Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Details, Details. It's All About the Details.

When you shoot commercial and advertising photography, it is all about the details. One needs to pay attention to the little things to produce an outstanding image.

Although it isn't evident to most people at first glance, you can tell the difference between an image where the details were focused on and one where they weren't when you view them side by side. 

Why is focusing on the details important you ask?
1. In many cases, an expert eye up front will save time on back-end post production.
2. Details can help showcase the quality of a product.
3. Details play a part to help differentiate one brand from another.

Some of the details we pay attention to when food is involved are:  
1.  Ensuring the background and serving ware are clean. No dust, drips, spills, etc.
2.  Making sure the design of the food is pleasing. No faces in the food, no tangents, etc.  
3.  Confirming the correct number of food items called for in the serving size.

If you're wondering about detail number three above, you wouldn't believe how many consumers count every single piece of food in a photo and complain if they don't get that many pieces!

Having emphasized the importance of details, you must remember to have some fun on set too.

David with his magnifiers ensuring the gumbo mac & cheese dish is spotless.

Is David making sure the plate is clean or David mooning the crew? You decide!

Our Food Stylist topping a shake with whipped cream. A little photo bombing by the Chef, too.

The sushi is on set and ready for its close up!

Cheesy biscuits. Nom nom nom.

David working with our Photo Assistant while focusing on the lighting details.
Crew & clients on set.

David and the Art Director getting photo bombed by our Photo Assistant!

Looks like the Art Director is brewing up something new for the shot.

You can tell it's the last shot of a project when the wine glasses and beer start appearing.
A toast to a great shoot!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Dutch Master Inspired Shoot

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 Sarah's version of the final image.