Photography Techniques

Share Your Colors: The Very Hungry Photographer

Share Your Colors: The Very Hungry Photographer

Food photographer Ivana Lalicki shares how her passion for cooking turned into a fulfilling career.

Everyone has a unique story to share, and Shutterstock has the assets that allow you to share it. That’s why this holiday season, we’re inviting you to receive 25% off, site-wide, as part of our Share Your Colors campaign.Click here to learn more.


When Ivana Lalicki couldn’t find a decent loaf of bread near her home in Baltimore, Maryland, she decided to take matters (or, you know, dough) into her own hands. “I am from Europe, so I am crazy about good bread,” the Serbian-born artist explains.

The homemade loaves turned out so good that Ivana decided to photograph them—and soon, a career in food photography (complete with a food blog and a personal produce garden) was born.

Here, as part of our Share Your Colors campaign, Ivana reveals the best food to photograph, the dish she’s excited to try, and more.

Image via Ivana Lalicki.

I love cooking because … it’s so creative. It brings beauty and order to a home, and it means good health for the whole family.

Knotted Rolls
Image via Ivana Lalicki.

A typical workday for me … varies. Sometimes it’s very intense and I have to make a strict plan, because it’s not only about taking pictures of food but also about buying ingredients and props, making or ordering food, and styling. Timing is crucial. 

Also, you have to be quick. When food is done, it looks good only for a short time. That said, stuff like French layered cake can be shot a day after I make it.

My work ritual is to … listen to audiobooks while I cook.

Roasted Pork Loin
Image via Ivana Lalicki.

After I photograph food … my family eats it, or I share it with friends and neighbors. I don’t like to waste food.

The best food to photograph is … cookies. They look fresh even after many hours, so you can try different styling. Also, they are eye-pleasing no matter how you arrange them. There is something comforting about them.

Linzer Cookies

Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies

Star Cookies
Images via Ivana Lalicki.

A dish I’m excited to try making is … baklava from scratch. I mean really from scratch, including making phyllo dough by myself. Stretching dough extra thin is such fun!

Spiral Rolls
Image via Ivana Lalicki.

A dish I recently made and was proud of is … short ribs braised in red wine with polenta. I tried that dish a couple of times in restaurants but was unhappy with the taste. When I made it myself, I was very pleased.

I started to grow my own foods because … I just love doing thing with my hands, and wanted to be a little bit sustainable. Also, you cannot compare the taste of your own tomato with one from a store.

Roasted Trout
Image via Ivana Lalicki.

The foods I grow include … tomato, peppers, arugula, lettuce, radishes, green onions, cucumbers, Swiss chard, kale, sorrel, and a lot of herbs. I have to admit, I feel very proud to practice not only garden-to-table cooking, but also garden-to-table photography.

Stuffed Peppers
Image via Ivana Lalicki.

The colors that most inspire me are … combinations like green/orange, red/green, yellow/blue, blue/red.

When I’m in a creative rut … I shop for new plates, kitchen towels, etc. Then, I cannot wait to use them as props for my next cooking project.

Gourmet Hot Dogs
Image via Ivana Lalicki.

I find inspiration … in my travels, in restaurants, in cookbooks and magazines, and even in literature (e.g., when I read classic French authors, I just want to cook French food). 

The hardest part about the business of photography is … the time it takes to establish yourself and be in demand, as with any creative work.

Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie
Image via Ivana Lalicki.

My advice to aspiring photographers is … develop your skills and experiment. Be patient. If you are a good photographer, at some point, you will start to get opportunities.

Cover image via Ivana Lalicki.

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