Photographer Spotlight: Lauren Short

Posted by: on Aug 07, 2020

Photographer Spotlight: Lauren Short
Photo Credit: Lauren Caris Short

I would describe my style of photography as…

I would describe my style as minimal and bright. I love to let the food take the spotlight in my shots with only enough props to add to the story. Whilst I’m not a food stylist, I love styling food by combining my knowledge of photographic principles like composition techniques and color theory to create impactful images. When I’m working with clients, I make sure to spend time with them creating mood boards to make sure their vision is fully captured and we both walk into the shoot excited to create the end product.

What was your first camera, and how’d you get started in photography?

My first camera was a Nikon D5200, which I used for about 2 years before switching to a Canon 80D, and now a Sony A7iii. Each brand definitely offers something different, but I really feel like I’ve found my home on Sony! I was working a full time corporate tax job when my photography journey started. I’d always loved art and specialised in portraiture during my A Level art studies (particularly charcoal pencil drawings), so my love of still life began years before I picked up a camera. While I was still working in my corporate job, I started a food blog which I worked on at the weekends. What I didn’t expect at all from that experience, was to fall in love with photography more than anything. I couldn’t stop learning and inhaling information about photography, while shooting more and more. The evolution then from food blogger to food photographer happened quite naturally as I started shooting for more clients. I’d call it a happy accident in that I stumbled upon food photography quite accidentally, however between finding food photography and today, are years of hard work, study and practice!

Why did you want to become a photographer?

I have always been a creative person, but I also have a very strong logical, technical side to me that loved maths and sort of thrived in my tax job. What was missing for me in the corporate world was any chance to express any sort of creativity. In photography I found a way to combine both, creating work I love that challenges me every time, but also soaking up the technicality of cameras, light, physics and post processing. Being able to take my business was, as cliché as it sounds, a dream come true.

What’s your most memorable shot or shoot, be it challenging to capture or interesting subject?

Hard one! Every shoot is so different, and I try and push myself to keep myself challenged often. Probably the most memorable was the first shoot I did with artificial light (strobes) when I actually finally understood what I was doing and how it worked. It was a (no pun intended) lightbulb moment that has moved my career on in leaps and bounds. I almost exclusively shoot with flash now and I’m totally in love.

What image are you most proud of from your photography portfolio?

This chocolate cake shot with a cocoa powder sprinkle action is definitely the shot I’m currently most proud of. It was one of those shoots where everything came together perfectly. I composited several images in post-production to combine the best shot of the cake with that specular highlight, with the best action sprinkle.

Photo Credit: Lauren Caris Short

My dream gig would be…

A cookbook! Without a doubt I would love to work on a big project like that, capturing the stories of recipes from an author beginning to end. One of my favorite types of images to work on are series of images that tie together either through a common ingredient, theme or color. It’s a great challenge to be creative and consistent at the same time.

My favorite piece of gear is

Assuming my camera and lenses are excluded, I’d have to say my studio strobes. Artificial light has transformed my workflow and my photography and opened up so much creative freedom. Natural light is beautiful, and I still shoot in it often, but I love the extra fun things I can do with flash (like capture frozen action motions!).

Do you shoot tethered?

Yes, always! Tethering has been a part of my workflow since I discovered it was a thing! Tethering allows me to be present in my scene, actively moving things around and watching my composition live, rather than making a small change then having to go back to my camera, 100 times per shoot. It speeds up my workflow and allows me to get better results every time.

My favorite piece of Tether Tools gear is…

My Aero Table. Being able to have my computer eye level while I’m working has been a game changer for my joints. I have a connective tissue disorder which mostly affects my joints, and being able to have my computer in a place that I don’t constantly have to bend and crouch gives me far more time on set before I get a back ache! The health benefit isn’t the only reason the aero table is my favorite though, my having my screen tethered on a stand, it makes it easy for me to move it around to show clients the scene live and quickly spin it back round to my view to keep on working.

What’s on your photography gear shopping list?

What’s not?! Well… seriously I’m currently looking for a C stand with an overhead arm to be able to capture tall flatlays without my tripod taking up most of the floor of my small studio, and a second camera for filming in-studio tutorials for Food Photography Academy.

Photo Credit: Lauren Caris Short

The best advice I can offer a fellow photographer would be…

Invest time learning the technical side of photography. Go beyond manual mode and learn more about the physics and behavior of light, having that understanding will allow you to make creative decisions without so much guess work. And more holistically, don’t compare yourself to others, it’s a slippery slope from inspiration to just getting yourself down. Keep your eyes focused forward on your own work.

About Lauren Short

Lauren Caris Short is a British food photographer based in Zurich, Switzerland. She’s worked with brands and clients all over the world, and has had work featured in magazines globally. Lauren is also a food photographer educator and teaches food photography through her website and YouTube channel. She’s taught thousands of students through her food photography courses which she runs from Food Photography Academy. Follow her on Instagram @lauren.caris or visit her personal website