Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Fantasyland Foodscape

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
Large marshmallows
Small marshmallows
Pink and white marshmallows
White cotton candy
Ribbon candy
Old fashion rolled oats
Brownie mix
candy canes
Peppermint candy balls
Candy stars
White peppermint bark
White M&M's
Silver & White candy balls
White frosting
Toasted coconut
Red & White sprinkles
Dark Chocolate
Peppermint chips

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

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!

Final Image

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Beverage photography

We recently shot some holiday drinks for one of our awesome clients.  We shot groups of drinks and also some single drinks with bottles in the background.  I'm always amazed how much time, effort and equipment it takes to do some shots.  Our client wanted the shots to look like someone had set down their drink in a contemporary New York uptown apartment overlooking Time Square.  It was fun! The project ended up to be one of those experiments; keep shooting until we see something we like! We ended up with some brilliant shots that convey a sophisticated urban style.   Can't wait to show off the final shots. 

Strobe and time exposures were used for the christmas lights.

To make sure everything went as planned we brought on a full time retoucher to make sure everything fit together.

If you're not in the business, this is fake ice.  It comes in all different sizes and shapes.  This is about $1000.00 worth of ice.  Not cheap but looks awesome in a drink.

Getting photo bombed by our retoucher.   Every piece of ice and every garnish is perfectly placed for the best visual impact.

Making sure the water droplets on the front of the glass don't get above the liquid fill line.

We hand picked every raspberry for their perfect shape and color.

The stylist did a beautiful job of styling the chocolate swirls-It's harder than it looks.

Consistant Visual Branding

Lately we've had the privilege to work on some nation food brands, both still images and motion for TV and web commercials. 

As with most endeavors in our business there's lots of crew and vendors involved. This helps make the project run smooth and bring the client's vision to reality.   In previous posts we have discussed the importance of not only traditional branding but also "Visual Branding" in today's marketplace.

We pride ourselves in the ability to accomplish "Visual Branding" across the mediums of still and motion.  The benefit is a consistant message and increased brand awareness.  A perfect example is "Target Inc.".  Most of the time I can tell it's a "Target" ad or commercial before I ever see the logo.


Putting the final touches on lighting and composition.

Working as D.P. on the video commercial.

Getting our models pumped so they show the right expression for our still shots.

Viewing playback to make sure everything looks awesome.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to make dog food look good?

At first glance you might think this bounty of food is for a healthy meal we were about to consume. You'd be mistaken. These foods are actually some of the ingredients used in our client's natural dog food. Steak, chicken, salmon, spinach, grains, fruits and veggies. Not bad if you're a human -- or a dog! We got to use our beautiful kitchen as our background and shot with an Instagram-filtered look. When the campaign releases I'll post the final images. 

Doing a little prop styling.
Beans, rice, barley, oats, flax.
Look'n good!
Adding a little more grain here and there for the final touch.

Thanks Ben, for shooting these behind the scenes shots!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Keeping Product Images Fresh and Clean

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.

Beautiful light.

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 don'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.