Food Photography – Shooting for Zagat

A few weeks ago I received an email from my photography agency asking me if I was interested in working on a project for Zagat: the project involved going around to the best restaurants in D.C. and shoot some short videos of the restaurants and their food. I think I must have thought about it for a half second before I shot an email back “I’m in!”

The project extended to about 30 restaurants in DC, and the work was divided between 3 photographers, so let me tell you that the last 3 weeks have been really busy… I ran up and down the District to shoot at 14 different locations for Zagat. I did however get to see a great side of the restaurants, visiting most of them in the off-peak hours (when they had some – some are just always full), and often got to meet managers or long time bartenders that would give me a very detailed history of the location, its staff, its meals, etc. And boy does the word Zagat open a lot of doors… I have just finished shooting my last 2 locations, and if those were some of the most hectic and intense weeks, they also were a lot of fun.

I got to meet the most prestigious chefs, learned a lot about the history of those restaurants and DC in general, witnessed a private concert rehearsal and even participated in an impromptu wine tasting. Oh, and I forgot all the food. My god, so much delicious food. I typically try to eat before I go shoot at a restaurant (nothing is worse than shooting food when you are starving), but most restaurants insisted that I at least try, and some of it packed it up for takeaway (to the greatest joy of my husband, who was getting slightly frustrated to hear me rave about all the food when he was stuck eating at his work’s cafeteria everyday). I met some incredible people and next time some friends come to visit the district and they ask “where’s a good place to eat around here?”, I will definitely have an answer for them…