San Francisco is celebrated for its scenic views, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, vibrant nightlife, and fabulous food. With a plethora of fine wine and quality produce available, local chefs are constructing some of the world’s most sumptuous dishes.
The City by the Bay, with its proud, storied food culture and equally colorful, grandiose history, warranted an equivalent food photographey scene. And they undoubtedly got that, with the San Fran food photographers cooking up one hell of a storm.
At Wonderful Machine, we define food photography as “a product or an experience, including showing it being grown, prepared, served, and consumed.”Every punctiliously selected food photographer on this list is a virtuoso of their craft. Who simultaneously embodies the true spirit of this wonderful city. There are certainly no flashes in the pan to be found here!
Now let’s dig in to the list of San Francisco’s seven best food photographers. And with this in mind, be prepared to eat with your eyes!
With over 25 years of experience as a food photographer, Ted Thomas (aka Zero Cool Studio) approaches every job with inspiration, enthusiasm, flexibility, and professionalism. Previously, Ted worked as a chef in numerous restaurants before becoming a photographer.
Thanks to his prior role, he has intimate knowledge of the sensory experiences a dish has to deliver and a profound in-depth understanding of the idiosyncrasies that the demanding industry has to offer. A really advantageous perspective for any client. Whether it’s a location shoot with a big crew or a simple set in his studio, Ted especially loves the collaboration that comes with creating something unique. And this passion shines through in his portfolio.
Throughout his career, Ted has maintained fruitful long-term relationships with his clients. Winning various awards for both his still and motion work. Safeway, Sur la Table, Lagunitas, Starbucks, Cowgirl Creamery, Chronicle Books, Insight Editions, McEvoy Ranch, Cost Plus World Market, Sunglass Hut, Discovery, and Amazon, are just some of his vast and loyal clientele. As a result of his exceptional flair for creating fresh, distinctive, and engaging work that culminates in truly beautiful food imagery.
Angela Decenzo adds a dash of spice and wonderment to the sumptuous San Francisco food photography scene, with her genuine curiosity and compelling imagery.
Master of her craft, Angela thrives in capturing authentic moments and details that encourage us to appreciate the beauty of life and the variety that encompasses it — creating polished imagery with a nuanced, natural touch. Her photographs find the perfect balance between striking yet refined.
She gives attention to every fine element and highlights the richness and splendor of the foods she shoots. Angela’s calm and fair manner, combined with her professional expertise, gets the job done to a high level every time.
Her work consistently conveys a rejuvenating sense of curiosity and explores the details that make life and her photography genuinely remarkable. A true chef-d’oeuvre!
Meg Smith is a jewel in the crown of San Francisco’s food photography scene. And with good reason. Her imagery is a beautiful blend of unfussy elegance with authenticity. Resulting in a truly compelling and sensitive portfolio.
She approaches her photoshoots in a refreshingly organic manner, inspired by light, color, and a sense of place; she creates images of natural beauty. Meg’s delicate approach exudes San Franciscan sophistication. Letting the food do the talking, the pièce de résistance if you will!
With a clear and authentic ideology and a joyous, communal approach, Meg is one of the most coveted photographers in the San Francisco area. And she is reaping the fruits of her labor. Her third cookbook shoot “Gather, Casual Cooking from Wine Country Gardens”, with over 300 of her images, was awarded the 2021 Independent Publisher Cookbook Award.
Before venturing into food photography Barry Schwartz was a professional carpenter and contractor. Consequently working closely with all kinds of designers. Meaning he has an innate understanding of how to create and design a project from inception to completion. Vital tools needed in the food world!
He is enchanted by the processes of producing beautiful imagery that possesses meaning for the viewer. The result is a captivating viewing adventure; the growling of your stomach can be heard two streets over after viewing Barry’s work!
Barry has his fingers in many pies, teaching workshops, photographing in architecture, interiors, landscape architecture, hospitality, portraits sectors, and documentary assignments for editorial and commercial clients.
And is an ideal partner for any client looking for an authentic and compelling food photographer. Thanks to the human element and passion for gritty elegance that he brings to his craft.
San Francisco food photographer Colin Price brings forth the carefree nature of the West Coast with his bright colors, earthy textures, and realistic lighting.
On every project, he leaves a bold, kaleidoscopic, classic mark with a slight twist and a palette that enhances his photography’s clean, time-honored quality.
As shown in his imagery, Colin is a very dedicated and detail-oriented photographer. In particular, one who doesn’t give up until he finds the perfect angle and lighting for his shots. He infuses clients’ work with his outstanding personality and exuberance. And uses his experience and ability to showcase food’s most joyful qualities.
His photography emits a genuine, wholesome home cooking essence — taking you on a nostalgic trip to your treasured family cookouts in days gone by. That highlights the love and care that go into making something hearty and delicious for loved ones.
The price is always right with Colin.
His love for visual storytelling and cultural adventures has made JJ Casas one of the top San Francisco food photographers. JJ’s use of overhead shots and textural details empower the viewer to feel connected to the stories he tells through his beautifully crafted food shots.
He is an extraordinarily focused and detail-oriented photographer that brings boundless vitality and enthusiasm to his client’s vision. This, combined with his powerful narrative, makes him a prized asset to any customer looking to tell an inspirational and memorable message through their images.
And it’s not just the imagery that JJ is serving a profound impact with; his work with “Kitchens Without Borders,” an initiative to support immigrant- and refugee-owned businesses. And this worthy cause really bestows his work with extra emotional and social-related context.
Furthermore, JJ is also the Creative Director of 8:45a. A photo and cinematography production company serving startups to Fortune 500 companies.
The work of Chava Oropesa has profoundly enhanced food photography in San Francisco. His love for photography and food, and even the packaging it comes in, emanates through his work.
Growing up in Mexico City filled Chava’s life with a colorful culture that powerfully influenced his special design style and photography. Not a stranger to pops of color and dramatic lighting, Chava will go above and beyond to get the most striking shot to enhance the foods aesthetic. The result is a stunningly delectable portfolio!
Chava’s result can launch brands from inception to application – whether it be photography, web design, social media content, or packaging design. Highlighting his versatile aptitude and sincere desire to fulfill his client’s every requirement. The icing on the cake of an already impressive photographer!
Our list of the best food photographers in San Francisco should provide plenty of viable options in your pursuit for an appropriate shutterbug. Each listee delivers a distinctive taste and mastery to photoshoots, with their works being as scenic as the city! And we are confident they will bring home the bacon to any client’s concept.
We hope it heightened your interest as well as your cravings!
See more San Francisco food photographers on our Find Photographers page.
Learn more about Food/Drink photography on our Intel Blog.
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