We catch up with Kate Metzner, uber-talented photographer who spends her time between The Cotswolds and London…
So Kate, how did you get into photography?
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a camera in my hand! I recall in college I was always the one with a camera. And family trips, it was always me asking the family to get together for a picture.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I started to pursue a career path in photography. I started by photographing events/birthdays for friends. Although I loved shooting people, I felt pressure (since I was not a professionally trained photographer) to shoot bigger events.
That’s when I decided to start shooting food. As a self-taught chef and avid home cook, I was constantly inspired to shoot the dishes I was making. This was the gateway to my first paying jobs as a photographer.
I shoot for food companies in the USA. They would send me their products, and I would shoot them at home (in my makeshift studio). That turned into me doing recipe development, recipe testing, stylist, and photography. It was a package deal! Then my other job started to pick up with travel, so I started doing travel photography.
Where did you train?
I never got professional training in photography – all self-taught!
What’s your favourite thing to take photos of.
People and food. I know this is an odd combo, ha ha ha. I love shooting portraits. I am endlessly inspired by emotion, and whilst shooting portraitures, I can tap into this element as a photographer.
Also food. I love shooting tangible things that I can also style. There is so much precision and finesse that goes into producing an organic and authentic food shot. I love the simplicity of a shoot of say, a leek, yet the complexity involved in the composition, lighting and staging. I almost only shoot in natural light, so this is another element to consider.
You take amazing food images – what do you love to eat?
Thank you! So I have been plant-based for about 5 years now, so I eat loads of fruit and veg! I also have a massive sweet tooth, so always up for baking cookies, or when I’m feeling extra sinful, I eat the cookie dough raw (which is ok when you are vegan – no raw eggs!).
I am currently hooked on chia pudding. Chia seeds, raw cacao powder, maca powder, instant coffee, a little maple syrup, and some cashew milk. Let that sit for an hour and wow!
Do you have a favourite restaurant or bar in the Cotswolds?
Yes! The Wild Rabbit! I first stayed there years ago, on my visit visit to the Cotswolds and FELL IN LOVE! The restaurant is one of my favourites. I have never had anything but an amazing experience!
You come from LA – lovely to have you here – how did you choose the Cotswolds as your new home?
I am actually based between London and the Cotswolds now. Over the years I have stayed in Poulton, Cirencester, Amberley, and Stratford Upon Avon. I really have been so lucky! I now call London my primary home, but up to the Cotswolds frequently for work and seeing friends!
How do you describe the area to your American friends?
“Like scenes from the Holiday” ha ha ha. They get it right away. They all know how much I love it up here. Coming fro the craziness (and traffic!) of LA, they are all so envious of the laid back and ‘slow living’ lifestyle.
I also tell them that the mere act of having your morning coffee is pure bliss. The lovely cottage I stayed at in Amberley had this sun room over looking the valley, and every morning I would have my morning coffee out there. There was simply nothing better!
How have you been dealing with lockdown?
That’s a weird one. Its a day by day situation. I am originally from Vancouver, BC, so at the start, I was grappling with the decision of whether or not I should go back to Canada, but pleased that I decided to stay here.
All my family are healthy and safe back home, and I think I would have gone stir crazy by now sitting back in Vancouver. I have really turned back to my roots of shooting recipes. I live alone, and with a lot of food companies sending me food to shoot, I find myself with endless supplies of amazing food! I have been toying with the idea of finally doing my own cookbook!?
For anyone wanting to become a photographer – what would three pieces of advice would you give?
Don’t worry about not being technically trained. At first I felt so intimidated by photographers who knew everything about all the different “terms” and camera settings.
But the truth is, even the most famous photographers in the world don’t know how to fully use their camera. Its all about the feel; your eye. I walk around and can see a picture even before I have time to bring the camera to my face. Photography is all about feel – not technicalities.
What’s your next project?
I am so excited to shoot a cookbook with a well know chef (based in the Cotswolds actually!) Im not yet at liberty to disclose more, but the book should be out by the end of the year! Really really exciting stuff!