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Conversations with Megan Morello

Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Morello. 

Hi Megan, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My journey to food photographer was definitely non-linear. As a kid, I always gravitated towards photography and was lucky enough to have a camera, but my love affair with photography began in earnest while living in Chile for a couple years and traveling throughout South America. Everything I experienced was just different enough to be completely fascinating. The garbage man announced his arrival by striking a steel triangle. I would wake up to the megaphone chant of “Naranja, NaranjAA, NARANJAAA,” coming from the neighborhood fruit vendor on his bike. Incredible empanada stands and fish markets provided some of my favorite meals to date. Observing and capturing the nuances of day-to-day life in an alternate hemisphere quickly became an obsession. 

My formal education had been in nutrition, and when I finally returned to California, I ended up working as a nutritionist for nearly a decade. I was regularly photographing food and recipes as a part of my job, but it took years for me to realize that food photography could be a career in and of itself. While I mostly enjoyed my job, I longed for a greater degree of creativity and flexibility. I worried about looking back and regretting not taking more risks. At the end of 2018, I quit my job and went all in. I’ve been slowly and steadily plugging away at it since then. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It gets easier and easier as time goes on. There is so much effort invested in starting a business; now, a few years in, it feels like many of the tiny seeds I’ve planted along the way are finally beginning to sprout and grow. With small incremental wins come little boosts in confidence that are so critical. All that said, the pandemic years have been wild. At the outset of 2020, I wasn’t sure I’d get any work or survive, given the state of the hospitality industry. Luckily, I managed to pivot a bit and create lifestyle/product work with food adjacent brands- dinnerware, cutlery, ceramics, and even a cookbook. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As a food and drink photographer, I document any step of the food journey from plant to plate. This may entail capturing growers and food artisans in action, to styled food shoots in my home studio, or on location. I specialize in making photographs for social media, websites, advertising, and editorial projects. Working with socially-conscious brands that are taking active steps towards nourishing the well-being of their respective communities is always a bonus. 

My work has been described as simple and polished. I love including prominent shadows as part of the composition in the images I create. But more importantly, getting to know my clients and learning a bit about their stories is one of the best parts of my job! A natural desire to connect and a genuine curiosity allows me to explore a client’s motivations and ultimately to better execute their vision. 

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
This is such a long list! My family who is constantly expressing their belief in me, former coworkers who encouraged me to follow my creative dreams, fellow photographer friends, my business consultant, Julie Skarwecki, who critiques my business practices with kindness, and of course, the clients that have believed in the value of my work and who have entrusted me with creating images for them. 

This has been a team effort the entire time. Going out on your own can be so liberating and, at times, lonely and a bit scary! I am so grateful for my community. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Michelle Bowen Photography
Megan Morello

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