shoot “lifestyle”, but only really because thats what the client will want. I don’t think I have any lifestyle type shots in any of my personal work. I love portraits and still life when I am doing my own thing. In terms of food I like using lifestyle photos as a context image for the ingredient or place. I think people like to feel part of the scene and that is adds another sensory aspect to the food.
Any words of wisdom that inspire you to keep going?
This last year has been a particularly hard one for me professionally, but I also find that when things are really tough it can be a good time to re-evaluate what you want and what you like. I don’t have any words of wisdom - I’m not a words person, i’m a visual person. If doesn’t look right, maybe its not, I find that relatable both in life and in work.
Find more of Kates work: