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 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've been shooting some projects lately that tell more of a visual story than straight-up product shots. The concept of these projects has been to entice the viewer with mouthwatering food and invite them into the world we've created. Let us walk you through a couple of the stories.
I know you can smell warm peanut butter cookies with a hint of coffee from the Java Jam drizzled on top. You can feel the ice cold, creamy milk as it hits the back of your throat, chasing the tasty cookie. You can also imagine yourself in that warm, sun-drenched kitchen listening to the birds chirp through an open window on a lazy weekend afternoon. Can't you?
Fresh local milk and Java Jam topped peanut butter cookies
It's summertime in the South. Someone grabs an old, weathered table and drags it under a huge oak tree for a picnic on a steamy afternoon. On the menu? Spicy Southern fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits smothered with Tupelo honey, pickled tomatoes from the garden, cabbage slaw and fresh squeezed lemonade. Finger-Lickin' good!
Summertime Southern fried chicken with pickled tomatoes
Some "behind the scenes" captured while shooting these two images...
At David Morris Photography we continue to shoot for awesome clients who see the value in the consistent look and feel we provide them.
In 2011 I blogged about Visual Branding and the importance of continuity in your images. Whether it's stills or video, many clients want a consistent look in their marketing materials. Here's why – it makes them instantly recognizable and conveys quality and reliability.
To provide this consistency, we document every detail of our shoots. We also oversee all preparation, styling and lighting.
After post-production, we compare all imagery to ensure it has a harmonious look and feel.
Tiffany gives us the thumbs up that everything is looking good!
In the end, everyone is pleased. Even our equipment!
For years, we have photographed ice cream. Lately, we have been shooting a lot of both stills and video ice cream projects. Both fake and real ice cream photography have their challenges but by far some of the hardest photography you will ever do is real ice cream.
The obvious is that real ice cream melts. But what may not be so obvious are all the other factors that effect real ice cream shots? Here are just a few:
Ice cream temperature to get the right barking on the scoop
Types of nuggets, nuts, chocolate ribbons, caramel ribbons, etc that is in the ice cream.
Temperature of the ice cream bar coating
Fat content of the ice cream
etc., etc., etc.
Although ice cream photography isn't brain surgery, it's one of the closest think you'll come to it as a photographer.
Stills from a recent video shoot
Stills from a recent video shoot of a coke float on a spinning turntable
doing a final check of the glass and product
what you don't see is a clear tube inside the glass holding up the ice cream
using my 10x glasses to make sure the chocolate coating is just right
orange cream popsicle
A basket of dry ice hovering over the set to keep the ice cream from melting
lots of ice cream scoops
food stylist perfectly positioning ice cream in the bowl
Lot's of ice cream sandwich options
dueling 10x glasses
Adding sauce and nuggets to the scoop
food stylist having fun
food stylist holding fake ice cream
the real thing
Thanks, Tiffany for all the great behind the scenes photos.