Wayne Mark Schafer
And his Big Fat Daddy’s Barbecue Photo Site
Wayne Mark Schafer is indeed a famous barbecue guy (he has been in over 60 publications and used to say “how dare they photograph my beef on that angle”. ) He says the secret to his success are the photographs he takes of his food. Not only does the food taste good, but he’s getting crazy with his photographs too.
He’s got to have things looking just perfect anymore or he won’t put
them on his blog. He basically uses his smart phone, and adjusts
very little with picmonkey, only to crop and give the right glare
around the photo. He’s got to take photos in the am light, in the
afternoon, and of course no one can eat the actual food or serve it
to the customers until he’s taken his photo session.
The passion for cooking shines through. Makes me want to sit down
and have a bite:)
Tell us a little about yourself and the blog you are building.
I’ve been selling barbecue and “dry rubbed beef” professionally
at fairs and festivals for thirty years. I used to have a stagnant
web-page website but my wife convinced me to go to a blog. I was
against the change until I realized I would have 100% creative
control over my photographs that were going on the site. I could
show what I do in action. Now I’m glad I did.
Why did you start taking photos of food?
I take a lot of pride in buying high quality products and take a
lot of care in grilling them to perfection. I thought my photos
should be indicative of what I sell. I see a lot of websites using
stock photos and of course I wanted real photos. The whole “grilling
show” is what you get when I come to cater at your event or show up
at a fair or festival. At some fairs I am the main attraction.
People should be able to see how lovely the food looks (and tastes.)
How are the photos helping your business?
Photos of real product help incredibly. My phone rings off the
hook. I am booked almost a year in advance with people waiting on a
cancellation list. Just to tell you, I moved my business from
Maryland to Pennsylvania and no one seemed to notice nor did it hurt my business one bit. That just proves social networking and good photographs can help!
Being a famous cook I bet you get some mouth watering
scenes! Can you tell me about some of the challenges with
Truth be told my food is searing at such high temperatures, when
the smoke coming off the barbecue pit clouds my photo shoots it
really kills my shots. A change in wind can really hamper the
photographs. I only have a quick minute to snap some shots because
people are waiting to eat and I’m under pressure to get it off the
grill, sliced and onto the flat top grill areas for serving to
How do you capture taste in a photo?
I really think that a good photograph showing details of the
crispy grilled parts, and glistening food makes the customer’s mouth
water, even though the screen. Sometimes I leave the smoke soaring
around it so that in your mind you know this is cooking, and
something triggers your senses into fake-smelling it through the
What kind of a camera and lenses do you primarily use and
how do you select your equipment?
Truth be told I have a Nikon D90, and I don’t use anything
special. Point and click but since I’m a beginner I’m embarrassed to
say I often shoot with an HTC Smartphone because I’m in a hurry.
Believe it or not I have a split second to get the perfect shots and
my phone is always there. My camera is much more complicated and I’m learning.
Can you name some tips for those who want to start their
own photo blog?
I hate to be cliche’ but the truth is just do it. You will see
your photography evolve over time and you will be in shock that at
one point, (maybe six months or a year ago) you took such crappy
photos. This is good because you are getting better. Don’t be scared
to learn or ask photographers for help. Shoot on different angles. I
don’t do a lot of editing nor use photoshop, but you can use cheapie
free programs like picmonkey for beginners who just want to see what their photo looks like with dark borders on in black and white. If I can do it, and I’m a barbecue guy, you can too!
Thanks for sharing these photos and insight. I am sure this
has helped you build your business. For the rest of us the message
If a barbecue guy can point and click, anyone can!
Check out his blog and get a “taste” of his photography