March 28, 2016

Ellie Baygulov: Food Photographer of the Year

2015 Stocksy Awards, celebrating the best in the biz. The Stocksy Awards celebrate photographers across twenty-one categories who produce truly outstanding work that not only takes our breath away, but pushes the industry forward. Visit to check out our 2015 winners and the awards show video. Keep your eye on the blog for interviews with all our winners!

Inspired by the simplicity of everyday life, natural light photographer Ellie Baygulov strives to capture the everyday beauty of Northern California and beyond.

// What was your path to becoming a professional photographer?

I got my first DSLR camera after graduating from high school. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life yet, but knew I didn’t want an office job. I wanted to choose a more creative path for my future and a few years later I decided to pursue photography full time. I started my career photographing kids and models but later realized that I was constantly drawn to food photography and the process that goes into it.

// What’s the story behind your winning image?

I would say I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to cooking. I often try new recipes and love to develop my own. That particular day I decided to make some beet chips with no intention of photographing them. After finishing the chips and eating half of them I picked up the camera to snap a few images.

// What has been the greatest influence in your work?

I love images with a story, when people can feel some kind of emotion just by looking at them. One of the influences in my work is trying to capture the story behind the photo by creating scenes and working with light.

// What creative projects are you currently working on?

Ever since deciding to focus on food, I’ve been challenging myself to learn more about every aspect of it. I not only enjoy photographing the food, but cooking it as well. To me, shooting food becomes more personal when I spend hours in the kitchen preparing it. It’s been an ongoing project that I’ve enjoyed and look forward to seeing where it might take me in the future.

// How do you stay motivated to shoot and create?

I’ve struggled with motivation for the longest time. Not having a specific goal to work towards was part of the problem I think. After developing a schedule that worked for me, I was able to find that balance between work and family. Concentrating on food photography really helped keep me motivated because it made my goal very clear; it drives me to be better at what I do. I constantly push and challenge myself to become a better photographer.

// What is the creative community like in your hometown?

I’ve only met a handful of people here in Roseville that I’ve worked with on projects, but I’m still fairly new to the area. I’m hoping to grow my connections and meet more creatives locally.

// What are you currently excited about?

I’m excited about the future. Although I’m learning to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now, I can’t help myself and think of what it’s going to be like in the next 2-3 years. I have some goals I’m working towards and I look forward to seeing them come to life.

// What does winning Food Photographer of the Year mean to you?

It means a lot, especially because there are so many great nominated photographers whose work I admire. I remember watching last year’s awards thinking to myself: “How great would it be to win next year!?”

// Anyone special you’d like to thank who has contributed to your success?

My husband. He has been my greatest support and biggest critic. And of course, Stocksy. It has really been the motivation kick I needed to get where I am today.

See Ellie’s full collection >

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