Silicon Valley is much more than technological companies — some of the best dining in the world is to be found here. Thanks to California’s robust agricultural and winery sectors, the culinary scene in NorCal is out of this world. This means you’ll need top-tier creative partners to make your brand or restaurant — whether it’s a fine-dining establishment or mom-and-pop shop — stand out from all the others. Take a look at our favorite San Jose food photographers of 2020!
1. Nancy Ingersoll of The Creative Resource
Nancy Ingersoll offers San Jose and beyond one of the most comprehensive creative resources. She specializes in graphic design, photography, and hand lettering, as well as teaches workshops on all of the above. We found her food photography especially top-notch because her graphic design chops shine through in her work.
Her vibrant images have a tidy, organized composition with bright white diffused light that doesn’t overwhelm the subject. Overhead and side views let us explore not only the colors but textures and emotional qualities often invoked through macro views of food. Plus, she pays close attention to the shapes of food items and dishes, informing her thoughtful approach to this genre of photography.
Food and family photographer Christina Gavin is one of San Jose’s top photographers in both genres. One aspect of Christina’s style we love is that it’s consistent across the genres she shoots. Be it wedding, food, or portrait photography, she loves bright highlights and a slightly desaturated color profile. Both of these elements exemplify modern wedding photography, as well as looks fantastic with her artfully arranged food presentations.
From preparation-style images like seeing baked goods on a rack to the image of the finished item about to be enjoyed by patient children, Christina’s photography is a celebration of milestones like weddings and birthdays, as well as the meals we share that reaffirm our bonds.
A a brilliant commercial photographer, Alissa Pagels shoots not only food images but editorial, lifestyle, and portrait photography. We find that the latter genres inform her approach to food photography. Her images have a simple, refined elegance that uses moody lighting in conjunction with the elegance of a curved glass or bowl to showcase a drink or meal.
Rather than going for busy overhead shots of a table spread, Alissa shows us an image carefully curated for maximum appeal. Backgrounds are also extremely well chosen, sometimes including lifestyle elements, such as the crystal-blue waters of the ocean. Her time spent as an in-house creative in the advertising world truly shows up in her compositions.
Originally from Lima, Peru, Paul Ferradas grew up in San Jose and shoots food and product photography, as well as portraits, across the Bay Area. Having spent years traveling and exploring the works of iconic photography masters like Mario Testino and Raphael Mazzucco, Paul now uses his own well-developed style to impress clients. Planet Beach and the Golden State Warriors are just a couple of the local household name brands that have recognized the value of Paul’s vision.
His food images range from advertising images showcasing specifically a brand, such as Siggi’s yogurt surrounded by ripe fruit, to images that emphasize a dish, venue, or both. Paul is flexible in using both subdued tonalities and bright, punchy color palettes — whichever best suits the needs of his clients. He’s also no stranger to showing the efforts behind the scenes, with chefs in motion adding to the story of the dish being featured.
5. Kyle Chesser of Hands On Studio
Kyle Chesser is the owner and chief creative behind Hands On Studio, a San Jose photography outfit specializing in a diverse set of photography and videography services. While the studio’s food photography caught our attention, Hands On Studio also provides architectural, portrait, lifestyle, and concept images — and much more! That said, Kyle’s punchy closeups of food, such as hamburgers overflowing with ingredients and sauces, intermixed with table spreads of artistically laid-out fine dining dishes shows the flexibility of his brand and vision.