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June Featured Photographer: Tanner Townsend and Pedro Sousa

Date Published: June 2, 2021

Experience Dutchess' culinary scene through this month's featured photographer! Learn more about how this local duo captures these mouth-watering photos, what their ideal weekend in Dutchess is and more. 

1. What is your name and where can people find your work? 

Hello!! We are a photography and food styling team made up of Tanner Townsend and Pedro Sousa. You can find our work on our website, www.hvfoodphotography.com, our Instagram, @HVFoodPhotography, or on some of your favorite restaurant’s social media like The Crafted Kup, Hudson Taco, Slate Point Meadery, Billy Joe’s Ribworks, FitSocial, The Pizza Shop, and more!

2. Describe your perfect staycation in Dutchess, or your idea of a fun weekend in the County 

We love the HV and as it probably comes as no surprise, we are huge foodies! Our perfect fun weekend is exploring new towns and finding new and amazing restaurants, breweries, and wineries! Not only do we love experiencing new culinary adventures, but you never know where inspiration might strike for that perfect food shot!

3. What equipment do you use in your photography? 

Our primary body is a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon 5D Mark IV as a backup. When shooting food and restaurants, we will always reach for our 2 trusty go-to lenses: Canon 24-70 f/2.8L and the Canon 100mm Macro L. For lighting, we are in love with Westcott’s new FJ400s and their Rapid Box softboxes- they make creating the perfect light so easy!

4. What is your favorite place to photograph in Dutchess and why? 

The Hudson Valley offers so many diverse options for photographers- it’s almost impossible to pick! We have been very fortunate to create images with many amazing restaurants in Dutchess County, but one of our absolute favorites to work with is FitSocial! The staff is always amazing and the food is so vibrant and beautiful- it always makes for a great day of shooting!

5. Do you have somewhere on your list that you want to photograph in Dutchess, but haven’t gotten there yet? 

All of our food work is done inside restaurants or in our studio, but we would love the opportunity to shoot for Willow and The Amsterdam in Rhinebeck and The Culinary Institute of America, especially because we are both graduates! Outside of our food and restaurant work, we love to style and shoot portraits and have been dying to grab some iconic shots in one of the amazing sunflower fields that speckle Dutchess County! Hopefully this year the season won’t slip by us again!

6. Give us a few photography tips 

No fake food. When we shoot food, we always use real edible subjects, nothing fake about our photos, but it is our job to make food look even better in-camera. It's amazing how a little spritz of water or a slight turn of a garnish can make all the difference! Take your time and think through your shots, imagine what would make you hungry when you are scrolling Instagram!

Shoot wider than you think when framing your shots. Once you are editing the images, it is often too late to reshoot the scene, so by pulling out and shooting wider you will always have the option to adjust and recompose the shot in post. There have been many times this has given us the ability to take an OK shot and turn it into an amazing one!

Don’t be afraid of the light! Most photographers just starting out will rely on natural light because they are nervous or intimated by flash and strobes. Natural light is amazing but unfortunately, it limits your ability to create based on the time of day and the weather. By using flash and strobes, you will find that you can create the exact look you want anytime, anywhere! Once you have a base understanding of off-camera flash, it will open up a whole new world of creative possibilities! Remember: Light is light is light!

Camera technology is ever-changing and constantly getting better and better but don’t get too worried about what gear you have. Well-known photographer Chase Jarvis summed it up pretty perfectly saying, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.”  You can create stunning images with pretty much any camera, even your phone, just remember the basics and look for that perfect angle!

Always shoot RAW. Editing is definitely the less flashy side of being photographers but maybe the most important! If you are shooting in JPEG, you lose a huge amount of your editing capabilities. While it does mean that every photo you take needs to be post-processed, the benefit is SO worth it!

Chef Pedro Sousa & Tanner Townsend are the Poughkeepsie-based food styling and photography team behind HV Food Photography and graduates of the Culinary Institute of America.

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