Discover the joy of food photography with Donna Crous
Here at Pink Lady®, we believe in celebrating activities that inspire and uplift, giving us those moments of wow each day.
Photography enables us to depict our own views of the world, bringing to life the small details in our everyday lives – textures, nature, light, expressions, surroundings – and capturing the beauty in every situation. We asked food photographer Donna Crous to share her passion for capturing the simplest, most delicious food on film and to share the stories behind some of her most impactful images.
After starting out sharing her love of food as a blogger, Donna discovered her passion for photography through working on her blog and in 2017 entered the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year. Entering the competition as a blogger rather than a professional photographer, Donna felt a sense of imposter syndrome, but placing third in the Food Blogger category led to a shift in outlook regarding what it meant to be a food photographer – “I realised that maybe I did actually have something that I could share”.
Since then, her photography style has evolved, focusing more intensely on the details of the food she captures without feeling the need to add so many props that distract from the hero of her images. By incorporating imperfection or creating movement – a dripping ice-cream cone or a half-peeled tangerine – Donna’s photographs evoke a sense that you can feel, hear, smell, touch or taste the subject of her images, giving the viewer the feeling of wanting to be involved in that scene. These shots often happen by chance, but she knows instantly that it’s the one. “I almost get this sort of tingly feeling all over my body when I know that that is the shot I’ve had in mind to create”. Trying to get that shot can be a frustrating process – it pays to walk away and separate herself from what she’s shooting, Donna tells us, then go back with fresh eyes and view it from a new perspective.
“Keeping my images quite simple can be really powerful”, Donna shared when discussing some of her favourite shots, the intense ruby red seeds of a pomegranate or the sugary texture and crunch of a ring donut captured on film. Though food is always at the centre of her photos, the personal connection to the image is intensified by the way Donna uses people in her food photography, often just their hands or their outline in soft focus. “Humans have this primal connection with their food. By including people, by including hands or including family members, it really helps inspire those memories of cooking with family members when you were younger”.
For Donna, photography is almost a form of meditation – “it’s quite controlled and calm actually, I’ve got to go really deep and cut out any external distractions”. When she’s not working with food, Donna, who is currently living in Jersey in the Channel Islands, enjoys documenting memories and capturing family moments on film or photographing wildlife on the game reserves during visits to her home country, South Africa. Her tip for budding photographers: “Shoot for yourself. Don’t shoot for Instagram or for whatever is trending. Shoot what you love and shoot from the heart”.