This post is part of a series in which we interview successful makers on how they built their business. Today we are interviewing Food photography, Joann Pai.
Joann Pai is a food & travel photographer in Paris, originally from Vancouver, Canada. Joann started taking photographs as a way to document small moments in life, mostly surrounding food, and continues to explore how food brings people together and keeps them connected. She has been published in online and print publications around the world, most recently in Air Canada’s EnRoute Magazine. Her clients include: Shangri-la Hotels, Relais & Chateaux, various tourism boards and restaurants. Her work has been featured in notable publications such as Forbes, The Telegraph, and Huffington Post. Website – Instagram
What is the name of your business? And what do you do?
The name of my business is Slice of Pai, it’s a play on words of my last name, Pai! I’m a food and travel photographer based in Paris, originally from Vancouver BC.
When did you start your business? What inspired you to do so?
6 years ago I took a leave from work and booked a plane ticket to Paris for 3 months, with no agenda. During my stay, I was inspired by the food in Paris and spent a lot of time cooking and photographing only to share with my family and friends back home. That’s where my passion for food photography started developing, and I’ve been eating cold food ever since!
Joann will be presenting during our live online workshop, The Business of Food Art on November 8th.
Did you always know this would become a full-time business?
No, I never thought it would be possible to work as a photographer. To me, It was one of those dream jobs. I’ve never worked in the food industry or as a creative. I was working full time for the Canadian government and started shooting for clients in the evenings and weekends for years before I transitioned in doing it full time.
What kind of clients do you work with?
I mostly work with food & beverage businesses, editorials, and tourism boards.
How did you find your first few customers?
Through instagram! I was sharing food photos on instagram, not knowing what instagram would become. One day, a business owner in Vancouver asked if I would photograph her banana bread.
How many different services do you offer? What type of services do you offer?
I’m a commercial and editorial photographer and also do social media campaigns.
How do you come up with new ideas? What inspires you?
Travel has been my biggest inspiration. I love experiencing different cultures and discovering new flavors, textures, architecture, and photographing in different light.
What type of marketing activities have had the biggest impact on your business?
Social media has had the biggest impact on my business. It’s allowed me to have a steady platform where I can share my work and grow my network.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own food photography business?
Having a presence on social media is really beneficial these days. It’s a great way to share your work and network with potential clients and other professionals in the field. It also adds personality behind your brand.
Are you interested in food photography? Joann will be presenting during our live online workshop, The Business of Food Art.
Everyone who signs up will get access to (3) hour-long sessions, daily email lessons and a Facebook group where you can connect with other creatives.
The live program starts November 8th. Don’t worry if you are unable to join live. All of the sessions are recorded, and you will get lifetime access to the content.