Howard Shooter

Food Photographer
London, UK

Howard Shooter believes good food photography should make the viewer hungry, which he certainly achieves for big commercial clients and magazines alike. However something which puts Howard in a league of his own is his own hunger for entrepreneurism. Alongside a stellar photography career, Howard runs his own food photography studios with new video studios on the way. He also has a profitable stock image business that sees his photos put on everything from calendars to bed linen.

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How long have you been a photographer?
Over 20 years
Who or what got you started in photography?
Started as a hobby when I was 12 years old.
What have been the highlights of your career to date?
Establishing one of London's busiest food hire studios, creating a licensed brand with my business partner Lauren and working with wonderful creative clients from all over the world. Being in the final of the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year, 4 out of 5 years...
Who are some clients you work for now?
Wagamama, M&S, Subway, Mail Online, Mission Wraps, British Airways, KFC, BBC Books, Weetabix, Alpen, Hellmans, Lypton Iced Tea, Grey Goose Vodka, Bombay Sapphire.
How would you describe your style?
According to my assistant: controlled, food orientated, fresh, graphic, foodie, colour themed, deliberate, very much about the light... it's always about the light.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
Being trusted to contribute to companies rebranding strategies and creatively executing those ideas into visually branded identities. Working with wonderfully creative and lovely teams of people.... Oh...I love, love, love food!
Was there a turning point in your career, when things started to take shape?
When I learnt to say no! Making the shoot work on your terms is exceptionally important. e.g. the right amount of shots, the right budgets and the right creatives....not necessarily in that order.
Have you had a mentor or an advisor in your career? What did they teach you?
My dad who is now semi-retired was an exceptionally talented and successful businessman and taught me a lot about work ethic and being customer/client orientated. Also my old boss is a control freak (in the nicest possible way), who taught me a lot about disciple and technical creative control.
What would you recommend to someone just starting their career?
Shoot, shoot and shoot... too many people are equipment focused and don't shoot enough test shots. Also take creative risks and don't follow the crowd... One old teacher once taught me that work is mainly interesting or boring rather than good or bad... I would rather see a technically bad interesting shot than a technically brilliant boring shot.
What have you struggled with in the past and how did you overcome it?
Like most photographers you struggle with creative insecurities, of course money and trying to position yourself in a saturated industry exactly where you want to be. All of these are very tricky to overcome and these struggles never go away... you merely learn to cope with them.
Finally, what has been the best piece of advice you have ever received in regards to photography or business?
You only compete with yourself, think what the client would want.... is it you?