10 Questions: Matt O (Matt O Photo) | Mukilteo, Washington – 2017

01/14/2017 - 08:38


Matt O is a freelance photographer and food stylist that specializes in food and portrait photography.

You can often find his work in print as he’s shot for Seattle Magazine, uberEATS, and the Stranger.

Matts work is eye-catching as it is mouth-watering.

His images are impressive, even more so when you consider his studio quality work is most often shot in the field with only a few pieces of equipment.

In our conversation he discusses, the importance of shooting clean, the benefits of portraits versus food photography, and why dSLR photos are bad for capturing family moments.

Matt was kind enough to participate in the following interview:

How long have you been a photographer? I’ve been a photographer for four years.

Before that, I had worked in restaurants forever and my first paid food photography gig was at my restaurant – Tablas Woodstone Taverna in Mill Creek.

I still do freelance work and have been shooting with uberEATS for the last year as they expand to new restaurants around the area.

Every day is totally different, which I love, since I’m bouncing around from restaurant to restaurant that each have their own unique lighting situation, plating, and food presentation.

What kind of gear do you use? Since 95% of my work is with uberEATS every week and I use the same style for each shoot, I use the same gear for nearly every shoot:

Canon 5D Mark ii
50mm F/ 2.5 canon macro lens
Manfrotto tripod
Bowens strobe light
X-Rite Color checker card

How did you discover photography? I’ve always wanted to try photography out and so I took a class while attending UW and boom – loved it.

How would you describe your style?  I don’t like a lot of clutter in my shots, so they’re usually really clean and typically pretty tight shots of the food, depending on what I’m shooting.

Not so close that it leaves you wondering, “What the hell is that a photo of?” but close enough that I don’t feel the need to fill the shot with a bunch of extra unnecessary props just for the sake of having them there.

What does photography mean to you? I love doing food photos because I love food. But I really get a lot of warm fuzzies when I do family portraits (with real, actual, in-edible humans) and they fill the walls of their home with my photos.

I know that those photos will be in their family for generations and it brings me an incredible amount of job satisfaction knowing that.

What makes you reach for your camera? Most often? My kids. My wife and I have a two-year-old and a 10-month-old, both boys.

I no longer use my DSLR to take candids of the kids around the house because then the RAW files end up sitting on my hard drive waiting to be edited and get put on the back burner for months until I get around to them – much to the chagrin of all the grandparents.

Is there any subject matter that you off limits to you? If so, why? Nope. Whatevs.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos? Not to worry about the small things that nobody really cares about or even notices.

I remember when I first started, during the editing process I would endless go back and forth – Does this look better in black & white, or color? Does it look better if I desat it this much or that much? Is it slightly too blue or does it need less blue?

The little endless tweaks would would drive me crazy, as well as my wife. I finally realized that most people (including my poor wife when I called her over to check out my laptop screen every 6 minutes) don’t even notice those things.

I learned that it was my job as the photographer to choose which one I liked the best and eventually it began to form my style and the way I shoot today.

What is one question nobody has ever asked you—that you wish they asked you? If I’d like a shoulder rub. Because yes, yes I would.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?When someone graciously offers you free food to take home, whether you like that food or not, for God’s sake just take it.

You can keep up with Matt and on his site, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Revert to Web View
Next Post Previous Post
Color examples
Choose background