Romantic, playful and lovingly designed table arrangements that invite you to linger as well as mouth-watering delights – when we recently scrolled through our Instagram feed, we stumbled across young Christiann Koepke from Portland, who masters the art of fascinating thousands of people with her food photography. The images in her feed are selected carefully, full of delicious recipe ideas with her own mouth-watering variations and affectionately arranged table settings. We wanted to know more about the young talent and contacted Christiann. In our interview, we talked with her about her path of becoming a professional photographer as well as creative director – she shared some insights about her daily work strategies and the pros and cons of being a freelancer.
“My followers are like family. The time they choose to spend with me is deeply appreciated.”Christiann Koepke
To start things off, tell us a bit about yourself and where you come from.
I am a passionate Portlander who was born and raised in Montana. Although it feels likes the digital and social space is literally its own world, one could also say we all live there as well. My profession is centered around three things that I love: photography, food & recipe curation, and creative direction. Needless to say, this is my dream job.
Let us be a part of your dream job and tell us a bit more about how you work.
How I work has changed over time. As you grow in this business, you understand the responsibility you have to your followers and partners. My followers are like family. The time they choose to spend with me is deeply appreciated. I now structure my workweek to ensure I can consistently deliver the quality content they are accustomed to.
Who introduced you to photography and food styling? Why did you decide to share your photos with the rest of the world?
There are a few items that I keep to remind me of my Dad. One of them is his camera. He was my first introduction. In my adult life, I have been blessed to cross paths with many talented photographers who took time to share constructive feedback that helped me improve my skills without losing my point of view.
I must say that it is always a compliment to be considered a food stylist. However, I don’t see myself that way. I do however see myself as a Creative Director because my goal is to bring the beauty of food and “moments” to life, which means it may not always look “perfect” but it will look beautiful and delicious. My journey with this began when I was working as an event planner. That job came naturally to me because dinnertime in my family was an “event”. I continued that tradition by hosting dinners for my friends when I moved away from home. Preparing a room, table and meal is for me a fun labor of love. Being an event planner, you have endless opportunities to be creative.
I decided to share my photography with the world because as a Millennial that’s what we do. I can’t help but share beauty with my friends and family. I am so thankful for our digital age and the ability to contribute to a global creative community.
When did you start blogging and sharing your work and how has it changed your life?
I started my own website in the middle of 2014 and social was a natural progression. Launching my blog, becoming intentional about creating, and sharing beauty changed my life because it became my profession. Without knowing “it” would ever be “something”, I fell in love with my craft. Over time, it naturally expanded and through hard work and dedication, my life has become more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.
How did your career develop?
Slow and steady. I am incredibly blessed to have people in my life who believe in me, champion me, challenge me, and run with me. They also remind me not to compare myself to others. This helps me enjoy my journey even when there are hurdles to face. There is no “one” pace or speed for a career. My career is still developing because I am always growing, and always intend to be. So – you will have to stay tuned… 🙂
What are the pros and cons of freelance work?
Every job has pros and cons. A pro point of Freelancing is that it literally gives you “freedom” to manage your own schedule and direction. A con of Freelancing is the exact same as the “pro.” Sometimes when you have a lot going on, it’s nice to have someone to tell you what to do. When you are Freelancing…you don’t have that unless you hire someone. And on that note, building a team and hiring is definitely an inevitable part of brand growth. It’s an exciting and stretching part of the journey.
What is your favorite thing to cook or bake at the moment?
I have been doing a lot of experimenting with the sumac spice lately. I plan to share more with my social community soon. They certainly keep me on my toes. Keep your eye on my site and social to see how it turns out! In the meantime, my annual free ebook has some of my favorite creations. Download it when you have time – I think you’ll love it!
How does a typical day in your life look like?
Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. Just kidding…sorta. My day always starts with coffee and because I am so obsessed with it, it is a big part of every day. To me – a warm drink in hand offers a sort of comfort and calm before the craze of the day begins. As I mentioned, my work week is pretty structured, so what I am doing depends on the day of the week. Normally after my 1st cup of coffee, I go to my laptop to look at my plan for the day and check email before my morning social post. Planning has become more important to me, so the days I am in my photography studio or kitchen are a nice break from my laptop.
Where do you get your inspiration? What motivates you?
My inspiration comes from life and the world around me. This is why I love to travel. It motivates me to think differently. If you’re on a budget, you can travel in your own city. Go to places you have not yet been. Put yourself in environments with people who don’t look like you. I know someone who is adamant about that as a way of life, so I have made it point to do that as well. No matter where you go, there is an inspiration all around you – if you look and are willing to get outside of your comfort zone, you’ll discover more than you realize.
Do you have some exciting projects in 2018? What can we expect from you this year?
Yes! I am SO excited to have more product photography requests, as well as décor and travel projects this year to name a few. As a Creative Director, my ability goes beyond recipes and beautiful table settings so these exciting opportunities allow me to showcase my other skill sets. This is why I am perfectly fine with slow and steady growth. Life just keeps getting better.
Follow Christiann Koepke to witness her amazing food imagery. Her inspiring personality and talent to capture the beauty of food have indeed left a mark in the community and we will make sure to keep up with her future adventures and successes.
*numbers current at the time of writing
Copyright: All images are copyright protected and property of Christiann Koepke.