Finger-Lickin' Food Photography, with Mica McCook, the Austin Food Guide


According to food photographer Mica McCook, the secret sauce is more than simply visual appeal, it's connecting to how the images make you feel. As McCook likes to say, she creates cravings, one photo at a time.

McCook's photos are dramatic like telenovelas, embracing the magic of a chef's palate, and delighting in the vibrant flavors that bring dishes to life. Her approach is theatrical and bold, akin to setting the stage for a grand performance. Each element, from the decadent chocolate drizzle to the vibrant pop of a fresh herb, contributes to the culinary drama. For McCook, food is not just about sustenance, it's an experience.

In a world where fast food and quick meals are often the norm, McCook is here to remind us of the richness and pleasure of a well-composed dish, and to celebrate the chefs who create, the farmers who cultivate, and the diners who savor. As an extension of her photography business, McCook launched her biweekly podcast, The Savory Shot, in June 2022, because she is perpetually curious about the food industry and those who dwell within it.

Listen in to hear how a life-altering trip to the Reading Terminal Market, in Pennsylvania, laid the groundwork for McCook's career transition from people to food, and even inspired her unique business name of Austin Food Guide. We also discuss how her background in theater influences her flavorful photographic approach, the dramatic lighting she favors, as well as her collaborative, community-oriented outlook. McCook was recently accepted into an innovative mentorship program for BIPOC photographers led by Apostrophe Reps. Don't miss the juicy details about how to apply!

Above photograph © Mica McCook

Guest: Mica McCook of The Austin Food Guide

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Mica McCook

Episode Timeline:

  • 1:24: McCook's transition from portraits to food photography, allowing her added control and the time to think through problems that working in the studio provides.
  • 7:00: McCook's aha moment during a life-altering trip to the Reading Terminal Market, in Pennsylvania, and how she came upon her business name Austin Food Guide.
  • 11:55: Dual branding for McCook's food photography websites that appeals to large commercial clients and smaller-scale local/regional brands.
  • 14:02: McCook's favorite photographic rules to break to get fresh, crazy innovative results, and her aim to recreate Dorothy's arrival in Oz with her photographs.
  • 19:18: McCook's secret to conveying a sense of action in still photographs: Study cooking videos! Plus collaborating with chefs, stylists, and the other team members. Teamwork makes the dream work.
  • 31:22: What McCook has learned from creating and hosting her podcast The Savory Shot, and the hard lessons she's personally learned in her journey as a food photographer.
  • 37:54: Episode Break
  • 38:39: McCook's go-to camera gear: a Canon 5DS R, Sigma 24-70mm Art lens, Canon 100mm macro lens, and Westcott FJ400 strobes for Rembrandt-esque lighting.
  • 47:17: How a background in theater influenced McCook's approach to food photography as a culinary performance, plus the influence of classic paintings and fine art collections on her work.
  • 53:27: Favorite items to photograph, and McCook's biggest challenges when it comes to food.
  • 58:09: McCook's recent acceptance into Apostrophe Rep's 2023 mentorship program for BIPOC photographers, and details about the submission process.
  • 1:03:06: A vision for McCook's future career and her aspirations for upcoming clients.

Guest Bio:

Mica McCook is a food photographer and owner of the business Austin Food Guide. She believes food photography requires a curious palate and love of color, as reflected in her fresh, colorful, and dramatic style, much like her hometown of Austin, Texas. She has savored the delicious intersection of food and artistry since 2015, expertly crafting timeless art through her lens.

Stay Connected:

Mica McCook Website:

Mica McCook Facebook:

Mica McCook LinkedIn:

Austin Food Guide Website:

Austin Food Guide Instagram:

Austin Food Guide Pinterest:

Austin Food Guide Twitter: austinfoodguide

Austin Food Guide TikTok:

The Savory Shot Podcast:

Guest Host: Jeffery Fuller 

Senior Creative Producer: Jill Waterman

Senior Producer: Mike Weinstein

Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner


Excellent show, great interview format from the host (and what a radio voice!), really gave the guest lots of opportunity to speak without imposing. Will be listening to more of these shows!