Sometimes one of the more challenging aspects to commercial photography shoots can be finding the right props. Whether it's food, people or produce, finding the right accessory props can make or break the image. One of our favorite long-time clients is Trapp Fragrances. If you've never used their candles, they are the best!
We are often asked to help find some of most exotic fragrance visual cues. This time, we needed a (Cymbidium Black Ruby "Midnight") or to most of us a Black Orchid, and Cananga odorata, commonly called Ylang-Ylang flowers. Where were we going to find these?
You have to love the internet for just these types of challenges. We started by look for tropical flower suppliers. We called California, Hawaii, Austria, etc. As fate would have it, one of the Orchid suppliers I talked with in Hawaii used to live in Kansas City. She asked if I had tried to contact Bird's Botanicals here in KC. Never heard of them. We called them up, then went by and sure enough, they had everything we needed for the shoot. Sometimes you have to go around the world to find what's in your backyard!
Putting the final touches on our lifestyle shot.
Using our big camera to get the best quality out of our photos.
Getting ready to shoot another version of the Black Orchid shot.
Working with our Set stylist Casey Dobbins to put the final touches on this beauty.
Casey, not sure this is your best look. (:-)
We love our clients being involved in our shoots.
As a photographer, I'm always looking for projects that will challenge me.
Although we specialize in product, people, and food photography, I find food projects some of the most fun.
Two years ago we shot our first all food Holiday Fantasy Foodscape project. Well, we've shot another one this year. I can't lie, London-based photographer Carl Warner ( the Godfather of Foodscapes ) is a big influence on my images.
This year I wanted to do a "Candy Fantasy" theme with a touch of Dr. Seuss for all us kids at heart.
Here is the list of ingredients. See how many you can identify.
Hammond's Classic Handmade lollipops
Idahoan Potato Flakes
Hand of Buddha
Pink and white marshmallows
White cotton candy
Old fashion rolled oats
Peppermint candy balls
White peppermint bark
Silver & White candy balls
Red & White sprinkles
Hope you enjoy how this Candy Fantasy came together.
A big THANK YOU to food stylist Sarah Hunt and assistant Casey Dobbins for helping on this project!
Extra food and candy were donated to http://www.sunflowerhouse.org/
These shots can get a little messy. Some seamless paper helps with the clean-up.
The basic foundation.
The basic landscape shape.
Once we got the basic shape I started to add the snow.
A little cocoa adds a little different color to the landscape.
Starting to experiment with where to place everything.
Food stylist Sarah Hunt working on the house.
Assistant Casey Dobbins putting the windows and door on the house.
Placing candy and white asparagus on the mountains. I later decided they didn't work and replaced them.
Adding pink and white marshmallows to the front yard.
Decided to make this a sunset scene and started to add some color gels to the lights.
Final set. I shot the cotton candy clouds and chimney smoke separately and added them in post.
Some of the candy and food we used.
Sarah got tons of options for the shot. Awesome job Sarah!
This year has continued to bring creative ideas and lots of product photography.
This project involving both lifestyle and product images required a lot of production and organization. Thanks to our crew: Catherine, Dale, Paula, Tiffany, Molly, Ben!
We used huge spreadsheets with product descriptions and file naming conventions along with check boxes to keep us on track with the shoot schedule, retouching, clipping paths, renaming files, and release of final files. Client and crew all knew where each image was in the system at any time. Our organizational boards also posted visual examples and verbal descriptions of all of the lifestyle and product shots needed. As a result, everyone got everything shot and retouched on time!
Our set builder Dale Frommelt, as always, did an outstanding job building our lifestyle sets. While the sets weren't that big, everything was painstakingly sourced and assembled. Both sets had to have working water faucets and a way to catch the water when flowing. Add a water hose and a bucket and, voilà, you have functional, "running" water.
Production boards kept everyone on track.
Dale is always ready for anything.
The hose-bucket drain system worked great.
You can do a lot on a small set.
Since this project had a number of lifestyle shots using a hand model, we did a final check of our hand model's hands.
A few minor adjustments and everything looked good to go.
Model hand check.
Nothing like natural light!
Putting the perfect portion of toothpaste on your toothbrush is harder than you'd think.
Getting the shot framed just right.
How to wash your hands with style.
If it doesn't show -- don't blow money on it!
Check out the chrome on this limited edition, handcrafted, David Morris towel rack.
Here we were only going to see the bottom of the towels so taping them to the wall worked like a charm.
Limited edition towel rack, "David Style."
Not everything is what it seems when you look at the shot from a different direction.
Since this project had a lot of product to shoot in a short time period, we needed more than one set going at the same time.
Consistency can be an issue if you're not careful. We shot using two sets exactly alike; same lights, soft boxes, cameras and lenses, backgrounds, etc.
Every variable we could eliminate we did. We were very pleased with how close we were able to match each set.
Two matching product sets.
Sometimes you have to do crazy things to get packaging and contents to cooperate.
In this case, we cut through the back of the box to properly position
the product inside and get it to stay in place.
A fun shoot and great client!
At the end of the day when you hear the client say, "outstanding photos" and "better than we expected," we consider the project a success.
Here are some of the final lifestyle photo from the shoot.
Another installment of images I wanted to capture in a way that reflects life, as I remember it, growing up in our back yard.
Raspberries & Blackberries