Photographer Spotlight Sid Hoeltzell
Meet Sid Hoeltzell
Sid is a first generation American, born of Lativian immigrants who survived World War II events. He started taking photographs and cooking around the age of 8. Sid went to college to study pre-med and gave it all up for his love of photography. Chasing after his passion, Sid hitch-hiked to NYC to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and graduated magna cum laude. He became a part-time professor at FIT for four years and is currently a part-time instructor at the Miami Ad School, in Miami, FL.
After maintaining his NYC studio for many years, Sid decided to moved his studio to Miami in 1991 and pioneered to the Wynwood Miami District eighteen years ago. Sid says his clients have always given him a vast range of assignments and he loves the studio environment. He continues to photograph commercial campaigns with people, but is focusing his social media presence towards Food & Beverage photography.
Sid, you said that you started taking photos at the age of 8! Wow… why photography? What launched your passion?
Sweet mystery of life. I love photography. Maybe it’s genetic. My father told me that when he was a kid, his father used to take him along to help photograph Latvian countrysides with “glass-plates”. VERY OLD SCHOOL. Yet, when I was growing up, he never mentioned that much. My dad wanted me to follow the route of my brother who became a world class neurosurgeon. It wasn’t until I graduated from FIT, that my dad confessed about my grandfathers work… something I still have to discover in Latvia in the future.
As a food & beverage advertising photographer, where do you find your inspiration to create such captivating images for your clients?
The food inspires me. The components that make up the flavor and savory element of the dish, food, beverage… these flavors, smells, textures and visual elements have to be condensed to WxH in pixels. If I can light and capture these essential parts into my image… I have done my work.
I must say, your food and beverage images makes everything look so delicious! What do you enjoy photographing outside of your food related projects?
The food and beverages have always had my interest. When I travel, it’s about landscapes and the “touch” mankind leaves on the planet. I am a sucker for old abandoned structures and how they relate to the environment. I happen to like GoPro work underwater when I go diving. It’s fun to document the “lobstering” we do here in Miami and the Caribbean.
Out of the wide variety of lenses on the market, what’s your favorite one to use?
I love the Schneider/Phase 120 Macros, simply because they are razor sharp.
Lighting plays a major role in telling the story of your image. What are your favorite lighting techniques?
One light theory with a potential 20 degree grid spot sidelight for specular details. I predominantly use a 12” reflector on one head shooting through a diffusion panel. The reality is that every set demands its own light.
In which ways do you see your work evolving in the next 5 – 10 years?
I will be working on creating a series of cookbooks. A few people have asked me to photograph their cookbooks and I will do a series of my own… can’t say what exactly yet.
If you could have given yourself any advice when you first launched your career in photography, what would it be?
Stay close to your dreams… create images that you really believe in… images that make you happy! That’s the style you need to create. Do the work you enjoy and don’t aim for what you think are money making accounts… the work you put 110% of yourself into will be the work that generates your income.
Congratulation on being a contestant in the previous season of MasterChef! What was it like to receive your apron from Chef Gordon Ramsey?
Being a contestant on MasterChef season 9 was insane. There was 40,000 people that applied and after months of decision interviews, only 100 people were allowed to compete. Then the group was narrow down to 43. Being in the competition brought me to my signature dish. In a competition between four contestants, Chef Gordon Ramsay decided my seafood was the best. Even Chef Arron Sanchez said that my Oyster’s Rockefeller “can be served at any restaurant in New Orleans”. After Chef Ramsay gave me the pin and apron, I didn’t think I’d stop shaking for the rest of evening. He is one of the worlds best chefs with a sense of humor to complement his razor sharp wit. It was truly an honor to work with this man to better develop my home chef skills. I am blessed.
We are excited to partner with you at our upcoming Food Photography Seminar in Wynwood Miami! Can you tell us why this will be the BEST Food Photography event of the year?
It’s very simple, I will show the attendees exactly what I do to create my images. The lighting techniques, the tools that I depend on and a few simple tricks that really make the difference. I can show my secret tips, but how one uses them and remembers to use these secrets… well that’s where the value of this seminar will outshine others…
Lastly, what was special about Capture Integration that made you choose us as a partner?
The backup and continuous service that CI always brings to the table. Your expert delivery of rental products, advance notice about potential upgrades for my cameras and your deals in general. I appreciate the backup for your service and the fact that your salesman, Chris Snipes, has become such a good friend to have in this industry!
Connect With Sid
LinkedIn: Sid Hoeltzell