Food Photography for Real

Filed under bigtime celebrity, photography

If you read my food blog, you’re probably tired of hearing about my love of Chef David Santos’s food, so instead I’ll just brag about myself and how one of my photos from his restaurant opened the “Where to Take Mom for Mother’s Day“ article in the NY Daily News:

Louro NYC

I’ve absolutely loved cutting my teeth as a photographer on the mean streets of the NYC fine dining scene. There’s something really rewarding about being stuck to a seat in a restaurant with “mood lighting” where I’m trying to be inconspicuous with my camera so the chef won’t ban me and still somehow coming out with a shot that doesn’t embarrass my good name. I think half the reason I like food photography so much is that restaurants make it such a challenge.

But. Being invited to privately photograph Chef Santos’s food is dreamy. I get to stand up, move around the table, crouch, or hold the camera above my head. I get to arrange napkins and flatware. I get to request a glass of wine from the bar to add to the background. I get to ask the owner to turn up the lights over the table if I’m having to set my ISO above 100. I get to put the plate on the chair or the bar or the floor if it’ll make for a better shot. I get to tell the kitchen when I’m ready for the next dish. And then I get to eat everything, too.

Here are some of my favourite photos from the shoot:

Louro NYC

The exterior, shot with the brand new 10-20mm f/3.5 wide-angle lens Kamran bought me just before he moved away last month. (Thanks, Kam.)

Louro NYC

The Louro interior: a little bit country, and a little bit books-all-over-the-walls.

Louro NYC
watermelon radish, baby lettuces, housemade buttermilk vinaigrette

Louro NYC
octopus bolognese, hand cut tagliatelle, goose pancetta, parmesan

Louro NYC
pork belly, uni, togarashi cabbage, shiso puree

Louro NYC
skate chop, watercress purée, watercress, meyer lemon vinaigrette, rhubarb

Louro NYC
walleye, guajillio sauce, avocado purée, hominy, onion ring

Louro NYC
lamb shoulder rack, pea-mint purée, english purée, rye berries, carrots, pea shoots, lamb jus

Louro NYC
white asparagus ice cream, strawberry compote, shortbread crumble

(cross-posted to my food blog)


  1. Cassie says:

    Won’t lie, the meeeeeeeeeeeeeee! splashed across the photo made me snort.

    Great job, friend!

    • katie ett says:

      Thanks, pal! I’m not sure why the arrow wasn’t on the newspaper version, too, but whatevs.

  2. Megan says:

    First of all, how much do you LOOOOOVE the 10-20mm? I seriously use mine ALL OF THE TIME. (Sorry, enough shouting.)

    Second, amazing! Doesn’t it feel great to get some recognition, especially when it’s doing something you love?

    (And last, as a sort of aside: Sometimes I feel like breakups aren’t such a bad thing because good things seem to follow them–like this for you. And similar things for me after mine.)

    • katie ett says:

      I’ve really only used the 10-20mm a couple of times so far, but it’s sooooooo cool. Fisheye everything!

      What’s going on with you? I haven’t seen any bragging in your blogs. (Your travel blog, by the way, is one of the prettiest things I look at all day. I just love that design.)

      • Megan says:

        I can’t wait til you start using it more and I can see more shots from it. ;)

        First of all, thank you on the compliment! I worked super hard to create the mock-up for it (perfectionist through and through) to give to the girl who coded it for me. :) And I’ve held off on the bragging–they’re all just little things: going to a Travel Blog House at the end of the month (one of 10 new travel bloggers invited to be a part of it and learn from established bloggers who run their sites as businesses); more traffic; doing lots of guest posts and such. :)

        • katie ett says:

          I took it to Grand Central the other night and was BLOWN AWAY by exactly how much you can get with 10mm. So excited to edit those pictures.

          This reminds me that I owe you a guest post. I was looking forward to writing that post, actually, and then I failed because of the life-craziness. Is the Travel Blog House that big castle-like thing you posted on Facebook? Gooooorgeous.

  3. Landlord says:

    Whoa .. you have a food blog?

    Jk, those are some great shots, and congrats on being featured in an article that was totally written by a Polish guy (which obviously means it’s amazing in and of itself). I’ll add this as another reason to hate Calgary, since I didn’t get to partake (sorry Canada, but someone needs to take the blame).

    • katie ett says:

      Just printed out the last year’s worth of food blog posts and had them professionally bound in leather for you. Waiting for you on your bed at home.

      Thank you, thank you, and I’d like to mention that this shoot happened on a Saturday when you were actually in town, so you could’ve totally come, but I didn’t invite you. I went alone while you went to the gym, and then I came home and ate eggs and bacon without you, too.

      • Landlord says:

        Oh, that’s right. Well, the damage between me and Calgary is already done, but I’ll add you to my list too.

        It better be real leather, I don’t want any of that faux shit.

    • katie ett says:

      If you mean my being picture being used, then yessssssssssssss. If you mean the pictures themselves, then thank you. I will assume you mean both, because I’m greedy.

  4. Serial says:

    You’re kind of a big deal.

    Also, I keep buying watermelon radishes when they’re available at the farmer’s market, but then I just let them go bad in my fridge. It turns out they’re pretty, but they just taste like giant radishes.

    • katie ett says:

      I vote for inviting over some of your more superficial, less discerning friends (Kinard) and feeding the radishes to them. They’ll be so impressed by the appearance (as I am) that they’ll forget to taste them.

      Or, you know, you could pickle them.

  5. stephanie patenaude says:


  6. Lisa says:

    You’re famous! I guess it never occurred to me that chefs wouldn’t want you to take photos of their food (you spy!). Makes your photos that much more awesome!

    • katie ett says:

      Thankfully, a lot of restaurants are really supportive and want to know who you are and the name of your blog. I’ve been made to feel really special some places. And then I’ve been made to feel SCORNED at others. And those are the photos I edit to look like vomit.

  7. Ash says:

    So happy for you! Hope you still have a friends fee when you’re suuuper suuuuper famous and I hire you to shoot our renewal of vows someday.

  8. Tracey says:

    That watermelon radish dish looks like a Chihuly sculpture!

    • katie ett says:

      Hey, you’re right! He should sue for intellectual property infringement. Or, you know, stop being such a jerk and just be happy with his fame and riches.

  9. Lori Young says:

    You do beautiful work honey! OF COURSE The Chefs of the universe want you doing photo shoots for them. I want to come along and be your food fluffer.

  10. caropal says:

    KATIE. I am so happy for you, and SO PROUD of you!!! This is incredible!

    I’m not good at being blase, so I’ll have to stick with genuine squeeness. (That’s a word. Now.)

  11. bybee says:

    Wonderful! Delicious art.
    I bruised my mouth on the computer screen, trying to get at all that food. Oh my.

    • katie ett says:

      I smell the scratch and sniff versions in my print store. You should at least upgrade to those.

  12. bluzdude says:

    I totally meant to take a shot of the sausage I ate outside the ballpark yesteday, but I forgot. It probably has something to do with the microscopic window of opportunity, between the time it was put in my hand and the time it was gone.

    • katie ett says:

      And that explains all of the times when the picture of a dish in my review is just an empty plate. Oops.

  13. So fancy… SO fancy! I wouldn’t even know which utensil(s) to use… um… Spork?! No?!
    Also if there was an arrow pointing at me, it would say totally not surprised. Because you’ve got ‘the skillz’, Katie. It’s only a matter of time… it’s only a matter of time…