Part 1 – a look at studio photography
At BDB, we love photoshoots. A break from brochure production, newsletters or eshots, a good photoshoot gives us something different to get our teeth into. With a shoot on the horizon for one of our clients (we’re talking custard and yoghurt!), there are always plenty of us wanting to get involved.
But whatever the subject matter and with a picture worth a thousand words, it’s important to get it right. After all, it’s an extension of our communications offering to our clients. At BDB, we keep our photography style fresh and individual by selecting from our creative and talented photographers and food stylists, to produce the most appropriate end result for our client. Whether it’s still life in a studio, lifestyle on location, or people on their premises – each shot will be unique and owned by the client.
In this first of a series of photography blogs, we take a look at studio photography – from the brief through to the final selection. Further posts will look at lifestyle photography and the benefits of ‘owned’ images versus library stockshots.
Depending on budget and complexity of shots, we’ll work with the most appropriate photographer to deliver exceptional imagery. Once the topic for the shoot has been agreed, inspiration for the style and settings of the shots can come from a variety of sources: perhaps a TV ad, a doodle, a round-the-table brainstorm or simply a ‘vision’ (See Cat’s creativity blog).
From initial ideas, the creative brief is drafted, outlining products, props, mood (clean, fresh, modern) and settings required (evening time, summer’s day) so that nothing is left to question on the day. The brief is retained for reference by the client, the photographer and BDB. While dynamic shots, such as splashing chocolate milkshake or dropping ice cubes into cranberry juice, are great fun and deliver a real ‘wow’ factor (as well as a messy studio!), simple shots – focussing on the product not the surroundings – are equally as effective. So we concentrate on what the client wants to achieve (glossy texture), think about how the shot will be used (front cover of a magazine, exhibition panel, landscape or portrait) then liaise with the photographer to get that result.
Shopping for the shoot is fun – it certainly opens your eyes to the array of similar products on the shelves. I’d never realised, or been particularly interested in, how many brands of custard are about – with colours ranging from the insipid to luminous yellow. So with shopping trolley filled with the necessary ingredients, products and quirky props, we’re good to go.
It’s not just point and shoot – a good picture takes time. A great picture takes even longer so be prepared for some hanging around the studio as the photographer sets up the lights, the background, the set and the food stylist works culinary magic to prepare what you had thought was going to be ice cream but actually turns out to be mashed potatoes (how else would it not melt under the lights?). Other tricks of the trade include spraying food with hairspray to hold it in place, photographing cereal with white glue instead of milk to avoid soggy cereals and to keep the flakes in place, and ice cubes made from hand-carved acrylic.
The advent of digital photography has made both the photographer’s and the food stylist’s job so much easier as, once everything is set up, the photographs can be taken and assessed much quicker.
Be proud – it’s a wrap!
So the shoot is done – there are likely to have been hundreds of pictures taken for the final four or five required images. Several shots may be combined by the photographer post-shoot – for example droplets created from one splash picture can be ‘mixed’ with those from another to create the perfect end result. We view the shots with the photographer, look at where different crops may be required and discuss the final selection before proudly presenting the portfolio to the client.
Feel like your photo library needs freshening up? BDB aims to create unique images with impact that will help sell or promote your product or service. We’d love to talk to you.
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