Ashleigh Amoroso is paving the way for food photography in Austin.
By Sloane Wick, Photos by Ashleigh Amoroso
Becoming the Food Photographer
Ashleigh Amoroso launched her food photography career with the help of a good friend, a firm understanding of what she didn’t want to take photos of and a bit of luck.
“I knew I didn’t want to do weddings. So, people were always like, ‘Well, how will you make money?’” Amoroso says with a small laugh.
“I had a friend who was a food blogger, and this is back in like 2007, when food blogs were really kind of becoming a thing. She was creating a cookbook with some local Austin chefs, and she asked me to do photos. That’s when it really kind of took off.”
Though Amoroso had worked most of her career in other forms of photography, she quickly fell in love with food photography.
“It’s so special because it’s my art capturing someone else’s art,” she says. “There’s so much beauty in the food…It tells so many stories, and it can always make you feel like you’re a part of something or there’s a camaraderie in it, or like a togetherness, and I just love it so much.”
Amoroso’s talent and passion for food photography evolved as she developed her own distinct style of shooting.
“[It’s] enticing,” she says with a grin. “I want to invite you to the table, I want to make you hungry. I have this one photo. I took it so long ago, but it’s of pancakes, and it’s got this…drippy syrup drizzle. Every single person who’s ever seen that photo in front of me has said, ‘Oh my god I’m gonna eat that.’ And I’m like, yes! Because that’s exactly what I’m going for.”
Ashleigh Amoroso Studio
While working in Austin, Amoroso found herself running into the same problem over and over again. Photography studios didn’t have kitchens, and kitchens didn’t have photography studios.
“I saw a hole in the market,” she says. “So I just decided, when the opportunity presented itself, to build exactly what I was missing.”
However, the process proved more difficult than Amoroso originally thought.
“I had been looking for a studio for so long, and I was just running into so many roadblocks,” she says. “Everywhere I was looking either didn’t have a kitchen, or it did have a kitchen, and it wasn’t commercially zoned.”
Eventually, Amoroso found her perfect location on Congress Street and created a full downtown studio, complete with everything a food photographer could wish for.
“I built in a shoot kitchen and a prep kitchen. So there’s a separate space where the food stylists can have their own space and work. Then there’s a space [with a]prettier styled backdrop and all that,” she explains. “I have a full prop library. It’s a one-stop-shop. You can come in, you can set up your food and, ideally, I have everything that you need.”
“Also we have a parking lot, which is wild [in Austin],” Amoroso adds, another playful grin on full display.
After creating a food photographer’s dream, Amoroso decided to open her studio up for rentals.
“I’ve always felt like collaboration over competition,” she says. “I go back to the trouble that I was having. Also knowing and being in touch with other kitchen creatives in Austin and knowing that this was also a struggle for them. So I love having this place to offer to them.”