Our ad agency friends in Chicago have a BBQ client. The art director on the project asked around, "where can I find the best BBQ photographer?" David Morris Photography was their choice. It was a two-day project to get all the styled food shots and product packaging completed. For the styled food shots they wanted a warm dramatic editorial look. This seems to be the food photography trend currently. The end results were pleased clients, some great photos, and a fun shoot. What more can you ask for?
We recently had the pleasure of shooting for our friends at the Golden Arches again. Over the years, we've shot a number of projects for them and this happened to be the second new product launch we've worked on. Back in the day, we shot a new sandwich called the jalapeno burger. It was spicy!
This recent shoot was a little different from what we'd done in the past as we were asked to capture stills and video of the new BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. The client also wanted us to create a more relaxed, real environment for this project.
To keep the project streamlined and consistent, David chose to shoot the stills and video with the same lighting. He didn't want to change from strobes to continuous lighting, and we were able to accomplish this by using some brighter lights and a shallow depth of field.
In addition to ensuring the lighting was consistent, another challenge we were presented with was to show the product steaming hot in the video. We discussed a variety of ways to do this, but in the end, we just used real steam.
The end results – another successful shoot and happy clients. What more could we ask for?!?
We created a Kansas City looking BBQ joint in the studio!
Shooting handheld stills to add to a more "real" feel to the imagery.
Piping steam in from the back of the sandwich.
Steam, steam, steam!
Our Food Stylist putting the final touches on the product before we start shooting video.
Using our skater to capture nice, smooth moves.
Checking the focus.
The client, Food Stylist and David examining the details on the large monitor.
In our second installment of this series, we're highlighting what it takes to work on a new food product brand launch.
You've heard the saying, "It takes a village," but what does that really mean? Well, a recent shoot we did required the combined effort of all of the following people:
That's a lot of cooks in the kitchen (pun intended)! But every one of them plays an integral part of the production. As a studio owner and photographer, it's David's job (and pleasure) to see that everyone works together to accomplish our primary goal. Over the years, we've been lucky enough to work with great clients and crews to produce superior images and have some fun along the way.
Check out some of the behind the scenes images from the new brand launch shoot. And be sure to check back for the third installment of this series in two weeks.
Our smiling artist representative busy lining up the next shoot.
What's everyone looking at?
Which version is best? Decisions, decisions, decisions!
The Associate Creative Director and client discussing composition and product placement.
Our food stylist and her assistant deciding who gets which beer after this shot!
Hitting the pitcher and it's not even Beer 30 yet.
Let's move this over here just a scosh.
Jeez...the photographer is touching the food.
Not ready to wave the white flag just yet!
"What do you think?"
"I don't know, what do you think?"
"Here, let me help."
Oh crap, the photographer is touching the food AGAIN!
We even capture these images on our trusty iPhones.
We were recently commissioned to collaborate on the launch of a new brand for a major food corporation headquartered in Toronto, Canada. A project of this size requires dynamite coordination to ensure the production goes flawlessly.
In this three-part series, we're going behind the scenes to show you what it takes to prepare for a shoot of this size, what factors are taken into consideration and how decisions are made.
Our first challenge on this new brand launch was to capture still images for a print campaign. The client wanted a dark, rich setting that gave the imagery a dramatic look and feel. This required sourcing a multitude of backgrounds, surfaces, props and accessories. Once everything was pulled together, the client had a wide variety of options to choose from so we could achieve the desired look and feel.
Next, we fried everything from onion rings to mac & cheese bites, beer battered fries to mozzarella sticks and pickles. It was a fried food lover heaven! One of the great things about our commercial kitchen is that we have a commercial hood vent over the stove and fryers. If you've ever been a part of a fried food shoot, you know how invaluable this kitchen accessory is. It can take weeks for the "fried smell" to disappear from the studio if you don't have a hood vent.
Another important factor you must take into consideration when shooting a food product that is distributed to restaurants is serving size. That is why we weigh the product used in every photo. There's a lot of discussions that goes into serving size – is it a shareable appetizer or a small plate? Will it be served at a casual dining restaurant or a gastropub? All of these factors must be considered when plating a product. You don't want to visually over-promise the customer; otherwise, they'll be quite disappointed when their order arrives at the table.
With the first three days under our belt, we had a lot of fun and captured the rich imagery our client desired. Check back in a couple weeks for the next installment in this series where we'll take a look at how many people it actually took to pull off this production.
Until then, enjoy these behind the scene photos!
We're not praying to the fruit god, although it might look like it!
Doing a little last minute refinement to one of the backgrounds.
Props, props and more props!
The Associate Creative Director and his client discussing prop choices for the next shot.
This isn't how you grill your steak?
Fry, baby, fry!
Our food stylist assistant frying up some hot onion scoops.
The beer battered jalapeño bottlecap are ready for the spotlight in the next shot.
Now those are some nice looking rings!
The hero maxi cut fries are on set.
Everything gets weighed, even the fried pickles.
6 ounces right on the nose!
It's all about natural, beautiful lighting.
Tricks of the trade – sometimes we use a sheet of white paper to control the light.
The food styling must go on, even with a bum finger!
This project required the main camera to be locked down in one position. To capture a few different angles,
David hooked up a DSLR to another computer and shot each recipe from multiple viewpoints.
There's nothing like a runny yolk to dip your fries in!
We were recently tasked with shooting a sunflower seed for an ad agency that specializes in agriculture. Their client needed the image for a billboard and print ad campaign. For comparison, sunflower seeds are about 3/8 inches tall by 1/4 inches wide. Billboards, on average, are 14 feet tall by 48 feet wide. So...in order to get images of the teeny, tiny seed as large as possible, we needed specialized equipment. We rented a Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens that is capable of 5x magnification and a focusing rail.
Because of the extreme magnification, we had very little depth of field – say, about the thickness of a sheet of paper. Therefore, we ended up employing a process called "focus stacking." We shot in increments of 1/4 centimeter to capture 15 images of the seed at various focal depths. While none of these 15 images had the seed entirely in focus, collectively, they contained the data needed to generate one focused image of a sunflower seed.
We used Photoshop to blend the 15 shots together and generate the final seed image. Photoshop masks out the unfocused areas and keeps the areas of the image that are in focus. The end result is a crystal clear image in focus from top to bottom. Stand-alone programs such as HeliconSoft and Zerene Stacker also offer this feature. If you plan to do a good deal of macro focus stacking, I'd suggest investing in a stand alone program.
Photography is about problem-solving and visually communicating what your client wants to say. This project employed one of the smallest subjects we've ever photographed, and we had a blast figuring out how to show every detail of a sunflower seed!
Wide view of our teeny, tiny set.
Closer view of the set and seed being photographed.
We shot the seed on its side as it was easier to light it horizontally. It was rotated vertically in post-production.
Focusing rail we rented, which allowed us to seamlessly move the camera 1/4 centimeter at a time.
David concentrating on focusing and shooting every 1/4 centimeter.
The final image with the "stacked" sunflower seed for the billboard campaign.
David's stylized version, with a more dramatic sky.