The art of food photography must be experienced to truly know the intricacies that are involved in each and every detail. When I discuss a shoot with a Chef, I do my best to warn them that it will be a long day. But you really do not ever really understand it until you are actively doing it. Honestly, five dishes (plus the meal prep shoot we did) was ambitious for a single day!
Chef Lisa Brooks and her staff prepped from early in the morning, I arrived at the same time as the fresh strawberries were being delivered and the smells from the kitchen made me hungry immediately! As the staff continued to prep, we decided to get some more casual shots of Lisa in her environment and mainly getting her comfortable in front of the camera for the next day branding shoot. We also set up for some “prep” shots in the kitchen which were similar to our dinner party “behind the scenes” images we captured just last month.
Although the day was long and her signature Shrimp and Grits dish was the initial focus of the shoot, Lisa and her staff learned the secret magic to creating food for the camera. Like a magician who never reveals their secrets, unless we are side-by-side, I can’t really get too deep into how Lisa ultimately made these Grits stand on their own, so that one will have to remain a cliff hanger… 😉
What I can tell you is that we designed each dish with its own individual style and then through my editing process I was able to lean into what we were striving for even more. For example, we obviously wanted a clean, light and airy look for the shrimp and grits. The first time Lisa and I spoke she immediately said that she could never get a decent picture of them. I immediately understood her struggle because grits are a tough shot and add in the mushrooms and orange shrimp you don’t’ have a ton of contrast to work with. So my approach was a lot of white and in a few of the photos we took we used some blues as well.
On the other hand, Lisa also offers many of her clients a dinner for two option. So she made two of her Walnut Berry Gorgonzola Salads and we created an illusion of a dinner for two setting, we wanted to give the impression that it was evening, so I appropriately adjusted my lighting while I was shooting but then also edited the images to give it that evening feel. You will also notice we used dark linens and red wine to offer a deeper more elegant overall tone.
When they say hard work pays off, Lisa and I definitely fit into that category with this 12-hour shoot!
If you want to know the secret magic sauce to get those perfect shots, shoot me an email and let’s chat about how I do studio work!