Meet Andy Grimshaw, a seasoned photographer with a journey that began at the age of 11 when the allure of a TTL camera sparked a lifelong passion. From sketching ideas in a notebook to capturing award-winning shots, Andy's creative process stands out. With a portfolio featuring renowned brands like Heinz and Costa Coffee, he shares insights into his unique approach and the dynamic world of food photography.

How did you end up behind the camera?

When I was 11 we were on holiday with another family, my dads friend was a keen amateur photographer he had a TTL camera, this magic box just made perfect sense to me when I looked inside and I was hooked.

Can you describe your creative process when conceptualizing and planning a photo shoot?

I like to get away from the work phone calls and e-mail as its difficult to deal with and get inspired when you have ‘work’ to do. I always have a note pad and pen with me, I love to sketch and make notes of ideas and work out compositions as loose drawings.

What is the story behind the winning shot? What inspired you to capture it?

I was on holiday enjoying the sun relaxing with the family by the pool when I started to sketch out the idea of the egg and soldiers. Eggs are just so graphic and the juxtaposition of the chunky solider made a great epic scale - then we just had to make the image more foodie!

What made you want to participate in these Awards?

The Production Paradise awards are globally recognized with great photo judges - also being featured in the awards has opened new doors and opportunities for me.

What is your favorite piece of equipment or photography gear, and how does it enhance your work?

My most loved piece of equipment is my old manual Nikon 35mm - I just love the moment of analog capture and the anticipation of waiting for the film to process - I guess that’s what’s called nostalgia.

However my favourite piece of equipment used every day is my Sinar P2 large- format camera I use in conjuncture with a PhaseOne digital back. This allows me to put movements on the camera to alter the plane of focus by independently moving the lens or digital back. I learnt this as an assistant and at college and converted this to digital 18 years ago using, this camera gives me the control I need.

You have a very specific style – do you think it’s important to keep it consistent?

I haven’t deliberately chosen to make my work look a certain way or style I think a certain type of aesthetic just appeals to me and comes out through in my work.

What do you think is necessary to become a successful commercial photographer?

Your own thoughts and opinions and a strong sense of how an image should look, a sensible business head - literally does this decision make sense? You don’t need to be an accountant, just make sure you hire a good one instead! One of the most important things is to be ‘nice’! Sounds crazy but its easier to get your second job with a client if you are nice - then you are on the road to a career.

What do you like the most about being a food photographer?

Working together to find a creative solution with the team, everyday is different.

Are there specific types of food or drink that you find particularly interesting or challenging to photograph?

I love the fact that every day has a different challenge and solution to lighting techniques or how we work with the food with the home economist - there is never a dull day in the studio!

In terms of challenges - Big Cheesy Pizza pulls!

Pizzas can be a tricky thing to light they need lots of light to make them look fresh and hot but most importantly you need an amazing food stylist! You can’t shoot what’s not in front of you - you really have to work as a team to get the best out of the image.

Do you prefer working for big brand campaign like Heinz and Costa Coffee, or personal projects? How is it different?

I love to do both - the big brands come with technical challenges lighting composition and working as a team with the home economist and assistant to get the best solution for the client, it keeps you on your toes and you get paid!

Personal projects are purely your ideas so that rough sketch in the note book that you have been thinking about comes alive and the beauty of that is the image is captured when you feel its right, just you and your gut - like being back at college.

Do you have any upcoming projects you'd like to share or discuss?

We have been fortunate to be very busy this year, we have a couple of new global ad campaigns about to come out which is really exciting - not sure how much I can say about them at the minute though. We also have a really exciting shoot coming up with full on model making, set building and ice sculpture.

Deep gratitude to Andy Grimshaw for providing a glimpse into his creative process and sharing the story behind his winning shot in the flavorful realm of food and drink photography.