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Life & Work with Debbie Romero

Today we’d like to introduce you to Debbie Romero.

Hi Debbie, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I can trace the beginning of my interest in food photography back to 2012, when I was freshly graduated and on a six month marketing internship in Lima, Peru. Since the dollar went far at the time, I was able to dine at award-winning restaurants and fell in love with the artistry that went into the flavors, plating, and presentation of typical Limeño fare. I continue to go back every year to visit family but mostly to visit the amazing culinary scene. On one particular trip a couple of years later, I decided to bring my new DSLR camera that was gifted to me by a friend. I knew nothing about how to use it and shot on auto mode for most of the time. I’m pretty sure a lot of my shots were blurry, and the composition was not so great, but I became obsessed with trying to capture the details and aesthetics of the beautiful Peruvian dishes I encountered. I was hooked! For several years, photography was something I did for myself, mostly when traveling or at home practicing. It wasn’t until a year and a half ago that I started my Food with Deb Instagram account and started documenting Austin restaurants and really challenged myself. I am humbled to have been asked to work with restaurants, brands, media agencies, and bloggers in this community- and honestly surprised they reached out from the get-go. I have a full-time job as a nonprofit event manager that I enjoy immensely but being able to have this outlet has been so wonderful! That is how I started! I am excited for the opportunities to shoot more food and network with others. I look forward to growing alongside the ever-changing environment that is the food industry and hope I can help a couple of folks along the way.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The majority of my online presence so far has been during the pandemic, so taking pictures of food in to-go boxes got old pretty fast. Plus, it was challenging to make food look appetizing in that format; I had to get very creative. Going to restaurants early on was out of the question and budgets were cut for everyone. My heart also broke for those establishments who were struggling or forced to shut down, so it wasn’t easy. I helped when I could, but it was a tough year for restaurants. I would say another challenge is getting the courage to ask friends and family to join me when I wanted to shoot something. My shots come out so much better when I can make it look more organic and like you are just grabbing a bite with a friend, especially when they are holding food up. I was pretty shy at the beginning but have now owned that part a little bit more. Plus, they usually get a free, albeit a little cold, meal.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I would say I specialize in producing bright, lively and colorful food photos for Austin restaurants. My aesthetic is vibrant, and I hope evokes a sense of fun. I know it’s not for everyone, but I enjoy the sense of happiness my photos exude. I also believe this is what sets me apart. I see a lot of colorful food feeds but not always at a higher quality. I provide food reviews of my favorite spots in town but find the most joy when a business finds my photos useful for their own social media channels. My favorite moment thus far has been seeing my photo at this neighborhood taco food truck. They redid their trailer and included a big print out menu with my photo on it. They were so appreciative of it, and it just made my day. I go back in forth between calling myself a blogger and food photographer. In reality, it’s a mix of the two.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I’m not sure if this is surprising but one of the more frequent complaints, I hear from food bloggers is editing and it’s the opposite for me because I love editing food photos! It is a very relaxing process that I look forward to.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Anna Kay Photography, Debbie Romero

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