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Matt Armendariz
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Matt Armendariz Speaking the language of Food photography

Food has fascinated Matt Armendariz since childhood. Growing up in a large Mexican-American family who gathered every day for dinner, Matt equated food with “love, safety, warmth, community and Family" from an early age.”

“Capture One Pro 7 is absolutely the complete workflow liaison tool for me between my camera and computer.”

Food has been intertwined with Matt’s professional career for more than 20 years -- as a freelance graphic designer who designed packages, posters and point-of-sale materials for the food industry, and then as an art and creative director for Whole Foods Market.

He took up food photography in 2006 when he acknowledged that the final shots he was seeing were not matching up with the kinds of images he was envisioning. “I was hiring fantastic photographers, food and prop stylists and assistants but I would come home after a long shoot involving weeks and weeks of thought and preparation and find that the photos were not quite what I wanted. It was no one’s fault but my own.”

So he decided to become his own photographer and turn his distinct vision into reality.

Purely self-taught, Matt regards the studio as his continuing education classroom. “Having worked with numerous photographers and art-directed several hundred photo shoots over the years allowed me to absorb the mechanics of lighting, set construction and file management. And my design background has absolutely helped me when it comes to knowing about theory, color, proportion and how to tell a visual story.”

Know how to Cook!

Finally, knowing how to cook, which he calls “imperative for food photographers,” rounded out his transition to photographer. “Once you know the properties of food and the scientific process behind it, you can then learn how the camera understands what’s ultimately being viewed and how you can nudge the viewer to see the best parts of the food.”

Matt will shoot in either medium-format digital or DSLR based on the specific parameters of each job. “I’m happy using any camera because I like the challenge of different systems’ functionality depending on what I’m looking for and trying to convey.”

“When it came time to invest in my own system, I worked with Ryan Galloway of Capture Integration's Los Angeles office. Being a highly regarded Phase One dealer, not to mention the outstanding support and service they deliver, made it an easy choice for me. And in case you haven't guessed, I like working with nice folks who love what they do. That's Capture Integration to a 't'.”

No matter what camera he’s using, Matt’s loyal sidekick on the image editing side these days is Capture One Pro 7. He first became acquainted with Capture One Pro during his art-director days when he used it for file management to organize the images photographers would send him from numerous photo shoots.

As a photographer, Matt initially used multiple software programs – including Lightroom and Photoshop -- to view his shots and do the necessary editing. After three years of this “time-consuming and difficult balancing act between different editing programs,” he turned to Capture One Pro 6 for more and more of his editing tasks, “but there were times when I felt that I still needed to use Photoshop.”

Enter Capture One Pro 7

That need has been eliminated with Capture One Pro 7, which Matt describes as “the [editing] language that everyone speaks” and which “changed everything” for him. “Not only is it a great application for getting my images from the camera to the computer, but its editing capabilities are just so intuitive and user-friendly that I shoot tethered when I’m in the studio because I can see my images immediately.”

Matt points to Capture One Pro 7’s “speed-of-use” as a welcome addition. “I work a lot and am continually going from one job to another. Being able to name my files as I’m shooting them, applying the data, exporting in various sizes to create structured folders and sending my clients -- who may be in remote locations – links so they can see what we’re doing in the studio is fantastic. Streamlining the process lets me enjoy what I want to do which is photographing.”

Capture One Pro 7 recently came to Matt’s rescue for a major lifestyle shoot he was doing. “I had about two hours of daylight to get the shots that I needed. The fact that Capture One Pro 7 allowed me to see everything in real time and to apply settings as the shots were coming in was really powerful. I could continue to work and simultaneously know how the images were going to look to achieve the right shots. Without Capture One Pro 7, I would have had to stop, take the file and upload it to another application to check my shadows and histogram.”

Color is crucial to food photography

Another Capture One Pro 7 feature which Matt heavily depends upon is the color toolkit. “Color is crucial to food. It shows us when it’s done, when it’s gone bad. So color accuracy and having the ability to tweak or play with an image’s color is very important. Capture One Pro 7’s color tools allow me to do fine-tuning – to accent colors in certain instances and mute in others -- all in one really strong editing program compared to before when I’d have had to go into different applications to make my color changes.”

While Matt agrees that the addition of the Catalog to Capture One Pro 7 for file organization and viewing is another strength, he prefers using Sessions “because I generally keep things organized by client. I love having everything in one folder.”

Capture One Pro 7 has become such an intimate part of Matt’s work life that he’s opening up old jobs edited in Capture One Pro 6 and Canon Digital Professional and importing them back into version 7 simply so he can take advantage of the software’s color features and overall editing capabilities. He’s even editing his iPhone pictures in Capture One Pro 7. “I just like the way that Capture One Pro 7 works.”

“Capture One Pro 7 is absolutely the complete workflow liaison tool for me between my camera and computer. It’s really the only thing that I need. I’m very happy that I’ve found a solution that lets me enjoy what I do and not be stressed by technology.”

Matt Armendariz took up food photography in 2006 when he acknowledged that the final shots he was seeing did not match the images he envisioned.

See more of Matt's work at mattarmendariz.com or check out his blog at mattbites.com

© Matt Armendariz
© Matt Armendariz
© Matt Armendariz
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