Photographer Spotlight: Yessica Duque

Posted by: on Mar 30, 2021

Photographer Spotlight: Yessica Duque
Photo Credit: Jessica Duque

I would describe my style of photography as…

Intuitive, bubbly… I don’t like to feel that I belong in a box or category. I really love experimenting with the light, elements, mood, composition… And depending on the subject I love bringing those ideas I have in mind and make them come true.

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

My first camera was a Canon 450D, belonged to my husband, I used to experiment a lot with it. In 2016 I got my first DSLR Canon 5D markIII, my loyal friend.

Back to my journey, I started as a food photographer in 2016 working for as a Visual Designer. 

We were running a national outdoor campaign vs. other food delivery companies, my manager at the time asked me, based on my “foodie” background, if I would be able to go to some restaurants in Amsterdam and take pictures of their dishes.

Although all the pics for this campaign were all about flat-lay compositions and seemed like an easy job, I remember it was a Canon 80D I had to use, I didn’t know how to operate a camera, except for the Auto mode, much less “professionally”. 

But in the end, I worked it out,  they loved the results so much they sent me to other cities in Europe to make more and more pictures and suddenly I was in Wrocław, Krakow, Berlin, Brussels, Antwerp, Vienna… Making more photos.

Why did you want to become a photographer?

From the experience of making pictures for a national campaign since day one, I loved the whole dynamic of being in and out and not sitting the whole day behind a desk, and discovering this new dimension of flavors, textures, and colors that I could capture, it was all new to me but I knew immediately that I had found my niche.

I fell in love with food photography and decided to study as much as I could and to dedicate myself to this business. My expertise in Food Photography and Food Styling is backed by Le Cordon Bleu Paris, Leiths School of Food and Wine in London, and Food Styling for Media The International Culinary Center ICC New York. Fotografía Gastronómica y estilismo culinario: KEMA Food Culture – Barcelona España

In 2018, after 2 years of working for, the work related to photography became less frequent and more repetitive. I realised I was not happy with this, and I wanted to keep doing what I discovered I really loved doing, so… I quit my day job and started my own business as a food photographer and food stylist. Leading to a whole new world of discovery.

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

Definitely my first shot as a “food photographer”, even though it was a flat-lay according to the brief,  it was my first time as well at a restaurant location during summertime. I remember that day we had high temperatures and a strong sunlight, limited resources no modifiers at all, and lack of knowledge about food styling. In the end, I feel like it all came naturally, and I managed it pretty well.

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

Hard question… Humbly I have to say there are many images in my portfolio that I feel proud of and all the good memories come back when I look at them.  I have one in particular from my beginnings, it is a dark moody minimalistic flat-lay of 3 baby Bok choy.

I remember it was autumn and the daylight that day was special, the light source was coming from the back and I helped myself modeling it in the way I imagined it with the help of some black foam boards. The result was simply beautiful and turn out to be the first picture I won in a photo contest.

My dream gig would be…

I can’t complain or ask for more, I’ve had the chance to work with terrific clients who allowed me to include my own vision and concept in their pictures. As a photographer that is a big accomplishment. Being able to feel free and work in your own style I think is one of the best things that could ever happen to a photographer.

Photo Credit: Yessica Duque

My favorite piece of gear is…

Since I shoot tethered, I don’t see my self without my orange cable connected to my laptop, it is in my gear checklist for every photoshoot.

Do you shoot tethered?

Definitely! Shooting tethered saves time, re-shooting and does away with all of the guesswork. You have a much clearer view of what is being captured, and correct it in real time. Very important when you’re working for a client with a very detailed brief.

Photo Credit: Yessica Duque

My favorite piece of Tether Tools gear is…

The TetherBlock! I don’t think I need to describe how wonderful and preventive this gear is.

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

For those who are passionate especially about food photography: Never give up, food photos are not meant to be done in auto-mode, dare to discover all the possibilities of the manual mode, try with daylight, get to know it, dominate it, and dare as well to try with artificial light with a lot of practice you can achieve wonders and last but not least, good photos are not made in one day.

Read a lot, YouTube has amazing free tutorials that could help you to step up your game.

It takes time, practice, a lot of do and un-do, and most importantly a lot of love and patience.