Business of Commercial Food Photography

 

Lesson Info

Real Life Client Interview: Art of the Pie Cookbook

I'm gonna introduce you to Kate. And when I met Kate, I actually met Ed the same day. She came to a workshop I was teaching here in Seattle and the first image I'd ever taken of her was this one. At the time there was a very famous twitter handle called Ruth Bourdain, I don't know if any of you remember, Ruth Bourdain had many, many followers and was sort of a satirical mashup of Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain. And he, she, I'm not even quite sure how to reference that one, pronouns, took that picture and retweeted it with a very snarky comment, as you can well imagine. And then we were then trending in Seattle on Twitter. So it was a very funny situation. I'm gonna tell you a little bit about. You know she's a best-selling author because we've already discussed her book. But she is a wonderful teacher and teaches workshops all over the world teaching people how to make pie, and it's more about life lessons in the guise of a pie workshop. So not only is she a fantastic baker and a wr...

iter, but she is what we call the piechiatrist, and she is a self-styled piechiatrist and she will teach you all about life in the process of making a pie. So you will learn to bake and you will learn a whole lot about life because she has lived an interesting life. She has a wonderful family and she's got a great story, and she is obviously a clam enthusiast. So we're gonna have Kate on audio because Kate is off in California right now teaching a pie workshop and doing some connecting with her roots in Santa Barbara, because that's where she's from. And we're gonna get her on audio and we're gonna have a little talk about, we're gonna have sort of a mock client negotiation for you to see and how the 10 questions kind of work their way into a real life situation. Now of course Kate and I have negotiated on a very different level because we know each other very well and as I've outlined in my motivations for being in that project. But we are moving forward with more projects together where there will be other negotiations that have to happen and that's obviously something that moving forward, once you kind of established yourself as an entity that has value then you have to quite honestly renegotiate the terms. So if we are to do more books together, we won't be doing all under the same guise as we did before. We've established ourselves as a brand. So now that we are a brand we are worth more. So that's how we will proceed, and I have helped and coached her on the art of negotiation just like I'm coaching you all, and we are hopefully gonna get her up any second now. Yes, no? I'm here, I'm here. Oh my God, it's like the voice of pie god. (laughs) Mm. Did you hear my intro? I loved it. You know that everyone's looking at you and the geoduck, right? I can see you, but you just can't see me. I kind of like the fact that you're sort of like the voice from heaven. The voice of pie. The voice of pie, yes. The life of pie, the voice of pie. So, I have given all the nice folks here in the audience and also on the internet a nice rundown of our relationship and how that initial negotiation was something of a unique situation for both of us because we had motivations that went beyond money. But, I've also kind of prefaced the idea that we will be working together again and there will be other negotiations that we're gonna have to deal with and you're gonna have to present my needs as your artist to your publisher. So that's kind of where we start and we've been talking about the idea of budgets and asking questions and how these things are gonna work going forward, so, that's kind of where we are. But I also wanted to give you an opportunity if there's anything you wanted to say before we kind of got into it to kind of introduce yourself a little to the audience. Well thanks. I like to make pie, I like to teach more than anything. And the opportunity to work with Andrew, with you, I thought it was a once in a lifetime experience at that time, now I'm hoping that it's not gonna be just the once in a lifetime thing, and I have to say that when I said to my publisher, "Andrew Scrivani" the said "Really?" Nobody could believe that. So the fact that the product that we made together was so extraordinary I still feel like Cinderella, Andrew. Well I have the glass slipper at my studio, you're gonna have to come and pick it up. I can do that. So we're gonna move forward, with another project soon I'm hoping. And I think we're both on the same page as to what we want, but clearly when we negotiate with your publisher, we're gonna need to have a whole bunch of different questions that we're gonna ask. And I know you and I have already discussed what the budget might be on that. So we don't need to run that out there in real time on the internet, because I'm comfortable with the budget we discussed and I know you are as well. So we've gotten on the, because now we are negotiating as a team, essentially, we are approaching this a little differently than normally because after the initial relationship between author and photographer, now we are looked upon as author and photographer, as a team. And Kate is essentially doing some of the negotiation for me through the publishing house and her agent. So it's a unique situation in that this is what happens sometimes when you attach yourself to an artist or two artists together are working on multiple projects together and that one person's agent might do the negotiation for both because I've already discussed my expectations with Kate as to what I would like to paid to do another book of the same ilk. And she clearly was comfortable with that so the yeah, question to what's your budget, Kate, I already know the answer to, 'cause it's not your budget in particular, it is your publisher's budget. So we will get to the point of the next question is will you be cooking and styling the food in your next book or would we likely be hiring a stylist or would you be turning that over to my team? I think on this one, the unique properties of the last book, because it was pie, that's my field of expertise, I knew how I wanted them to look, I, it was the logical choice to have me fit into that slot. On this one, it will be different. There is definitely lots more than pie, it's a full-on cookbook. I'm extremely comfortable that it would be turned over to what is best for the project. If I'm best for it, great. On some things, great. If I'm not, I trust you so much that I feel that you would be able to guide the project in what is the best decision for the, the entire team so that we have a finished project that we can go yes, this is the right way we've done it. And that's terrific because clearly the money that we've discussed already is something that supports the idea of bringing my team into the project as a whole, instead of us as a part, and I appreciate the trust, obviously, because I think that clearly you know that I have your vision in mind and that we will clearly make a book that is a companion piece to Art of the Pie. And that is our goal, is that we are creating a brand together, that is something that is reproducible and something we can do long-term over the course of our years as professionals together. I wanna add one more thing in here, the fact that you have a very clear view into who I am, what my life is like, you are, I know you are never going to present something or photograph in such a way, or have it styled in such a way that is not me. That it will be authentic, an authentic representation of me and who I am, how I live, what I do. It's interesting that you bring that point up because it's not always the case that you get to know your subject so intimately as the way we know each other. But there is definitely room to learn from if you are working with somebody on a project this large to get to know them a little bit better. To get to know and understand what their life is like and they, what their aesthetic is like, even the aesthetic in their own home. Because that should be an extension, the books, and these type of personal projects should be an extension of them. And the fact that we were able to work not only in my studio, but I felt it was essential, and you know this 'cause we've talked about it, that I came to Seattle and photographed at the Pie Cottage and got a sense of your day-to-day there. So with that being said, would the same, would the same parameters hold true for this next book? Would we wanna split the time between New York and Seattle? I don't think it will be necessary on this one. I think you have the feeling of what it is like there. So and I know that you have the props that you have, the services that you have, what you do, I, I don't think it's gonna be necessary. Of course I would love it if you wanted to come out, absolutely we can do some out there. But I think that once we have the listing of what folders are needed for the recipes that will be in there, I think that might be a discussion that we could have. But I'm very very comfortable if it is all in New York. I also would be willing to come to New York. I don't know whether that's necessary either. Well I mean I think clearly it might be nice to have you come in just to kind of oversee a little bit of the project. And you know I think Leia's looking at me right now going "I gotta go to New York now" to work with the team, 'cause Team Pie has to become Team Cookbook. So I think you also answered the fifth question on our list about who's propping the job because clearly if you're gonna turn over the reins of the project to my team and my, my propping is going to be front and center again, then clearly that answers that question. But I also think that some of the things that we incorporated into Art of the Pie which were personal objects, talismans of your life were important pictures in the book. Because of the way you wrote the book and because of the things that have become important in your life. I would clearly wanna do that again. Because I feel like that is something that's important to you as a person and it's the thread that humanizes our work. So if there were other kind of special props or talismans of your life as a cook, I definitely would like to include those in the book, so I would have to have you send those to me. So there's two ways that I see that happening. And, follow me on this and see if this works in your mind. When we were doing Art of the Pie, I shipped back some things for the, for the one week shoot in New York, which were used in there. And then when you came to Pie Cottage, now we had free access to a lot of stuff. You know my aging wheelbarrow that was falling apart, my wooden wheelbarrow is a background for something. Many things you just said "Let's use that." If we do it all in New York and I send back things, I'm wondering in negotiating, if there's a time that you would also be coming to the West Coast, can we dovetail so you know my space, you know the light, you know the what I can set up for you there. Is there a way that we can work it so that you come out for a day or two and dovetail that onto another project that you might have? I'm always willing, especially when we have lots of lead time on projects like this and we know what we're expecting, especially if you have a sense of the creative you wanna make here is if I'm in Seattle and I can make or swing through on my way to another job, then clearly we can build that in as long as there's time in the schedule and I have a sense that, Like Art of the Pie we have plenty of time so we can actually make that work. Yeah because I do think, I still feel it's important to incorporate your day-to-day and your space into the book. So I would work hard to make that happen and I think that's a very good point about getting out there to do that work. Because I still, even if we're not shooting, even if we're not shooting dishes out there, we may be shooting other things that might add value to the book. Okay, okay. So go ahead, if you had something. Well I just think also in the, the scope of this book, is gonna be actually a lot more personal than this, my publisher has asked for more stories and you know, continuation of this of the journey that was started in Art of the Pie. Sure. So indeed there will be no I don't know, on location type things of, do we wanna think about things of going to the 300 square foot cabin where my son was born, you know where I lived for years, where I had a big garden, where, you know. I don't know, or an orchard, I don't know if we wanna do those kind of things in there Or I, I'm not clear 'cause I'm in the early process on this book, exactly how detailed we wanna be in there or do we wanna have the photos of the dishes, some photos of ingredients? Do we wanna have a few photos that are so specifically personal environment in addition to my talismans? I think that all of that is appropriate, plus possibly even archival photographs, things that are personal to you in your experience, because I think you're clearly taking us on a temporal journey, right? We're not just in the present, we're in the past, we're talking about the future. And if we are able to kind of build that narrative cinematically in a book, especially with the way you write, I think we're not only building something that has value as a book and a cookbook but also something cinematic and a structure for possibly even a screenplay. Whoa! So I think, sorry, once you get me going, Kate, you know that it's gonna, it's gonna start to become much bigger. I feel like what you're describing to me sounds like storyboard, it doesn't sound like a cookbook and it seems like a movie with a book in it, rather than the other way around. So like I, I'm visioning this kind of storyboard that is with food and archival photographs and environmental photographs and things that have lifestyle and these kind of objects. And I feel like that's what the story sounds like to me and I haven't read a word of it yet, so if I'm on the right page that would be good to know. I have a question for you then because in our last conversation when we were discussing how the look of the, of Art of the Pie would be, you really strongly suggested that we have no real archival photographs. And now so on the that it was just focused, you know it's just pie. I think the, I wanted to have it so that anybody could view themselves through my eyes, looking at these pies or looking at the bowl in my, with hands. I think there's, there really is no picture of me in the book, other than my hands and you know, they may see my eyes in one of 'em. So now I'm hearing, this is completely, it's 180 degrees different now that I'm hearing. So you're bending my head around here of how this is gonna be. Well because Kate. And I'm not, that this is how it's gonna be, no like oh that's how Andrew says it's gonna be but you're seeing a vision, and I'm on the last book visually, you're already on the second book and seeing it develop. I'm not, I haven't caught up to you yet, I think this is really cool. Let me break the news to you, I was on book two before we shot book one. (audience laughs) You know I feel like I've been engaged with your story for a long time now because of so many times we've sat over round tables and discussed things over coffee and pie that I have a sense of you narratively as a person. And as a photographer and as a director, we see stories of people in terms of pictures and the first book didn't say archive to me, it didn't say a lifetime to me. It said this is a very specific segment of who you are as a person. Yet this book, and the sense that I'm getting from what we've discussed so far and what we've discussed today is that this is really more about the entirety of your life and that is, it's a different type of a story that we're gonna tell now. So I feel like there's room in it to develop something that is. As much as Art of the Pie was so personal, this goes three layers deeper, for me, as the person who's responsible for presenting you visually. So that's kinda where I'm at. Do you know how scary that is for me? Yes I do. As your friend I know that, that it's scary for you. But that's why you've trusted me in the past and I know that in some level you trust me to tell your story, so-- I do, I do absolutely. And the relationship you form, and I'm gonna speak to the audience just for a second, Kate. The relationship you form with people and your clients are not always this intimate. But when you get the kind of access to somebody who has a special life and you're able to tell a special story as a journalist, as a storyteller, and as potentially a filmmaker in these situations, you have to take those advantages and run with them. You know you recognize a great story when you see it and that's, that's the sort of visual, you know journalistic training that you give yourself by being engaged with people. And you get engaged with people and you understand their lives and you're empathetic and you're able to tell their story and that's sort of that kind of a relationship. It doesn't have to be this intimate, but you have to be able to recognize a great story when you see it so. So, I don't necessarily need to know the rest of these particulars because I already know how you're gonna use my images clearly. I already know what kind of file format your publishing house already knows because we've done that legwork already. As far as finals are concerned, we don't even have a contract yet so we're not even anywhere near that. But judging by prior experience your team on the publishing side has given me plenty of time to process imagery so that does not worry me. And as far as our delivery system, again, the way we handled things through a cloud based delivery systems worked very well. So I'm assuming that that would be the same, but. And I know that these are the details that you necessarily hand of to your representation in a lot of ways, and the publishing house, so I appreciate that part of it. But I wanted to know if there are any other questions that you kind of came up with in your head after the fact, things that maybe we, you thought we should've talked about. I know I might be putting you on the spot and maybe there's nothing, but it's always good to kind of rehash old negotiations before finalizing knew negotiations where if you felt there was something that we needed to discuss that didn't get discussed. I think the very, I think the only things that we didn't discuss were when you came out to Pie Cottage that there were, there was equipment that that you needed to have out there that you couldn't, that you rented in Seattle that I didn't know was gonna be an add-on. It was an absolutely necessary add-on that was part of you know, just the scope of what I needed to be covering, but it was a small surprise. And other than that, really, no I think I think in terms of a large project like this it couldn't have gone any better. The team I think this was a dream team and I really really hope that we have the same complete team again. And I think also that well I just I just really feel really fortunate that I brought that goeduck to your workshop that day. You know, yeah, absolutely. At that point I knew we could be friends, you had that kind of a sense of humor, you know. I knew we could be friends. But your point about that little surprise that I dropped on you was, it adds real value to this conversation 'cause it was something that I discussed with the audience earlier about how you don't wanna have surprises 'cause even the small ones have a tendency to maybe put a damper on the festivities. And the fact is that was unforeseen by me at that point because I didn't anticipate it and I needed to recover that kind of on the fly. And because we were working on kind of a tight budget it wasn't something I had anticipated but clearly when now that we're working with a real kind of full blown budget, those things clearly will be included, sorry I can't speak, it's been only like 19 hours since I started speaking. Clearly with the budgets that we're discussing at this point all of those things will be included, and will be my responsibility. So I'm glad you brought it up and it is something that will be taken care of the next time. Cool. You know I wanna also say something to just in general about a project like this is You don't do a project like what we did, certainly what I did for money. They say, you know, don't write for money, if you're writing a book because you think you're gonna make money, don't do it. If you're writing a book because you have something compelling that you have to say, then do it. But don't expect that you're gonna get a lot of money for doing that. Maybe you will, maybe you will, maybe you'll earn out your advance, and get royalties for the rest of your life which would be a great gift. But what I did find is what people had said to me was the photographer gets the majority of the money. And in this parti (laughs). I saw that. In this particular instance, because the budget was, we were working on a shoestring budget for this. And yeah. It cost a lot of money and yeah I did not make, I did not make money on this. And I don't think you did. Think we both worked, we worked incredibly hard for a project that what the payoff is, is, we did it for love, for friendship, and also with the hope that, that there would be something else that would come out of this that would be greater than anything that we could've imagined. And if this is the only thing we do, it's pretty darn big and wonderful. But the fact that my publisher has come to me now and said "Can we have Andrew Scrivani, can you, is there is he interested?" And I called you up and you said "Yeah." That we can do another project together that hopefully will also have lasting value and will compensate us both fairly. You know we all need to make a living wage. Well I mean, I mean I expressed very similar sentiments to the audience earlier before you came on about my motivations for being involved in this and one of the things that, in addition to what you just said I mentioned that there was a bit of professional pride at stake for me because there was a very successful pie book that had come out several years earlier that I felt that I would like to try to rival. And you offered me a platform to express those kind of creative muscles and be able to feel a little bit competitive with my fellow food photographers and you know, that's a large motivation as well for those of us who are creative is to be able to be recognized for making something special. And, you know, it afforded me the opportunity to work with you and do something special with you that meant so much to you, but also it meant a lot to me too, and the opportunity to continue to work with you and do things that are built on that legacy, that that book will be longstanding for a very long time, it's a point of pride and a feather in my cap professionally and it's something I'm glad I got to share with you. Thank you, and I have to also say that Sue Young was having her inlay also as the photo stylist was, that was a pretty much of a drain too. Yeah, and you know your contributors were no small shakes either. Duncan and Robin added so much value to the experience for everybody and gave you a lot of confidence and comfort in having your family around you to do this project so we all, I think we all feel very similar in how it all turned out. Cool, cool. You know one thing I also forgot to add in was I think usually in photoshoots when the client, you may, they may, you may say "Okay, here's the photos and you can choose whatever, the ones you want." And I remember having that conversation with you and I said "Andrew, I trust you so much, I want you to pick the finals that the publisher, then we can choose from." You know I really felt that you had, you had, I think this was really an unusual pairing, an unusual project. That is an unusual thing, but it is something that I spoke to earlier about growth in our business and that when you have the opportunity to get the trust of your client and you get more creative freedom because you've earned that trust, it's not unusual once you get to that point. So it is definitely something that I appreciate that you felt that way about the way we created the pictures for your book. And that it's a really good example of when you get the trust of your client you get to be really creative and the project can grow from that perspective. So thank you for adding that in. Absolutely, so are we, have we, are we ready, are we done with the 10 questions? Yes, we are done with the 10 questions. Do a project? You wanna say hi to Jim, Jim is here. Jim is our host and he has facilitated all day, And we really just at this point, we just wanna thank Kate for her wonderful, assistance today. Hey Kate, can you let us know please where people should follow you if they wanna follow you going forward. Oh absolutely. So my website is artofthepie.com. My twitter feed is @katemcdermott. My instagram feed is @katemcdermott. Let's see, what else is there, my Pinterest feed is @katemcdermott but I'm not real active on there. You can either find me, it's gonna be artofthepie.com or @katemcdermott on pretty much the other social feeds. All right, Kate, thank you again. Wonderful having you in the studio today and folks out there are gonna be looking for your new cookbook that's out on the market now, but then for future cookbooks as well. Yes. Thank you so much. Thanks Kate! All right Kate, thank you, bye bye. (audience applauds)

Being confident in your photography is only the start of growing your success as a food photographer. Knowing how to pitch yourself to clients, communicate with vendors, and set yourself apart from a populated market are just some of the business techniques that are essential in seeing you profit from your work. Andrew Scrivani joins CreativeLive to help you take your photography and business to a place where you can start making it a successful career. He’ll cover: 

  • How to get work in the Food Photography Industry 
  • How to promote and network yourself to grow your client list 
  • Techniques on communicating with your vendors and clients on set and off 
Make your photography work for you and make money while shooting what you love.  

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • I highly recommend this course! Andrew is an engaging and thoroughly knowledgable teacher. This class is less about how to photograph food - although there are some terrific tips - and more about the "nuts and bolts" or rather, "bread and butter" of running a successful business. A lot of the information is relevant to business in general, but the specific tips about food photography are especially exciting to implement! I found the hands-on portion during the morning of day 2 especially helpful in assimilating the general or more abstract ideas covered in day 1, which laid a fantastic foundation. 5 stars!
  • Andrew is not only a funny, incredibly entertaining person, he's a seriously great teacher. Being in the live studio audience for this class was such a treat. I was able to learn a lot of the nitty gritty lived-in details of what it takes to be a successful food photographer. Things that are hard to come by in books and online! I would highly recommend this class for anyone who wants to take their passion to the next step: making a living.
  • While I'm not quite ready to focus my business on food photography, this class gave me a much clearer idea of what options and challenges there are in the food photography industry. Andrew covered everything from what jobs might be like when starting out on a tight budget to what options open up as the photographer becomes more experienced and successful. I already did my own internet research about the food photography business before the class, but this was more comprehensive and easy to understand in a short amount of time. Now I feel more confident about setting my business goals, who to look for to collaborate with on projects and eventually the kinds of clients I'd like to work with. He also gave many tips that are immediately applicable in my current photography business that isn't yet focused on food.