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 have people that have influenced their careers. Randy and Jeri Masoner were a big influence in my photo career.
Many years ago I met Randy at McClue studios here in Kansas City. Randy was the studio manager and let me hang out and watch his photographers shoot while I was still going to school. Fast forward a few years and Randy opened his own studio where he hired me as a freelance photographer to come in from time to time to help photograph product when they didn't have enough staff photographers to finish a project on time. At that time, Jeri had her own interior design firm she ran out of the same building. A few years later, Randy and Jeri shut down their KC studio and moved to Dallas. Randy was hired by Omega studio's to be the studio manager and Jeri was the head set designer. Omega studios was a 250,000 square foot studio with a huge staff. They shot room sets, product, and apparel for some of the largest big name retailers in the business. Retailers like J.C. Penneys, Neiman Marcus, Dillards, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue were some of their clients. A few years later Randy and Jeri opened their own 23,000 square foot Dallas studio, R&J Creative Images.
From the beginning, I always felt like one of the family. Randy was always so patient teaching me how to photograph and light. He also taught me to be an efficient shooter and manage time. Jeri was like the studio mom. Always caring and kind and would often cook a huge pot of food for all the employees for lunch. My favorite was her gumbo! Jeri would always make you feel special and appreciated and that's so rare in a work environment.
Before Randy left for Dallas he asked if I wanted to buy some of his equipment. I explained I would love to but didn't have the money at the time. Randy said no problem, just send me $100.00 a month until it's paid off. He left me with the equipment and we shook hands on the deal. Randy's trust in me and that equipment deal was one of the biggest aids to get me going in business. Oh, by the way, I did pay it off and I'm still using that equipment today.
From time to time the Kansas City market would die and there would be no work for months. I'd call Randy up and see if he would need any freelance help in Dallas. Somehow every time I called he would find me work. I'd go to Dallas and work for 2 to 3 weeks or until it got busy back in KC. Being able to work in Dallas when the Kansas City market was slow was invaluable. This allowed me to keep my doors open and opened my eyes to different styles of lighting and big productions. Anytime I would have a question about photography or lighting, Randy was more than happy to stop what he was doing and help me solve the problem.
This week Randy and Jeri stopped by the studio on their way through town.
We were able to have lunch and catch up on old times. If you don't have a mentor or someone you can trust to tell you the truth reach out and find one. They are invaluable. Thank you, Randy and Jeri for all the help and encouragement over the years. It was so good to have your influence in my life and career.
In our second installment of this series, we're highlighting what it takes to work on a new food product brand launch.
You've heard the saying, "It takes a village," but what does that really mean? Well, a recent shoot we did required the combined effort of all of the following people:
That's a lot of cooks in the kitchen (pun intended)! But every one of them plays an integral part of the production. As a studio owner and photographer, it's David's job (and pleasure) to see that everyone works together to accomplish our primary goal. Over the years, we've been lucky enough to work with great clients and crews to produce superior images and have some fun along the way.
Check out some of the behind the scenes images from the new brand launch shoot. And be sure to check back for the third installment of this series in two weeks.
Our smiling artist representative busy lining up the next shoot.
What's everyone looking at?
Which version is best? Decisions, decisions, decisions!
The Associate Creative Director and client discussing composition and product placement.
Our food stylist and her assistant deciding who gets which beer after this shot!
Hitting the pitcher and it's not even Beer 30 yet.
Let's move this over here just a scosh.
Jeez...the photographer is touching the food.
Not ready to wave the white flag just yet!
"What do you think?"
"I don't know, what do you think?"
"Here, let me help."
Oh crap, the photographer is touching the food AGAIN!
We even capture these images on our trusty iPhones.
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?
The new year holds promises of a clean slate, revitalization, a new outlook. In line with that, we decided to do a little renovation at the studio to freshen it up. Our space lends itself to an urban-industrial feel, so we said, "Hey, why fight it?"
As you enter the studio, you are welcomed by our new chalkboard wall and collection of nicknacks. The chalk art here, and throughout the studio, was commissioned by the talented Lauren Hunt. You could stand here for an hour taking in all of the pieces David has collected over the years. There are antique cameras, eyeglasses he made out of camera lenses and family heirlooms, like the bench under the chalkboard. It was built in 1905 and was an original fixture in his grandfather's barber shop.
We did a little redecorating in the kitchen, too. Some new wallpaper and decor give it a fresh look and feel. All of the light fixtures received a facelift as well with new Edison bulbs.
We're really happy with how things turned out. So, stop by and take a peek! We'd love to give you the tour in person and celebrate the year ahead.
Cheers to a great start to 2015!
Our new chalkboard welcomes clients and gives Art Directors here for photo shoots a place to doodle.
We finally found a place to highlight the bench that was in David's grandfather's barber shop. The bench was built in 1905.
Sandblasted and casters added, these flat file cabinets are a great place for our photo collection!
A few more pieces from our collection.
Edison bulbs brighten the new light fixtures above the chalkboard.
Come on by! The chalk and eraser await your next visit.
The coffee table is an old train luggage cart accented with an antique book press.
Client area reading material.
Hand-painted antique safe.
Do you have the time?
Edison bulbs and a coat of paint revitalized the existing light fixtures over the bar.
More chalkboard art commissioned by Lauren Hunt.
The new look in action!