My name is Jennifer Bravo and I’m a professional food photographer in Portland, Maine. I have a serious love for vintage housewares/food styling props and own an online store called VIAND Vintage

What’s a typical morning like for you?

My typical day is a 5:30 wake up call by my youngest daughter Ruthie. I’ll try to put her in front of a book or pull her into bed with me so I can try to get 30-45 minutes more of shut eye before the day really starts to roll.

My oldest daughter Lila wakes up around 7:30 and hopefully by then I’ve had a cup or two of coffee. My husband’s already gone for work by now and the girls and I do the delicate dance of getting out the door for school.

From here I’m either on my way to the grocery store for food items for photoshoots at my studio, or I’ve already packed my car with gear and props and am on my way to location for a shoot.

If I’m in my studio I then spend the day preparing food, styling, photographing, cleaning, editing, and submitting! It can sometimes feel like a whirlwind but I love the chance to see it all from start to finish.

My husband’s a carpenter and usually home by 4pm, so I love to meet him home and have a moment before we grab the girls from preschool at 5:30. Sometimes we’ll grab a beer at Austin Street or Bissell Brothers, but usually one of us will go to pick them up a touch early to have a little bit more family time before the nighttime routine sets in.

If it’s a good day, I may have dinner with friends or a family beach picnic planned. But most nights it is dinner at home, a family show to decompress and put our feet up, then bedtime for all. We’re all pretty pooped by 8:30!

“The Ellis can work for you all day, and then be dressed up a bit to wear into the night. I’ve worn them from a photoshoot during the day to a quick change into a linen dress with earrings and my Ellis clogs. Easy!”

What’s your favorite thing to photograph?

Food stories! And by that I really mean, people enjoying people around a table of delicious food. I love to capture small dinners or other people’s recipes.

“Like my workhorse lens I am always photographing on, my Ellis clogs have become my workhorse shoe I’m always wearing.”

What’s your dream photography gig?

My dream photography gig would probably be international travel to capture imagery for a cookbook or some special story!

Any advice for aspiring photographers who want to work for themselves?

Find a subject that interests you but also challenges you. Focus your time there.

You can compare yourself to other people’s work, or you can observe other people’s work.

The latter will serve you in so many ways, while the former will keep you stuck and anxious.

Never do a job for free (unless it’s a loved one and you want to!). It doesn’t matter how green you are. Your photos are valuable, your time is valuable. If you want to work for yourself you have to truly believe those things. A paying job will come if you make room for it. It all snowballs from there.

What camera do you shoot on? Do you have a favorite camera you’ve ever used?

I shoot on a Canon 5D Mark IV and call my prime 24-70mm my workhorse, because it’s the lens I primarily shoot on.

It’s funny how all your cameras kind of become your babies. I’ve pretty much loved every camera I’ve ever used, because at the time it always seemed like the best ever! My favorite for sentimental reasons is my entry level Nikon D series that all my college girls friends went in on for my 20th birthday. I had started a food blog in college (R.I.P. “the gourmetour" ) and was taking pictures of green smoothies and kombucha cocktails with a point and shoot on a white washer and dryer in our kitchen in 2009. They upgraded me big time and I love them for it.

What Sanita Clog do you wear, and why?

The Ellis! It’s comfortable, practical and beautifully made.

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