Vanessa Wu

Published 10/7/2017


What’s your background? Did you study photography?

I studied Photography and Graphic Design at school and then went onto Carrington Polytech to do a 2 year Diploma in Photography. After that, I worked for a Commercial Advertising photographer full time for 3 years before venturing out on my own.


How did you get into food photography?

I started out as a still life photographer but was also passionate about food, so it was an easy transition to combine the two together.
Food and stills are my preference but I can shoot anything.


You do both studio and location work - do you bring a different approach to each?

Same aesthetics apply - only your gear and lighting may change due to what's required.


What was your first camera, and what equipment do you shoot with these days?

Nikon FE2 was my first camera. 
Nowadays, I use Canon 5DmkIII, 5DsR or Medium format Phase One XF IQ3 100mp.


Do you enjoy cooking? Have you ever tried to recreate any of the creations after the shoot?

I love cooking and entertaining. I only wish I had more time to do it more often. And yes I’ve tried to replicate many recipes from editorial pieces that I've photographed because it always looks and tastes great. 


Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing?

I don’t have anyone in particular I look at.  I like looking at all genres of art, design and photography. Doesn't matter whether or not they are professionals. Sometimes even something really abstract can spark off an idea.


Do you get to have a bite after photographing the food items? 

On most jobs we are always lucky to taste or have some leftovers to sample. Gone are the days when you had to use lacquer and fake sprays on food.


What has been your greatest professional success and biggest setback?

Greatest professional success - is that I’m still shooting and loving it. Biggest setback is doubting your ability to keep succeeding. 


Are there any tricks to making the food look great? Do you work with food stylists?

Yes I always work with professional stylists. There is definitely an art to making food look great, especially when I shoot advertising work - it is particularly crucial. We can sometimes spend half or a full day on one shot so requires a lot of experience and patience.


Your dream project?

Wouldn't have a dream project as such. I'd be happy with shooting more moving footage.

What do you see yourself doing in the next 10 years? 

Still shooting stills and hopefully a lot more moving imagery.

Advice for an aspiring photographer looking to follow your footsteps?

It is an incredibly hard business to get in to and to keep going in this day and age where budgets are tighter.
Stand out from the crowd by narrowing down what you love to shoot and become really good at it... better then anyone else.
Also understand how to decipher a brief and be able to execute it well.

Insta: @vanessacwu

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