Nikki To’s first shoots involved helicopters – an interesting challenge as she is “kind of afraid of heights”! Becoming a food photographer was an unlikely progression from her original plans to be a human rights lawyer, but her eventual career path led to her work appearing in Broadsheet, Gourmet Traveller, the Qantas in-flight mag and even Swedish Gourmet magazine.
After assisting industry veterans such as Daniel Boud, Petrina Tinslay and Anson Smart, she went solo: framing portraits of famous chefs (Jamie Oliver, Marco Pierre White) and local talents (Analiese Gregory, Clayton Wells, and she’s taken possibly the best picture of Mitch Orr, ever). Nikki has ended up directing her lens at the tabletops of acclaimed local restaurants (Automata, Quay), as well as shooting New York during a hurricane.
We talk about the weird tricks and props that are used in photo shoots (lube, steaming tampons) as well as the extreme lengths (or heights) she’s gone to, to get an amazing shot. Think awkward positions with Adriano Zumbo or enduring freezing waves to shoot Nic Wong underwater.
Plus: her favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney, how to get a good shot when people don’t like having photographs taken, and her advice for getting into the industry. Look out for Nikki’s work on Instagram, online and also via her new business, Buffet, which she’s set up with her former Broadsheet editor, Sophie McComas.
You can listen to this episode on iTunes or download it via RSS or or directly. And thanks to everyone who has said nice things about this podcast or even dropped a kind word or two in the iTunes Store – it makes all the crazy late-night editing sessions worth it!