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?
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.
Most photographers can count on one hand the number of times they pitched an idea to an agency and the client went for it. This project was just that!
Our friends at Woodruff Sweitzer came to us because one of their clients wanted to shoot of all the ingredients that went into their product. "Do you have any ideas?" they asked. We said we'd think about it and get back to them in a couple days.
After doing a little research on the product, it seemed to have a very Alaskan wilderness feel. David called the Woodruff Sweitzer team and suggested creating a set similar to a rustic Alaskan hunters cabin, with an appropriately rustic table on which to place all of the ingredients. "What the heck!" David said. "We might as well go for broke and make it look like an old Dutch Masters painting!"
Well, to David's surprise, both the agency and client loved the idea!
Now what? How do we pull this off?!?
Fortunately, the final deadline allowed plenty of time to gather all the props and get the food products researched, ordered and assembled. It goes without saying that adequate time to prepare upfront really makes a difference to the final outcome of a project.
We ordered a rustic wood background, fresh salmon and trout flown in from Seattle, smoked leg of lamb, wild boar prosciutto, venison, turkey, berries, flowers and so much more. We researched and locally sourced the perfect table to shoot on. It just so happened though that the day we went to pick the table up, it was on sale, and all three Kansas City stores were sold out. Fortunately, we were able to find a similar table available in town. Wowza, that was a close call!
On shoot day, everything went flawlessly. The creative team's direction along with David's vision and our food stylist's top-notch styling resulted in a final image that everyone was elated with. We collaborated well and had fun along the way.
David didn't have anything in his portfolio that looked at all like his vision, yet the agency and client trusted that we could pull it off. He will be forever grateful for their trust. This project specifically reinforces that just because a photographer doesn't have an image of a red shoe or kid playing basketball or a "__fill in the blank__" in their portfolio, doesn't mean they can't shoot exactly what you need and make it look awesome.
We truly believe that if opportunities for photographers and agency creatives to collaborate happened more frequently and sooner in the creative process, there would be more innovative and eye-catching advertising imagery in the marketplace.
Please keep throwing challenges like this at us, and we'll keep knocking them out of the park!
David adding some finishing touches to the set.
Our Food Stylist unpacking the white quails she sourced that morning in Nebraska.
Sarah Hunt, aka "The Fish Whipper."
Fresh trout, anyone?
Nothing like a little jump rope with the sausage links!
Putting some final touches on the image in post.
A little input from the creative team.
Working with the wild-life painter to makes sure the colors look right on the new packaging.
We were thrilled to have our friend Steve Sweitzer on set a few weeks before he retired.
David and Sarahs version of the final image.
Thanks for joining us for our final installment in this three-part series on launching a new brand. If you've followed along, you know that we've discussed what it takes to prepare for a large photo and video shoot, how many people it actually takes to pull off a production, what factors are taken into consideration when planning and prepping and how decisions are made on set.
One of the components of this multifaceted project was a video to announce the launch of the brand into the marketplace. Our client challenged us to capture all of the following in a two-minute video – the ease with which a number of their products could be prepared, customers in a restaurant enjoying the prepared products and multiple testimonials from actual brew pub owners talking about why they liked and used the products.
Add to that a script that was still in flux days before the shoot began, some extremely short deadlines, the logistical aspect of shooting at four locations, confirming models, extras, food recipes, props, etc...you get the idea. While it was a lot to wrangle, capture and edit, it was a challenge we were totally up for!
Shooting in the studio and on location in Kansas City, Grand Rapids, MI and Springfield, MO, we captured days of video footage. We can't say enough about how wonderful the video crew, food stylists, production coordinators, talent agency, and others we're surely failing to remember were, and how they were the ones who really made this large production come together.
A special thank you to Isaac Alongi who DP'd, edited and colored this video project. Without his talent and flexibility, the end result would not be nearly as beautiful as it is.
It truly takes a village, and we've got a great one surrounding us!
Be sure to check out the final video.
Our Assistant Food Stylist making sure we have enough fries in the bowl before shooting begins.
Getting the thumbs up from talent!
Our Food Stylist putting the final touches on the hero plate of food.
The Associate Creative Director reporting back to his team at home on how the shoot's going.
Making sure everything is lookin' good on location in Grand Rapids, MI.
We used a two camera set up for the Brew Chef interview videos.
Q&A with a local Brew Chef about why he uses these products.
A fun little clip of David directing the talent...or was it him just saying out loud what he needed his assistant to bring him?
Click on the image to play the launch video.