Micheile Henderson's Still Lifes Are Good Enough to Eat

Welcome to Hero of the Week, an ongoing series sharing stories from some of the best photographers in the Pexels community.

Micheile Henderson's food photography stood out to us right away. Her food snaps aren't just capturing delicious meals — they're creative still lifes featuring food, flowers, and more.

Based in Rotterdam, Micheile describes herself as a photo enthusiast who's always loved photography but just got more serious about it recently. We look forward to seeing where she takes her still lifes next.

We talked to Micheile about how her daughter inspires her work and how she trains herself to look for visual inspiration everywhere.

Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile · View Photo

Pexels: How did you get started with photography?

Micheile: I've been taking photos for as long as I can remember.

But in the last few years, especially during the pandemic, I've really worked hard to improve my skills and take more successful photographs. Especially in terms of lighting, composition and visual interest.

What camera gear do you use?

Until recently I used a Canon EOS 550 D, aka EOS Rebel T2i. It broke during a shoot a few months back, and I replaced it with a full frame Canon EOS 6D Mark II.

I currently only shoot with the 50mm 1.8 lens. but will be adding to that ASAP. I also use a tripod, and a c-stand with tethering cables for almost all of my food and floral photography.

What's your favorite type of photography to shoot?

My favorite type of photo to shoot is still life, especially food or flowers.

They're the images that catch my eye when I am browsing social media feeds. I always wanted to be able to take the sort of photo I would also save on Pinterest, or like on social media.

I've recently starting working with hard light and shadows, and I love it! You'll be seeing a lot more of that from me soon.

Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile · View Photo

What inspires your photography?

What doesn't inspire me? Haha, almost everything inspires me.

Anything from a magazine cover, an interior, flowers growing on the side of the highway, or how the light casts onto a surface.

I've had to learn to filter my inspiration and narrow it down so I can more easily focus on my projects. Otherwise I feel overwhelmed with ideas.

Tell us about your favorite photo on your Pexels profile.

Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile · View Photo

I have a few favorites for personal reasons, but picking one favorite for multiple reasons it would have to be the Strawberry Ice Cream.

For one reason, because it's not ice cream. It's a mixture of hair conditioner, food coloring, and corn starch.

I'd never attempted to work with fake food, in fact most food photographers that I admire don't work with fake foods. Still I wanted to give this a try, and I'm quite content with the results. It's fooled a lot of people!

Who are some other photographers or artists who inspire your work?

My daughter Cierra is who inspired me to take better photos. To stop simply clicking images — to start paying attention to the details, composition methods, and things like depth of field.

If it wasn't for her gorgeous photos I may have never started troubleshooting my own photography. I took photos of the same subjects as she did, but my photos didn't contain the visual interest that was visible in her photography.

Linda Lomelino is hands down my biggest inspiration when it comes to food and floral photography.

I love her portfolio work, her work for her blog Call Me Cupcake is so dreamy, and her videos are such an inspiration to see. She's a creative genius when it comes to storytelling.

What's one piece of advice you would give someone who is new to photography?

Master the art of observation.

Seeing is obviously an important part of a photographer's skill set, but still it is underestimated, and often not trained. You need to consciously train your sight; the more you train, the easier it will be for you to take successful photos.

If you observe your surroundings you'll discover how light falls at certain times of the day and during certain seasons. You'll take notice of how that light can be manipulated. You'll see how light bounces, gets absorbed, and reflects creating specular highlights. You'll pick up on how the angle in which you shoot can compliment your subject — like a layered subject looks more appealing when it is shot from the front so you can see the layers.

When you're sitting on a terrace and observe your surroundings you'll notice that a drink has more visual interest when the light is coming from behind, rather than in front. You might discover when cutting cookie shapes from rolled out dough that the shapes on the surface with missing dough are just as appealing, if not more appealing, for telling a story of baking cookies as the cookies themselves.

I train this everyday, sometimes when preparing our meals, sitting in the tram, or on my walks — I take mental notes of what I see. This helps me in planning, styling, and troubleshooting my shoots.

Pexels Heroes is our invite-only community of the top photographers on Pexels. Find out more and apply to join here.

Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile · View Photo

Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile · View Photo

Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile · View Photo

Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile · View Photo

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Written by the Pexels Team · Aug 06

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