Sometimes a simple, clean images can convey your message better than a complex set. However, simple can be more complex than you think. Beautiful lighting and good composition is a must. This project needed 6 crew and the client. Photographer, photo assistant, production coordinator, retoucher, food stylist and art director.
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?
Well, if you're a fan of BBQ anywhere in the world, you've most likely heard of the" World Famous" Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que. They've gotten rave reviews from Presidents, sports stars, celebrities, foodies, and of course by yours truly.
We had the privilege of being asked to shoot their food for the new website. Joe's Kansas City is now selling their world famous Bar-B-Que all over the USA from the website. Now, if you're in Memphis or Seattle and need a great BBQ fix, all you need to do is order it.
This was an especially gratifying project since it's a locally owned company and we're big fans!
Joe's KC came to us and said we want some great photography,
but we don't want our photography to look like all the other companies selling BBQ on the web. We want the photos to capture the authentic and real look and feel of our product. The shots should look as if the pit master just took it out of the hot smoker. We don't want it to look perfect. We want it to look authentic with some meat drippings on the surface, the utensils to be a little messy. We were fortunate to find a hundred-year-old butcher block table for our background. It is 12"thick and three and a half foot in diameter and made out of one solid walnut log. It set the tone for the whole shoot with its authentic wear and cracked surface. To finish out the authentic and real look, we shot with all natural light and let the shadows go a little dark.
Here are a few fun images from behind the scenes, along with a few of our favorite final shots.
Food Stylist prepping the brisket for it's close-up.
David about to get slapped for moving the styled food.
Clients and crew taking a well-deserved lunch break.
My favorite burnt ends!
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.
When you shoot commercial and advertising photography, it is all about the details. One needs to pay attention to the little things to produce an outstanding image.
Although it isn't evident to most people at first glance, you can tell the difference between an image where the details were focused on and one where they weren't when you view them side by side.
Why is focusing on the details important you ask?
1. In many cases, an expert eye up front will save time on back-end post production.
2. Details can help showcase the quality of a product.
3. Details play a part to help differentiate one brand from another.
Some of the details we pay attention to when food is involved are:
1. Ensuring the background and serving ware are clean. No dust, drips, spills, etc.
2. Making sure the design of the food is pleasing. No faces in the food, no tangents, etc.
3. Confirming the correct number of food items called for in the serving size.
Having emphasized the importance of details, you must remember to have some fun on set too.
David with his magnifiers ensuring the gumbo mac & cheese dish is spotless.
Is David making sure the plate is clean or David mooning the crew? You decide!
Our Food Stylist topping a shake with whipped cream. A little photo bombing by the Chef, too.
The sushi is on set and ready for its close up!
Cheesy biscuits. Nom nom nom.
David working with our Photo Assistant while focusing on the lighting details.
Crew & clients on set.
David and the Art Director getting photo bombed by our Photo Assistant!
Looks like the Art Director is brewing up something new for the shot.
You can tell it's the last shot of a project when the wine glasses and beer start appearing.
A toast to a great shoot!