Meika Ejiasi is a food, lifestyle, and portrait photographer thriving in the Bay Area of Northern California. She loves capturing the marriage between food, people, and their current locations and ambiance. In her take on 16 Questions about One Photo, Meika shares how shadows, napkin placement, and more come together to create a photo of perfectly moody asparagus.
1. Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How long have you been into photography?
Hi! My name is Meika Ejiasi, and I’m a food, lifestyle, and portrait photographer in Oakland, California! During “normal business hours” I’m a Content Marketing Manager for an EdTech company, but during my evenings and weekends, I’m a photographer!
I’ve been behind the lens for about four years now, and every year, I pick up new techniques, lessons and an abundance of love for the art of photography.
2. In one sentence, please describe what you captured in this shot.
3. Why did you select this photo to share?
I chose this image because I thought it was beautiful. I’ve gotten feedback that it was too moody, the shadows were too harsh, the napkin doesn’t “go,” and the seasonings didn’t need to be present, but I disagree! I want to get back to sharing images that we, ourselves, personally love, not what the industry says is visually appealing! I love this image, and I want to share it with the masses!
4. What style of photography would you describe this as and do you typically take photographs in this style?
I would say this is lightly-moody food photography. The lighting isn’t balanced, due to the strategic placement of my light. I would definitely say this is the kind of food content you would get from me if I was given creative freedom to shoot how I wanted to shoot, but don’t get me wrong, I can follow a brief!
5. When and where was this photo taken?
This photo was taken at the top of 2021 in my home studio in Oakland, California. And, when I say home studio, I mean my kitchen table!
6. Was anyone with you when you took this photo?
I was in my kitchen solo-dolo! I honestly think that’s where a lot of food photography my magic comes from. When I’m creating for the sake of content creation, with no one looking over my shoulder, and some hip hop music playing in the background.
7. What equipment (hardware and software) did you use?
I used my Sony A7III, with a Sigma 35mm F1.4 which was my favorite lens at the time! I also use Lightroom for light edits when I’m shooting food.
8. What drew you to take this photo?
I was actually shooting content to share with a company for a job application. I had taken a few images a day earlier and had a chance to sit with them, then told myself that I could do better. I didn’t have to reshoot them, but I wanted to. I wanted to show the company I had range and versatility, so I took eight more photos in some leisure time and sent them in.
I got the job.
9. How many attempts did it take to get this shot? How long did it take you to get one that you were satisfied with?
I shoot tethered when shooting food, so it took me a while to style the scene, but once it was styled and I took the photo, I knew this was it!
10. Did you edit (or do any post-processing/production on) this photo?
Yes, very lightly in Lightroom. That’s also the beauty with shooting tethered. If there are any major things glaring at you behind your computer screen, you can fix them before snapping an image.
11. What encouraged you to share this photo online and with others?
I think it’s great to see versatility with food photography because food photography doesn’t have to be ONE thing. It doesn’t have to be airy and light and clean. Spill some of that pepper! Drip some of that lemon juice! Create those harsh shadows! It’ll come out great if that was your intention.
12. Did you learn anything in the process of taking, editing, or sharing this photo?
Yes! Look at the content you’ve already created and ask yourself if you’re proud of it. Ask yourself if you could do better. Most of the time, if I don’t immediately say to myself “oh yeah, this is absolutely going on my website,” I know that I can do better.
13. Do you remember what you had for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) the day you took this photo?
I don’t remember what I had for lunch or dinner on this same day, but I can say we had asparagus the next day with lunch! 🙂
14. What would you like people to take away from this photo?
There’s a range of beauty in food photography! It doesn’t have to be dark food photography or light food photography to be “correct” food photography. Light how you want to light, and style how you want to style. Someone out there will resonate with your style and appreciate what you’ve done in your work.
15. Is there any feedback that you’d like to get on this shot?
I love feedback! Without it, I wouldn’t be the photographer I am today. For all of those food photographers and food stylists out there, what would you have done to enhance this image (in your opinion), and why?
16. How can anyone reading this support your work?
Editor’s note: This interview with Meika Ejiasi is the first in a series that we’ll be doing with members of the Black Women Photographers community. Please give a warm Flickr welcome to Meika and stay tuned for more in this series!