We had some fun recently shooting for the Turkey division of a long time client. As always, behind the scenes and out of sight of the camera, everything tends to look a little different.
An interesting challenge with this project was we needed to find a way to photograph four farmers once and have the ability at a later date to change out the food they were holding. We decided the best solution was to choose one plate and one platter that we would use over and over again. We made a support device that would hold the empty plate and platter in a fixed position that allowed the models to hold them differently expressions and body positions.
Whenever there's a chance we will shoot additional images that require the same look and feel (lighting, spacial relations, perspective, etc.), we craft drawings and take measurements of everything on set. This allows us to recreate the exact set-up and shoot more food that can be photoshopped onto the plate and platter we originally shot with the farmers. And an added bonus – by keeping the plate/platter supporting device thin, we have minimal retouching!
Model and food set all in one.
Our hero turkey shot that will be placed on an empty platter our farmer is holding.
Stylist Sarah Thompson Lift getting our GQ farmer ready for his close-up.
Always fun to photobomb the food stylist.
It never looks the same from the back of the set.
I always have to have my hands involved in something, to the chagrin of the stylist.
How about a little left? No right. No left! It looks perfect just where you had it. (:-)
Putting the final paint stripper touches on the bird.
Any time there is a chance we will be shooting additional shots that need to have the same look and feel,
our assistant takes tons of measurements and photos so we can recreate the same look again. Thanks Ben!
The storyboards are approved. The set is prepped and lit. The food is ready for its close-up. LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION!
Easy, right? Well, what you may not know is it took two days, seven crew members, tons of video lighting and equipment, special effects rigging, specialty food equipment and then some to shoot two nine-second videos.
Oh, and I didn't mention all the footage editing and post production time.
We love shooting stills and video, but there's a lot of work that goes into it. If you're considering getting into shooting beautiful food and still life videos, remember, it can be way more complicated than you think!
Here is a link to the final video: https://vimeo.com/102786415
Storyboards for our two-day video shoot.
The food is smiling and ready for its close-up!
Getting the lighting just right.
The crew protecting the camera from flying fruit and water.
Dumping tray after tray of fruit to get just the right look.
Capturing fruit being blended.
Shooting pour after pour to get just the right look.
Inspecting our handy work.
Looking good. Let's try one more take to get it perfect!
Working in the advertising photography business can be extremely fun, yet at times very stressful.
My goal is always to produce the best imagery as we can for our clients and have fun doing it.
I'm normally a serious person when working, but, I find it pretty easy to laugh at myself! I say and do some pretty silly stuff. What helps is to surround yourself with people that are fun and funny. Life is a lot more interesting that way. If you really stop and think about it what we do and how we do it seems pretty silly to the outside world. That is -outside of the advertising world.
Take for example food photography. We pick through cases and cases of food to find 6-10 perfect chips, we glue seeds on buns so they look perfect, we spend hours playing with the food on set just to get everything in its right place, we glue hotdog buns together so they don't spread apart on set then we pin the hotdogs and buns together so they don't move. We use a fabric steamer to steam bread so it doesn't dry out and crack and we use steaming hot tampons hidden behind food so it looks like the food is steaming hot. Now you have to admit, this seems pretty silly to someone, not in the business. Quite frankly just writing about it puts a silly grin on my face.
In spite of how silly it looks or is, we all work hard making it happen. Over the years, we've put together a fun and hard working team of people that make the work look outstanding.
Food stylists, assistant food stylist, photo assistants, retouchers, producers, production coordinators, digital techs, grips, directors, set builders, hair and make-up stylists, the list goes on and on. We truly appreciate all the team members we've been able to work with.
At the end of the day if you love what you do, have fun doing it, and like the people you do it with, life doesn't get much better.
Sarah styling the salsa to perfection
Making sure everything fits in the layouts
Working with the stylist to arrange the food
Now you have to admit, four adults standing around discussing the merits of sauce on a bun looks pretty silly to most people, but it's what we do.
Our Retoucher (Tiffany) working hard.
The behind the scenes tools to do our pizza pull shot.
Sarah having fun for the camera.
What, your food stylist doesn't style your food like this? You are missing out!
I recently had the privilege to work on a food video project where we captured product falling in slow motion and hand models in action. Had a great crew to work with that exercised a ton of patience with shooting food in action. When you have pans, tilts, dolly action, food moving and hand models dipping product, the project can get fairly complex and tedious.
Kudos to all for a great video shoot!
Recently we had the privilege to work on a major campaign for one of the nation's largest tire and automotive retail companies which own's over eight national chain brands all around the USA.
We were hired to bring a more real "Americana" ( not staged ) look and feel to their Brands.
This was a major project with 10 crew members, months of planning and location scouting.
We often collaborated with hair and make-up stylist, food stylist, etc on projects but in today's ever changing advertising marketplace we are now collaborating with an even broader group of talent.
Today, we are collaborating with film companies, production companies, producers, and other photographers. Yes, I said it, other photographers! No one photographer can be all things to all clients.
We wanted to provide our client with the best possible outcome so on this project we collaborated with our friend James Meierotto to bring the right look and feel for this project. In our opinion, it was a win-win for everyone involved. The client agreed and was thrilled with the results. We are alway's thrilled to collaborate on projects to provide our clients with the results they need.
This was a fast-paced project with lots of people and equipment. We were shooting with 3 cameras on this project.
The first shot of any project always take a little time to make sure everyone is on the same page.
You don't always see hair and make-up being done in a tire and automotive store!
A little shade anyone?
Photos are looking good!
Part of the process was to make sure everything we shot was authentic and all the equipment we operated was being used correctly.
Brian Mangan, our production coordinator did an awesome job mapping out the shooting schedule!!!!
Chris, one of our photo assistants downloading some images on the fly.
A little make-up anyone?
So glad we were near a tire store!!!!
Caught ya! (:-)
Doing some quick editing as we go.
Thanks to everyone on this project for a great shoot!
Here are a couple of the final shots.