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!
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.
As we mentioned last month, we've been shooting some projects lately that convey different stories. The concept of these projects has been to entice the viewer with mouthwatering food and invite them into the world we've created.
In part two of our storytelling project, we'd like you to tell us the story instead of us walking you through it. We envisioned a plot that inspired these images. But the story we imagined may not be the story you see. What's your interpretation of these scenes?