Heart to Heart ~ Vanessa Rees of V.K.Rees Photography

I’ve been smitten by her styling, the light in her photographs, the mood they suggest, the unique setting, the sense of place. Her photos are not just about the food, every picture is a food story in itself. I adore them. so much so that I can name her pictures just by looking at them and their style.

Chances are, you are very well acquainted with her photographs too. Most certainly so, if you are on Pinterest!


She’s the winner of Saveur’s Best Food Blog 2013 – Best Photography award. Deserves it 110%. She’s none other than Vanessa Rees, one of my most inspiring photographers.

I am so thrilled to present her interview today. Something that I have been waiting for a long time to become reality.

Thank you for this lovely interview and Hearty Congratulations! super talented Vanessa.. over to you..

What was your moment of epiphany for photography and/or blogging like?

I wouldn’t say I really had a moment of epiphany. It was more of a slow realization. I knew I wanted to become a full time photographer. I was blogging my photos and noticed my posts of food photography got the most traffic so I started doing more food related posts. One thing led to another and during that time I found my niche in food photography. It became my passion.

What do you enjoy most about photography and/or blogging?

It challenges me and keeps me shooting. Blogging has really shaped me as a photographer.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Food is about so much more than the food itself. It’s about where you’re eating, who you’re eating with, who taught you the recipe, etc. Lately I’ve been trying to tell a story with food photography. My goal is not to only to showcase the food, but the story behind it. So I suppose my inspiration comes from the stories behind the food. Like my dad and the granola post, or my mom and this Cranberry Cream French Toast post. Although sometimes it’s just about seeing something when I’m prop shopping and just knowing I have to incorporate it into a shoot. That prop becomes the inspiration for the whole post. The chair from the Chocolate Rosemary Crackers post is a good example of that.

You make food photography look so easy. What according to you is the most challenging part of food photography and how do you overcome it?

It’s really important to have a clear vision of what I want before I get started. I have to plan a lot or else I feel a little lost.

How do you manage time and maintain blog/photo-shoots and life balance?

I’m still figuring this out but basically I blog as much as I can. Business comes first though. =)

What does it feel like to be the winner of Saveur Best Food Blog awards 2013 – Best Photography?

Incredible! I’m so honored to be included with so many amazing blogs. Blogging is such a solitary activity and it’s so nice to know that people out there are actually reading. I appreciate each and every one of the people who take time to look at my site. Thank you, thank you!

When it comes to creativity in photography and/or blogging, how do you keep things fresh?

I draw inspiration from fashion or editorial shoots. I like to try to recreate moods from fashion shoots and apply them to food. It’s a great brainstorming activity!

What is typical process for one of your master photographs from start to finish?

I have a very long process! In fact I wrote a whole blog post on it, which you can check out here: http://vkreesphotography.com/creative-process-behind-the-photo-shoot/

Three things to seriously improve one’s photography from good to great

1. Find great lighting!

2. Plan ahead of time. Brainstorm and sketch before you even make the food.

3. Find a great food stylist to work with. Or do a  little research on food styling if you’re doing it yourself. =)

What is your take on post processing? What according to you is “too much”?

Hmm, I don’t think there is a point at which I would say it’s absolutely too much. I’ve seen some amazing food photography that is com-posited and manipulated like crazy. Taste is more important than amount. Post processing can become cheesy very quickly but I’ve seen it pulled off in a very tasteful way!

What is your food styling philosophy?

Every single prop should lend itself to telling the story that you want to tell. Do you want to tell the story of breakfast at a beach house? Then every prop should look like it belongs in that beach house.

A piece of advice for aspiring photographers

Do it a lot! Every day if you can. Nothing beats experience.

A few of her favorite photographs.

DumplingsCombo-re GranolaCombo-re TomatoSoupCombo-re

And here’s a lighter rapid fire round:

ingredient(s) you love to shoot  Any vegetables. Vegetables are so gorgeous.

memorable childhood meal French toast. My mom makes amazing french toast.

a food you hate to photograph Gravy

favorite food stylist Lauren LaPenna! She is my go-to gal.

an item from your bucket list 

I want to shoot Hendricks Gin someday. It’s my favorite liquor and I love their vibe.

favorite photographer Anna Williams

if not for a photographer, you’d be __?

Hmmm… I thought I wanted to be a website designer for awhile.

a photography gadget or tool you swear by Gear head for my tripod

what you would choose for your last meal Tacos

passion, creativity and ________? Planning

* All photographs on this post belong to Vanessa Rees. They have been published here with her permission.

Treat yourself to more :


6 thoughts on “Heart to Heart ~ Vanessa Rees of V.K.Rees Photography

  1. Shruti@Part time chef says:

    I adore Vanessa’s work. Her photos always have a story to tell. Her post on the creative process behind her photo shoots is a very helpful resource. Thank you Radhika …and Vanessa for this interview.

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