Editorial Food Photography


Editorial Food Photography


Lesson Info

Editorial Food Photography

It is my pleasure to welcome to creative life photo week editorial, food photography with andrew screw bonnie and andrew is a new york based freelance commercial and editorial photographer. He's, a food stylist and a writer he has so many amazing talent, and it is an honor to have him here at creative life, but a week welcoming gonna make a quick correction basically, there are no other channels while we're here, channel one that's all we got stay here, that's what we're going to go but it's really great to be back here. I was here in july, and I really enjoyed myself, so I'm really happy that creative live asked me back, and I'm here today to talk about a few new things and a new audience and big audience out there and let's get started. So what we're going to talk about today, keep things in my pockets like that, you know, what we're gonna talk about today is what does it mean to build kind of a visual narrative for food photographers? What does it mean for us? And how does it apply ...

to, you know, the greater kind of understanding off what it is you're doing as telling a story as as ah, is a journalist, and what as a journalist, is your responsibility to the text? You know the stories that are a company with your pictures and then building a story without text and I've broken it down into three different categories and how we're going to talk about it and we'll get to that but who is going to benefit from this? You know who comes to this course saying what do I want out of learning about a visual narrative? How'd we get there? I didn't get there um but amateur photographers looking to develop skills and learn about what it is that we do as photographers not just in I mean, what we're doing here is specific to food photography but it's not necessarily the on ly application and also we have a specific audience of people food bloggers who are doing sort of what we do in a kind of an encapsulated version of writing their own stories and then all the other stuff we carried food styling, propping and in the photography and how to put that stuff all together they're going to benefit from what we're doing today, you know, obviously pros who are existing in other areas of the business, you know, somebody who's on lee shot commercial or maybe somebody who is concentrating on fine art photography who doesn't understand the connection between maybe text stories and how to put those together how this could help in particular to food photography and building a narrative around food and also just anybody in general who's looking to understand how visual storytelling and photo storytelling in kind of a more comprehensive way because I'm going to cover a lot of things that from things that are really applicable to food but also a general overview of what it is I do and how I approach looking at visual storytelling so in essence what is a visual narrative a cz an overview? What is a visual narrative it's anything from like cave art toe animated storybooks to motion pictures and everything in between anything that is using visuals to tell a story or enhance the story and that's essentially we're going to talk about both of those things in what the pictures themselves can tell the story and then also bring a deeper understanding to an existing story or a a complete package and I'll talk about that today to what is a complete package when it comes to presenting a story too whether it be on your block or to a magazine or to a newspaper and you know there are different components to that we talk about static visual narrative, interactive visual narrative and dynamic visual narrative those air the three components that I'm gonna break it down and on the slide a single image narrative which is the first thing we're going to talk about in more depth that's essentially this static we're talking about one single image that is composed to tell or at least bring you to the mind set off the rest of the story, something that's usually accompanied by a text or something else. Or maybe the standalone image at the top of a video before the video begins. So if I'm scrolling through the newspaper online or I'm looking at youtube or whatever it's that one single image that brings you to want to click the play button or read the rest of the story, because now all of a sudden it's piqued your interest, it's tapped into something emotional that is making me interested in going back and that's your job is the photographer is to bring the audience in its particularly more now than ever before. You know, when you think about print and magazines before the internet, you know, it was all about the cover photo, right? If you're looking at a magazine and all of a sudden the cover photo is something that's gonna pull you in, you're walking through the bookstore and you looking and there's that one photo that's supposed to tell the whole story about what the book is about? I mean there's a whole science to the idea of how you go to the bookstore and look in your genre without actually having to read the titles you could stand back. Thirty feet and look at the way the covers are composed and you know which books fit the genre if you're looking for romance, if you're looking for, you know, avant garde or whatever that's all crafted that way similar and food photography in that we're trying to craft that one image in that single in that single image narrative to just grab you, pull you right in usually make you really hungry that's, you know, kind of that way also kind of think want to think a lot about how sensitive we are to nonverbal communication, right? Because without talking in food photography, you know you khun describe food as much as you want, you could tell a story about food, but the reality is looking at it the non verbal part of that is the thing that taps into the emotional aspect of what we do with food and how how that is kind of giving real power to this story you know you could talk about oh, it was really delicious, but to show somebody how delicious it was creates a whole different set of emotions. This is a whole different reaction, so it translates into different visual forms, like I said and like the caveman chipping away at the, you know, talking about killing the elk and this is all where it starts, but I mean if you understand how to build a visual narrative from the static through the interactive and into the movement, you khun do food like what we're all doing with dslr cameras right now is write role shooting stills, role shooting video we're all trying all these different things, but the skill set is the same because it's it's about your mind how you're going to think about creating that narrative, and then you learn the skills with the different pieces of equipment, which were always needing to do anyway, we always need thio learn new new gear, new gadgets and this new that and you need to, you know, you need thio adapt and be flexible in this industry because without having multiple skills, everyone else is learning them, so you need to keep up. So what we're gonna talk about with creating these narratives is about a mindset about a storyteller's mind set, and then everything you have is just tools in the tool kit. I know how to tell a story with one picture I have stella torrey with multiple pictures. I know how to tell a story with moving pictures or pictures that if you strung them together would essentially be movement, and I'll tell you a little story about that before we get into the slide show, um also what we do is kind of mental storyboarding and if it helps you to write things down or sketch them out or make notes and kind of figure out like where you want to go what's the story arc in the picture you know, even it's one picture where every component is pulling together to kind of give you that one pop or that string of images that's goingto help you figure out where's the beginning the middle and the end so um all of the things about a narrative goal here about setting theme detail shots beauty shots, action shots people this is about building that package I was talking about it's the push and pull of the camera so if you're thinking about watching these things and keeping the idea of movement in the idea of a visual narrative a lot of times when you talk about multiple image stories you're talking about the movement of the camera like in a film right there's that detail shot and then they pulled back and you look at the whole setting in the scene and then you've got a kind of a panning shot and then you have people in movement and everything else all of these things put together that kind of visual package that is bringing you into into that world so that is our job as the photographer or the cinematographer or whomever is creating the narrative to bring you into that world so all of those little details and it's always like if I just recently saw the wong kar wai, the grandmaster movie and some of the beautiful tight stills that they shot in that film standalone images that you could just freeze him and pull them out and use him would still tell it still gives you that sense the sense of theme and and power that they're trying to convey and that's the goal is that you can freeze frame anything and all of the component to their your composition is there the lighting? Is there the way you want it and it becomes that's your your narrative is it khun b free freeze framed and that's we're working backwards from that, so we're going, you know, from the still up and through, you know, some things can be literal in a visual narrative you're telling a very literal story, but then other things khun b implied movement is implied. Sometimes, you know, with the hands, hands coming through, you know, let's say we're making pizza or, you know the way of fork is being lifted, or the way spaghetti is being theworld movement can be implied as well and that's also helpful and understanding that you can put somebody into of particular moment that it started somewhere and it's going to continue, but you put them there, and then you can imagine and imply the rest of the movement that's also part of it, and it gets kind of thinking of it in that way and understanding that you're kind of taking a snapshot in time. You may only be seeking to create that one snapshot, but the reality is that your mind is taking you through that whole process and it's that one frozen piece that is that still that one single image narrative. So the ultimate goal of telling the visual narratives is being able to give that reader the sense of what the story is going to be about before they actually look at the first word before they read the first sentence, and then as they're going through it, whether it be more pedantic, where it's kind of okay, this is a recipe step by step by step, but then you can still tap into something emotional. You, khun expand the story, so not only are you bringing the reader to the story, but the visual should be able and have the ability to expand the story, to really tell maur than what's being written on the page, the emotional component, the things that happened to somebody's kind of sense off. Place and time when it comes to food because food is really emotional for us right? We all have kind of memories that are attached to food and with being able to kind of tap into one particular thing whether it be a holiday or whether it be kids playing or whatever there's there are memories that are attached to food because we have to eat every day it's not like many other things in life where we occasionally experience them we experience food on a daily basis which is why we're so tapped into it which is why it's so easy in some ways to get into people's heads when it comes to food whether it be how food is presented, how it's prepared what it smells like that's why anything would movement in it fire steam you know glowing coals anything that like tangible something you can grab onto and put a memory and attach it to it there's a smell it's attached to that there's a sense that's attached that is the feeling of that kind of humidity in the kitchen you know when you're when you're cooking at the holidays you know and people are coming in and out there's all this kanata kinetic movement all of that could be captured in a single image if you're thinking in those terms so you put yourself there what is it set special about that particular idea and why does it resonate and that's what we wanted to speak to translate whether it beauty like I said through a single image or string of images you know, the everything is kind of the sense of the evocative one time I had a single image and one of my editors who didn't necessarily communicate to me all that well he wasn't that kind of guy you know? He wasn't like calling me every time I send him pictures go god, that was awesome I loved it that was great I mean, he never really said much of anything thie idea that he liked my work was just that I was getting hired the next day you know? But he called me up after one particular image that struck him really deeply and he was like, yo, man, that was really evocative those were his only words but the reality was that was what that was that's always the goal and when you get that kind of feedback from people who aren't necessarily emotional about it or don't express that that's when you know you've reached that kind of you've reached it you've gotten reached right through that picture and you grab somebody and pull them right into it and that's what we're attempting the other thing you got to remember is you telling the story is not let's say the stories that you wrote this story let's say right and you hired me to take the picture and I understand the story, and I understand the art direction, and I know where you want to go with it, but then what happens next is I'm going to interpret that as an artist, I'm going to interpret what you mean by we're cooking this food, and we want to present it in this setting, and we wanna have give people the feeling of x, y and z, but still there's something of me in that it's, the way I interpreted it's like reading a poem, right? I'm reading your work, and I'm interpreting it, and I'm getting your art direction, but I still have to tell that story my own way. I still have to be true to how I'm going to present that information. I can't try to think like you, I can't say, what would you do? Because I already know how you feel because you already gave me the text that was your form of expression, my neck. The next step is my interpretation, so whenever you look at pictures, my pictures, you're seeing a little bit of me, you seeing my aesthetic, you're seeing my emotional connection, you're seeing the things that are going toe resonate with me as well, and hopefully that translates to other people, but you've got to keep in mind that a little bit of yourself should bleed into whatever it is you're doing even if it's not your story now if it's your block and or two you're doing it a comprehensive package or writing whatever which I've done in the past the idea is now you're just throwing everything at everybody it's my visuals it's my words whatever but that's not always the case particularly when you're working in an editorial context or a book or even advertising although that's a lot more controlled but we'll talk about that you also let lookinto influence people's unconscious thoughts, which is what we were talking about a little bit but I mean understanding the psychology they're right you're you're going toe tweak it just enough you know the gingham at the picnic shot is tapping into a whole set of cultural expectations about what a picnic is that's that universa universality of you know of photography end of our culture you know it's theirs something really powerful about that deeply rooted, you know kind of social and cultural practices around food whether it be in america or in europe and they're all different. But if you understand the cultures that you're participating in, whether it be your own or other people's culture and understand how to play those to play those notes, those cultural and social notes and what it is that is help to reach you know this isn't not is not you know it is much, um emotional undertaking and understanding as it is uninterested jewel one you know we talk about how intellectual this always we're kind of breaking it down and parsing it and picking it out but the at the end of the day it's an extraordinarily emotional experience it's something that we are deeply rooted in particularly with our cultures you know I'm italian it comes through in my work it that's that's ah I would be negligent as as an artist if it didn't come through in my work the reason I got involved with food was because my italian grandmother which I've told the story off so if that doesn't come through me then I'm not being true to who I am and that's where your art starts to kind of slide off to the side when you're tryingto please all of the people all of the time right? You gotta hold and make a style and and craft these kind of stories that mimic your story in a way so um the other thing you want to remember is that you're also creating stand along pieces of art in a lot of ways your art will live beyond the story it's attached to and it will create its own story in time so there are lots of pictures you're seeing now that are completely out of context when I show images during slide shows of workshops they're completely out of context now because now they're detached from the story so remembering that we're creating, you know, our own pieces of art that will stand alone and people will come back to them, right? So you'll read the article, you look at the picture and all of a sudden the picture kind of triggers some memory, and you now people have a different connection to it. It may remind them of the article, but it's also going to create a standalone memory that react that people will react to a stand alone piece of art, so we're kind of working on those two levels were tryingto be true to the story that we're shooting for, but we're also trying to create a piece of standalone art that will trigger memory and people and get them to understand the narrative that we're telling outside of the connection to the to the assignment. So, you know, one of the things that I've done professionally, which taught me this lesson earlier in my career, was that I was shooting what's called an a matics I don't know if you know what I'm familiar with that work. Basically, anna matics are photographic storyboards for commercials, so you'll be put in a setting that looks like a photo shoot because essentially it's a photo shoot, but the purpose of the images after the fact are to be put up on a board in sequence. As a storyboard, and then when a commercial gets shot, those air those those are the principal shocked that they're going to shoot, and then they string them together in editing. So I was doing, ah, I shot automatics for a commercial a few years ago, and, you know, everything was well directed, ok, we're going to do this, and we're going to do this because we want to tell this story, and we want to understand how this is going to work, and we want to show this movement and we want to get this close up so let's get stills of all of that, right? And we went through it piece by piece, and when I looked at it in editing, I am just, you know, once it was finally edited, I kind of just clicking the button and watching it go by and watching how the story was being told, and when I saw the commercial finally produced, it was remarkable how close they got to those images. They strung them all together, you know, different actors, different set, but the reality was it was exactly the same down to the minute movements of the people's hands and how their gestures were in the smiles on their faces because they were able to craft that direction, the art direction for that, through those stills one of the time piece by piece so when you understand the power off the individual still and see how can influence even and I mean, you think about graphic novels, you know, and how those translate so well to the screen, right? Because it's, that one powerful image that grabs you and then everything builds off that so building that visual narrative is something that will enhance and enable the rest of the story as well. It's not just that it's an accompaniment it's an it's an influence, and if you see it that way, you know whether it's in food or anything else you understand the power that the one single snapped images going to do to influence the rest of the story. So our first question is from sam cox from loveland, colorado, who is a long time watcher here on creative life and he's asking, would you agree that to be a good food photographer, you must really appreciate food and be involved with it? Or can you approach food photography with the strip? Nick? Strictly technical mindset? You know, I think that's very hard to do. I've said this before that I think it's really important for people who photograph food to love it and have an understanding of it, I don't think you necessarily have to be a really skilled cook or somebody who's worked in restaurants or something like that, but I do think you have to have a deep appreciation for food both the pleasure last the pleasurable aspects of food and the intellectual aspects of food. So I do think like a kind of ah, a familiarity and even a passion for food will always help in making better food photography, so ok, then keep going on yeah, sure. Okay, so the single shot narrative which you know, is what we're calling, we're going to call in a technical term the pictorial narrative, okay? And it's kind of how to bring how to maximize one single frame in food photography to bring your reader to a place. So my first one here, okay? So I've shown this image before if you watch the other creative live, this is one that I kind of including a lot of different things because this was supposed to tell the story. Okay, wait, I'm going to ask you if you're looking at this, what is something that it tells you about? Is there a story there that is? What is it? Speaking to you tell, tell me what it speaks to you for me, it's it's sunday with my family and that's what we're having okay, but so you reading a magazine sunday in your family? Well, now, but the food I'm like you're you're hyper focused on the food I am so let's look at the over the overall composition when you read while you eat lunch when you're working or alone, right? So that's, the idea of this is meals for one, right? So the concept of meals for one was kind of implied through the addition of the magazine, so it's still that you can eat well and something like this, which is really quick and easy to put together, isn't on entire kind of meal, and you have some nice elements there and it's the end of the day and I have my glass of wine and I'm going to kind of relax with my with my magazine, and I'm going to hang out at home and I'm going to have a hearty meal and that's hopefully what is being translated? Everything in there is intentional, whether it be for photographic reasons or storytelling reasons or food styling reason. So there is nothing that goes into any particular picture like this that is aimed at trying to tell an entire story with one picture that isn't completely intentional now, obviously some of those intentions were purely visual, you know, toasting the bread, making sure that that plane doesn't have all kinds of drips and all kinds of other things going on because it's, just before we're going to dig in all right, this is this is that picture that we sit down to the thing that you sit and you look down and you exhale okay long day nice meal going to relax you know and then all of the kind of the visual elements but what happened to you when you first looked at it is the intention you centered on the food because ultimately it's a food image so it's boom I'm hyper focused on the middle of the frame the thing that jumps out at me but also the colors, the color aspects and you know, one of the things we're going to talk about here within in a general sense is understanding that food in essence is almost always seasonal because it's really hard to understand if you would have attached a season to this fake picture which would have been probably winter for exactly that was the goal is in february because the idea is that this type of food stewie hardy warm comforting is more of a winter food right? And the color scheme green red not pastel not you know. So all of that comes into play when you're talking about building that one particular image also the types of foods you shoot always influence because those also seasonal now of course you can get things out of season, but if we're trying to shoot peaches and it's the middle of february first of all, you're not going to find them unless you get him out of a can. But, you know, it's not going to resonate with people in a magazine or a newspaper reading a story about peaches in the middle of february, there has to be some kind of a connection to reality when it comes to food, because people are sensitive to it. That's. Why, when you look at magazines in august and september, everybody's got corner tomatoes on their cover because that's what's in season and that's what people are cooking with, you know, and then the green tomatoes will come, and then, you know, and then as we get into the the fall in the winter, it's all the root vegetables and all the stuff that you could still get the farmer's market, even though it's twelve degrees outside. So that, again, is one of those things you need to be sensitive to as your being a visual storyteller, because if you live in a place like california, where you can get things seasonally out of season but your audience is national, it may not resonate, you know, and if you live in a place like florida, where it's perpetually pastel right it's, always sunny and it's, always bright, but you back east, you know, up north. Nobody's feeling the pastels like you know it's not easter and that's what people marathon easter it won't ring true it won't tap into the emotional aspect of what you're trying to sell I'm trying to sell winter here so that's why the colors a complementary to the season um again all the overall profit like I said, you know if you're doing a barbecue shot and you're out in the yard and you serving food on fine china it's not going to ring true that's an exit that's an extreme example but you also don't want to be serving on paper plates but there is a happy medium do you have to find something that is you know appropriate but also tasteful for photography? His paper plates don't necessarily sell that story lighting to lighting is also one of those things that can have a b a seasonal effect where you're lighting khun get moodier as the seasons get moodier and the lighting can get brighter and more you know mood related that as the seasons change because again the emotional part of what you're doing with telling this story narratively is understanding where you audiences you know as we're sitting there you know in the in the end of january in the northeast where it's dark at five o'clock and it's miserable out and you don't you know you want to be home and warm and comfortable and then all of a sudden you got beautiful, bright sunshiny kind of outdoorsy looking photograph of a cocktail but he's going to be looking like I don't get it and that'll be the emotional reaction it may not even be conscious thought you won't react to it the same way as you feel would a hot toddy, right? Because it then that's what you want? See so ultimately what you're tapping into in the visual narrative is what do people really want? Do I want a mitch a mint julep? Well, maybe if I'm sitting on a beach somewhere, but my reality is that I'm stuck in new york and it's twelve degrees outside that doesn't that doesn't bring true to me that doesn't give me that that's, not the object desire that food photography should be, and that's kind of where we're at with that with the single, that single narrative. So we have a couple of mme or that, you know, this was sort of that it was supposed to tell the story of valentine's day at home after a long day, you know, like a quick valentine's meal, and I included this shot, among others, just kind of as almost like a postcard to my editor saying here, this is the and I sometimes I include pictures in my set that I think are playful or whatever, but I don't expect them to get published but almost always when I do that if they always pick the one that I intended to be just playful because they get it they get the sense of what I'm trying to explain so this is a little bit literal in that sense of two people sitting at a cafe table at home the little present it is very little but the idea is that it's still told the story pretty well on once you read through the story maybe you had even more of a little ah ha oh, I get it that's cool so and again everything there is intentional with eyes to where we're going including all the black which is that you know, the bright spot of in the middle of your of your dark winter and when you include people you know you'll see this guy a couple of times in what we're doing today this is my god son and he's actually peace three now but he's uh he's going to be modeling he's so good in front of the camera he just has those moments it just it just never never ceases to amaze but you know, this has that kind of stand alone creating that kind of emotional connection it says cute about dogs it is cute about people it says something about the reaction we have to junk food and how emotional and how pleasurable it could be, you know on dh he's, you know, he's he's, a little guy and he's uh, he's getting in there and it's just that that story, that story tells itself it doesn't need any accompaniment. Itjust going, you can imagine putting yourself there in any context we were all children, a lot of disappearances in our around kids and that's, you know, that's that moment where you stand back and you just make yourself it makes you happy, you know, and of course, those were home made instead of store bought, so that was the other part of that that we were going for in this story was that kids can enjoy a little healthier at twist on the hostess cupcakes, the twinkies, oreos so they were all homemade, and then we put them in front of a little kid and see what happens and of course, not only little kid was interested, but the dog was interested, so everybody was interested in the healthier, whatever. So obviously you're you're also looking to influence your audience as much as you are reacting to what happens on the camera. So that's, where we are any comments about before, I move on to what we're going to talk about next about the single image or, uh, quite a few people are just worried about, like, table placement and setting because there's there's that feeling of they want everything to have etiquette, you know, and perfect placement, really food photography or, you know, so, like joanne, andrea, great question firmer. Is there a template or basic rule that might follow to balance of photo in terms of placement of item and items around the main subject? You know, are there odd numbers of items around the plate or props that create specific lines and, you know, that's an interesting question actually use and guiding your that's an interesting question, and I really it's like I am off the mindset that you have to go with what you find aesthetically pleasing, because that's, how I approach that kind of overall compositional placement of items is how they feel together, you have to kind of trust your gut. I am not miss manners or whatever, you know, when it comes to fork on the left or whatever it might be, I don't I don't describe any of that. I don't know that any food photographer does in particular because that's not really part of our culture anymore. Fine dining on that level with that kind of formality is not really something that is, uh, a part of our overall eating culture anymore are eating culture in general is much less formal than ever wass, you know, even in better restaurants, expensive restaurants, it's still a lot less casual I mean a lot less formal our entire society is less formal when I was a kid I used to have to dress up to go on an airplane everybody wears their pajamas now I don't know whether that's good or bad, but the reality is we're less formal so I think in our photography we can be looser and more aesthetic in a personal sense rather than be really tight about it and I think the tighter it is, the more formal it is uh the less appealing it khun b because it's going to appeal to a narrower and narrower, um audience right? Because if we're in a very informal culture and we're presenting imagery in a very formal way, you're limiting your audience because you're going to turn some people off subconsciously looking at it going, yeah that's that's not how I eat that's not what I do, so how I don't relate to that and I think relatability is essential, but I think compositionally you have to kind of feel it through if it doesn't look right if it feels unbalanced, you gotta change it up really long answer to which you know is perfect because I answered all the questions for everyone who had, you know, questions on seating etiquette and and everything for a table setting is perfect it's interesting that you were talking about the history of our table setting and our manners because that would actually be a really nice narrative and story maybe a conceptual photo just tell that story of how we've changed in our society absolutely I mean there is you know but I think that being you know kind of an amateur anthropologist is essential to telling stories whether you're telling stories in a battlefield or you're telling stories in a kitchen you know, understanding people understanding what their motivations are their psychology what emotional component there is toe what you're telling you know what story you're telling and how that might people might react to that you know there's a there's a great magazine that I admire called garden and gun and it's so completely out of the realm of the culture that I grew up in but the way they portray it is so has so much mass appeal and there's so much beauty and how they captured that lifestyle it's brilliant because you know it is a very narrow and they've narrowed their audience really in a defined way with that title you throw gun in anything and you're going to narrow your focus. The reality is that when you flip through that magazine whether you're you know from the north east or from the south or from middle of the country or you from a city or you're from the country you can appreciate the aesthetic and that's successful that's successful journalism where visual journalism where at the stories that are being told that khun still be appreciated even if you don't necessarily relate to that particular story and I find that fascinating because that's really when you're stretching yourself as an artist you know when auras auras a publication where your way your visual reach goes well beyond your contextual you know components any more questions or should I roll I think you should keep going on okay um okay where am I? I'm on my next live okay multiple image story narratives so we're talking about multiple images where we're going to support maybe a text story or video or audio slides or whatever something that has some other component of information we're going to call this sequential art in a sense because then your job is to then create with your image is some type of temporal narrative where it's a beginning a middle and an end maybe not necessarily that honed with timing but the ideas as you reading the story the pictures should kind of a company what's going on so having the familiarity of reading the story beforehand or being the person who's creating this story to begin with you have a framework for where your sequence is going to go now what the pictures I'm going to show you now what original title which is okay since been changed it's a book so it's essentially it could be a long magazine story or it could be a book but the reality is that it's a it's a longer narrative that's accompanied by text so it was originally called crazy silly kids which it's been since changed so but in my mind set when I'm approaching how I'm going to go about this I need to say I wanted to say kids obviously whether I put kids in the pictures or not I wanted to be silly obviously because now we're talking about and the idea is it's a vegan cookbook so it has to be healthy so how do I how do I tell that story in a narrative? You know where it's going to be there's not going to be a whole lot of story attached to this it's going to be recipes and overall lifestyle right? The lifestyle of a vegan who has kids who wants their kids to be that way you know and how it could be fun and how it's not limiting and how all of that so so my first my first thought was let's get a kid doing something silly doing something silly with vegetables we got that kind of outdoor field we have the idea of light and bright and the sense of the food you know, knowing if you're buying this book right? If you're buying a vegan cookbook for kids you're already in a very small subgroup so you can appreciate then the nature of where we're going with this right outdoors barefoot, we got a lot of kind of natural elements going on. This is not a city living it's not, you know, so that's all of those kind of elements and honestly, the tricycle in the background was happenstance that's not a prop that just happened to be there, so it kind of worked out that way because it also harkens back to a little bit of a different time where it's, not a plastic big wheel, you know, it's, not a plastic big wheel it's, you know, it's still kind of a natural feel to it because people have a nostalgia about that particular, you know, the flexible flyer tricycle, you know, there's something there about that, you know, all of the above rules that we talked about about the single shot also applied all of the images that we're going to go through in a multiple image narrative, you know, where your single shot might be your final shot, if it was this is that beauty shot at the end. So you know where we got you know, you're going to kind of bring your reader through many places instead of just in one still life shots of ingredients and other kind of pieces that you weave together, we're goingto have tio you know, you're going to have to kind of put those things together to pull back and again the push and pull here's our kid and let's show some food so again like this so the color scheme, the lighting, the little cup with the pirate on it it says kids it's not too kitschy. So it's that's the whole idea is to put together something that is being, um again not too literal, but but suggestive of whereof where we're going, um, you know, those seen shots to where we recreated the scene with the wider shot and the wider angle or cable shot and, you know, with people working or getting the feel for to setting a where things are happening, if it's that type of a story, the process shots that you khun lead from here we are grocery shopping and then here we are chopping and then we're cooking and then we have people and they're laughing and they're smiling, you know, so we're building on we're bringing us through the whole process, and then we finish with that final beauty shot that's again, that's part of that kind of multiple package and you know, the macro close up, which is essentially what this is is part of that longer narrative, but it's also again, you're thinking about motion right were in this is that freeze frame, then we pull back and we're having we're having a moment here that's a little bit it's a little bit wider, a little bit more universal. So again, the the full package again, we're talking about that full package of images has to kind of capture the idea of the push and pull in the movement, so we're back to him again, right? But this time this is a lead in shot to something else where I'm going also use this shot right as that kind of that striking kind of image and that other shot might be paired with it. So now we're telling two stories at once, you know, we're talking about that memory of having licked the spoon when your mom iced cake, you know, and that that is not kids are not deprived of that by living this lifestyle, we're doing the vegan thing, but all of that memory and all of that stuff that's attached to these types of foods is intact, and I think that's the that's, the whole idea of telling this story with this at the same time because way have multiple goals here because we're trying to sell a lifestyle that is is a niche we're trying to sell the idea that is very foreign to a lot of people emotionally, not just not just taste or food or whatever, but there's a there's that kind of pushed back against things like well, veganism is your thing why push it on your kids and deprive them of all the things that we all had growing up? You know, because it's part of our culture to eat these foods and experienced these things, and we've romanticised it for so long that if you don't at least pay homage to that you're being negligent in a way for some people in food, you're all of a sudden saying, well, I don't want my kids to go through that, and they're going to be deprived that and that might be a conscious thought it might be a subconscious thought, so I'm conquering that by showing little guy here doing exactly what we all did except what's on that spoon isn't butter and sugar, it's, tofu and whatever, you know, silken tofu in cocoa? Yes, for those who are focusing on people in these with a single image narrative, there are a couple photos at the beginning that you decided not to show people in there except for the last one with the dog involved. And I know when you have a person in there, you can empathize and analyze their emotions and everything and when you choose did not have a person in there, you're doing something different can you comment on what when you decide to include a person in a photo lineup that's a great question basically, if the if this tone of the story is geared more towards the idea of an experience, then I will include people, but if the tone of the story is really more about a particular food item, then the food becomes the more of the pressing issue there now when we move on, they'll be that we're going to go back and forth several times between people and food. But the idea is that depending on where, whether we're focusing on a single like a single person, if it's a profile, the chef or it's more of the like a particular person in their lifestyle and how food plays a role in their life, depending on what is the primary focus of the text story that's where my goal, that that's where my my prime image is going to be focused on so like with the story with the eggs that really was just about that one moment alone, I'm going to read, I'm going to hang out, I'm going to eat my food and I'm gonna be really comfortable doing it because it's been a long day and then the one with the kid it's obviously more about how your kids are going to react to this particular type of food because you're replacing they're standard favorite cupcake or cookie with some kind of homemade replacement so that so the tone of the story and the and the narrative of that story has to be mirrored in that one single image does that kind of answer? So like I said yes, so I did as a standalone image in a story this could be your lead image because it's striking and because it again it taps into that idea that it just cause it's vegan doesn't mean it doesn't have to be delicious. So that's the that's, the your combating the cultural backlash towards kind of niche eating, whether it's gluten free or veganism or vegetarian? Yes, he's sort of the syrian question is the food actually begin? Yeah, if you're if you're sitting in and your playing is a vegan oh no it's nothing! It's it's actually vegan food it is it's completely vegan for all of the food that we make for these particular stories, I try to remain editorially honest when we're doing this enemy again being primarily a new york times photographer, that is not just the goal it's the expectation way don't do that because if you do and you get caught, you're going to get in trouble because they take it very seriously, but that's extended out to my other work where I feel like you wouldn't be able to tell if that's real butter cream or not, right, but I would know, and I wanted to be editorially honest, because, honestly, if you go home and make that and it looks completely different, you're not going to take the rest of that book seriously, or that article or that author whomever. So I have a responsibility as the conduit to the audience to be truthful. So that's, I guess, you know, I think I found a lot of vegan articles that, like, are like recipes and stuff in my own personal experience that they just don't come out like the photo looks and that that makes me wonder if if yes, they're just using sort of techniques to make it look, maybe, or, or very commonly, it's a stock photo that has nothing to do with the recipe but is close enough to get away with because quite honestly, depending on what website you're going, teo and what kind of resource is they have producing a food shoots expensive? Eso if you could buy a stock image for two hundred bucks, pop that in and it's close enough that's, you know, kind of where that that goes to go, no, no, it's great now, it's not off topic, because the reality is that it's all part of what it means, because the narrative continues beyond the picture of this story because if you go as far as to make the recipe and then it's not true to what you wanted it to be you're disappointed and then the journalist has failed because the story might be you know interesting in the short term but it's not that's not the primary goal is to entertain you the primary goal is to give you something you can use in real life and if that's not being achieved then you failed whether it be a visual artist or a zoo writer then what was the point? You know you just put something out there just for the sake of putting it there no okay so the other thing that's big in this stories and is these kind of juices and everything is green and kaylie and it doesn't kind of it's not so it's not hawaiian punch let's put that way you know and how do we get kids interested in this and how you know this is again this is the challenge of this type of eating is that if it's not laden with sugar and butter and salt how do you get kids toe like it? You know and how do you make it fun? So the idea was we got the silly elements we have the fun element we got the thing that we want to pull the kids in with, you know and you've got the crazy little mustache straw and we used glass marbles and other things kind of just kind of, you know, illuminate and give it that playful feel. So again, you would look at this, and immediately, no it's about kids, even if it was a standalone image, because it has enough of those elements but it's, still sophisticated enough it's not so kitschy and so literal that you'd be like that dumb, that just doesn't make any sense. Um, and again from a food perspective, the bubbles, you know, the colors you still, you know, it's still kind of, like swamp water in a glass and, you know, and it's, good for you, but it's still it's, like, I don't know if I want to drink that, you know, it's hard enough to get kids to eat anything green, let alone drink something green. Um, so it's that kind of again speaking to the lifestyle and the lifestyle challenges of what it's gonna take to get your kids toe kind of buy into this, you know, and then way, just extend beyond that, you know, and continue with that kind of the overall feel, the colors and the season. And, you know, most of what we're talking about here is fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and so we wanted it to be a summer setting, so the bright colors and the light in a certain way so all of those elements we've talked about before pulling that all in and, you know, the younger the kids, the more enticing it is for parents because they're thinking my three year old, this soul picky, I'm not going to be able to get them to buy into this so it's again encouragement, it's, subconscious encouragement so and the fact that two two siblings can actually drink out of the same glass without killing each other, which, you know, okay, all right, before I go into the next one, any questions about the multiple image narratives? There was one question earlier about this from melissa de palma, thanks for the great question, melissa says. As a former graphic designer, I'm interested in the power of pairing two images together and the story this can tell that that's great. I'm glad that that question came up because I wanted to talk a little bit about the perfect says, I see that you do this on your website. Can you please comment on this type of presentation? Storytelling, that's cool, I don't have an image to support it at the moment, but you all understand what I'm talking about him when we talk about doing a pairing of two vertical pairing there are a couple of different reasons why I do that was particularly on my website and on on any story that old pierre in the web because you have a lot of real estate horizontally in the web when you talk about how you know this screens or sixteen by nine, and we got this nice wide swath of about at the top of any given story, obviously the sidebars they're there and you can click on him and they pop up. But when you have really nice vertical images, which is when we first started shooting food photography, it was all magazine and newspaper style, right? So everything was vertical and we got really used to shooting in the vertical plane. When the web started becoming the primary production outlet, we had to adjust and start to shoot in the vertical plane. I mean, the horizontal plane, but a lot of us started to realise, while we condemn a really good job by pairing two verticals together to create a horizontal and add something to the overall storytelling concept that we're going with. So, like, if I'm doing something like a fresh salad, I compare it with really striking image of a piece of fruit or or a particular vegetable, and I try to do something that's off, and I was commenting on somebody's portfolio today hi pala. She asked me to take a look at her portfolio and we were talking about she did a lot of pairings in her in and dip ticks in her portfolio, but rather than doing like a bigger, longer view and then a tighter view of something that is a component or or some other aspect of that particular story, she chose to kind of pair similar type images and juxtaposed them against one another and they competed with one another. So what we really what the goal is to kind of tell the story within the story, so you have the what I try to do with the dip fixes, and I'll continue to make this hand motion consistently while I'm talking about dicks because if I don't, no one will know what I'm talking about. Um the idea like I have a stir fry story and part of this ther fry story was about seasoning your walk and how it's important to have a really good walk and seasoning it and it's something you'll have for generations and you can hand it down and it's a great piece of equipment in your kitchen but accompanying that was part obviously starfire recipes, so I did a pairing off the stir fry recipe plated with chopsticks or whatever to kind of give the asian field and then I just took a still life off a really beautiful, well seasoned walk from the top, and we paired them together and we got a little a really nice response to that because it kind of I told both parts of that story and put it together in that kind of duel image idea. So I think that being able to tell the story within the story or simultaneous stories at the same time, our that's, the goal and the benefit of using the dipstick or even the trip thick at the top of the story, like I like the trip took idea of three images at the top when you're doing like process. So you have, like, raw vegetables, something in process and in the finished image, and if you could do those all in the vertical plane and string them together at the top of the story, you have a really nice narrative that gives you a really good idea as a viewer what to expect when you're reading that story. So, um, we still going on questions? We got anything else we can? There are quite a few that are actually coming through right now quite a few questions about photo shopping and the rules with photography and because, you know, I'm especially, I think with the little boy eating, and it was really messy. Do you ever clean some of that up and put a shop? You know it depends on the client if it's an editorial newspaper story were very limited in what we can do there because again editorially honest magazines are a lot more liberal about it obviously books a lot more liberal about it newspaper stuff you've got a pretty much keep it pretty tight you can't go crazy with the photo shop but there are times in when we have other clients or whatever that it's it's a little bit more acceptable culturally you know in the culture of publication there are different rules especially advertising all bets are off with that so you know if it's really that messy and it's an editorial story I'll start over we played it start over you know, if it's not something you feel comfortable photoshopping because it's not the culture of the publication you're working for then you start over that's what I would do better safe than sorry absolutely well speaking of what's acceptable for the publications sam cocks and joanne andrea both have the same question wondering about in food photography is there room for techniques such as photo composites, hdr panorama, etcetera and also black and white in advertising? I don't think that that stuff is really honest in when you're talking about actual food that you're going to attempt to make it home I find that really distracting and it's really I find it distracting and I find it dishonest in a way. Because what you were saying earlier about I want to go home and make it and at least make it look something like what the picture looked like if it's hdr or it's you know composited that's really misleading now for advertising that's a whole different ball game. You know, the mcdonald's hamburger that you see in an ad is a composite image and it's probably not even real food half the time. So that's again that's all bets are off. But that's not that's, not an expectation that I'm gonna go home and make a big mac. The expectation is I'm going to go to the restaurant and I want to, you know, that's a that's, a whole different expectation. So the short answer is not an editorial in editorial. Great next question from joanne andrea as well. What if the art director and the photographer are a bit at a difference in how to convey the story? Is that a subjective thing? And who wins out well? First, throwing a tantrum is always really a good way to approach her editor stomping your feet on maybe leaving the set, throwing your camera I cannot work with this, cannot his conditions. But when there is a difference of opinion, I think that you have to defer to the idea that the editor is the person is ultimately responsible for what picture goes up and you have to do your best to stay true to what you do but also you have to remind the editor you hired me to do what I do so let's find a compromise in how we're gonna work it out. Most good editors are very collaborative and are willing to be flexible to your style because they hired you in the first place. Sometimes you run into a you know a roadblock when you're trying to do something but you also have to know I was having a conversation with benjamin wong earlier on we were talking about his work we were talking about how expansive and epic you know his stuff is and we were talking about how that translates commercially it speaks to the same issue is that the editor is going to look through that and say I like what you do but I need you to tone it down a little bit and that's kind of the same concept right is making that compromise and saying I'd love to be here with this image but I understand if we need to be here in the middle somewhere so it again collaborative cooperative it'll get you more work right on all right let's keep going on with the content okay, so the slideshow narrative is what I'm calling this a cola narrative illustration, you know? So this is something that can stand alone without text without audio, without video where you can flip through it and if you have a working knowledge of pretty much what's happening, you're going to get a really good sense of what's going on now often a slideshow is accompanied by audio or some, you know, captioning but you don't want to count on it you wanted you wanted to be something that can be, you know, this is the rial kind of challenge and storytelling and putting together different pieces of what this so I'll tell the story as we're going through the picture, okay, so the story is about this guy his name is dante let karachi and he's argentine who does a sioux veed style of cooking like foreign andrea so that's his kind of that's his idol and he was invited to come to the international culinary center in new york by a writer to show the icy sea instructors his style because basically as an argentine it's all about roasted meat soup he'd meet meets argentine cooking it's an interesting concept because it's about that kind of dual process of cooking the meat in the water and the emergent bath and then pulling it out and searing it and doing all kinds of really cool stuff with it and then what we were going to do is so he's in this school setting and he's going to be doing this and then there's all these really well known famous chefs who are there to taste his food so it's you know, it's kind of a stressful environment it's kind of you know, something that this guy wants to make an impression because he's a relative unknown and he's doing something relatively unique so that scene setter okay, we're at the icy sea now you don't necessarily have to know it's the I c c but you will know that it looks like a cooking school it's obviously not of commercial restaurant kitchen? Well, maybe not obviously, but it's a pretty pretty big kitchen and then we're going to talk about suited cooking so the only kind of an immersion blender is, you know, that's what movie cooking's all about in a way that's that signature item in the kitchen that tells you this is the this is a different style because without, you know, unless we had a centrifuge or something else to show but one of those pieces of technical equipment that allows you to know that we're talking about soviet here and then we're going to kind of go through some of the idea and you know, when you cook savi that meat kind of has that beautiful pink color inside and he sears the outside to kind of give it that kind of argentine flare. So I wanted to get a close up of that in some part of the narrative because I wanted to show that that's the important part to him in particular as a chef, is that that searing is still a big part of what he does and, you know, so now we're back to the idea of traditional kind of using the things that, you know, and then visually, this works nicely with the colors and the cooking and, you know, you want to kind of give that push in, push in, pull back, push and pull back of that, you know, you could see this in a video, right? You know, you can watch the video going by and here's the chef and here's, you know, the equipment and now he's cooking, and now you got that kind of close up in that sizzling and you can hear it, you know, and that's part of that, too, is that it part of the visual narrative is to bring in the other senses that you don't necessarily have in a two dimensional image, right? You can hear that you can hear that picture, you can almost smell it. So that's that what we were talking about earlier is that that kind of visceral connection that we have because we have very strong memories of food and what they sounds like and what it smells like that you can pull out into the narrative so now here's, that kind of little testing moment where you have one of those chefs and it's so dramatic because of he's wearing the chef's hat right? So he's, you know, he's there and you could see he's got that little nervous look on his face because this guy's tasting this food and this is before it goes out to the big chefs were sitting in the kid in the dining area so again we're bad we're still in this environment we're kind of taking ourselves through and here's that motion piece right? That that where we talked about having that built into your package and your narrative is that you have some side, some sense of motion were moved or movement this isn't meant to be a beauty shot, so the idea is it's meant to be a transitional shot because now where am I going from here? I'm carrying food most likely I'm going to be heading to finish food and the dining room so there is a beauty shot of one of the pictures that's coming out of the kitchen it's what's going to be presented to the chefs in the dining room and and here are the two founders of the I c c that's that's, alon celia and andre soltner and they are the first people that are going toe kind of go through this guy's food so again the narrative we're in the kitchen the lower chef is tasting the transition is coming out to the to the dining room here's your finished picture here are the guys who were goingto judge that judge that food, you know, and then the next couple of pictures and then you kind of get this longer view and if you're a true foodie and you kind of know the culture, you don't need the captions to know who these people are you know, that that's poorly brand from court tongue that's that's that saul bolton and you don't see the rider back there but he's a famous writer named peter kaminsky. So you know, you get the sense of the fact that these are all pretty important people in the food world who are all goingto judge this man who came over here to, you know, try something new, so that's kind of where that's kind of the nature of that now I talked through that whole thing, obviously, but the reality is that you could have pieced all of those things together one of the time to understand where you know where it was going you kind of knew it was about savi do kind may not have known this guy's a visiting chef but you knew that he was the guy that was being tested, you know? And then you obviously got all these older gentleman who looked pretty important who are goingto judge his food so obviously this is a company buy like a four thousand words story so but the reality is that my goal was to create something that didn't necessarily need four thousand words and tell the story and to be able to use it in a context like this where as a teaching tool, you get the idea that if we were shooting a video of that it would kind of look almost similar that was that idea of anna matics where we have the and the finished shot wasn't necessarily the star of the show, the final images these guys kind of gathering and talking and talking about the food I mean, unless everybody was sitting there going, yeah, man, that was great, that would be the culmination on the validation, but we're going to get that here. You know, the idea and the storytelling element is to build the tension. All right? You can feel a little bit of the tension is palpable because these guys all look pretty important and they're all going to judge thiss guys food so the food necessarily wasn't the star the three individuals involved weren't necessarily the star the setting wasn't necessarily start it with circumstance that was the star, so in all these kind of things, there is what we were talking about earlier about the choice I made between putting people in the image and not putting people in the image is all about what's the goal like, what is your endgame and what do you want to show? So okay, well, I'm done with slides and I'd love to talk to the audience and get a little bit more going on perfect. Speaking of people in your shots, vegan fling is wondering, are you posing the people in the shots? I don't I don't I don't pose the people I am capturing as it happens now that means that we're shooting you know when you get I get this, what did I get this down? Like nine images and I think what I sent into the editor was probably more like thirty and what I think I shot was more like four hundred, five hundred images so there's a lot of out takes and there's a lot of kind of editing and again the editing process is the thing where your mental storyboard is coming in because you flipping through the pictures going I need a close up I need a close up I need a close up there's my close up okay choose that one I need people. I need people. Okay, look at that look that look on his face which might have been different in the frame before because your shooting, you know, five or six images in sequence. That's, that's the whole idea of you got that vision in your head about story you want to tell it helps you in the editing process because you have a lot to choose from and you can choose the difference between a gesture and a facial expression that could help tell the story. Then you could if you only got one frame and you were just looking at setting so question situation knowing it's going to be like a four thousand word article I need eight eight photos to accompany you. Yes, yeah, I mean, obviously what this was with the the writer is somebody I work with on other projects and he requested me for this particular project. He want to work with me, you know, we're friendly and he told me basically the whole story before I even accepted the job. So I kind of knew what I was getting myself into. But I also knew what the expectation was, so I knew this story arc for him what what? What story he wanted to tell that's not always the case, I don't always get the story beforehand especially with the newspaper stuff, the stuff that you see in the daily stuff with the recipes for health things that I do don't always get a sense off the you know the particular story but there's an overall overarching goal with particular columns like the recipes for health column speaks for itself it's a daily recipe that is simple, easy to put together that's part of a theme for the week and it's all veered towards healthy eating with an idea making a tasty you know, so I know that going in that that's my overall arching kind of concept and because I've been shooting that column for three years, I know what the aesthetic is so I wouldn't drop something in there that look completely foreign to the siri's because the siri's is so long but when I get like an off story like if it's not one of my regular columns recently I shot a story for for doc willoughby, who did a lot does a lot of grilling stuff and that kind of opened up this possibilities because it's not attached to a particular siri's or a particular column it's a standalone story so then you can kind of take a little bit of liberty with the art direction and if you understand the story, the story was about, um no need for marinating your food you khun season it afterwards so that gave me an idea, but I didn't know exactly how the article was going to read, so I just kind of went with what I know about him and what I know about the particulars of the recipes and had illustrated that way you do somebody else have a handle there with saying, I need to close up, I need to close up and I need you know, do you go in to the shoot thinking that I this is what I've got to get it gotta get this this it doesn't hurt to write it down either if you want, you know, like write notes about what you think you might want to think you might it's, you know, a cz much information as you can pull from the writer or whoever you're working for the art director as much information as you can get, the better, you know, then you can kind of form a mental picture and even write notes would draw a little storyboards and whatever and that's kind of really helpful going in, especially his visual people, you know, kind of forming images. I think a successful photo shoot for me is when I have a picture in my head going in, somebody tells me, okay, we're doing pictures about beets or whatever, you know, and I know what the recipe is, and I say in my head a picture pops in because that's the way my brain works I happen to think in pictures and I say to myself, if I can make the picture that popped up in my mind everything will fall into place and sometimes that's possible and sometimes it's not but when those two things coalesce and you actually make the picture that you thought about, you know it's it's like it's so easy you know, like all of a sudden it just comes together and you're sitting there and you're looking through the cameron you're seeing your memory you're seeing the thing that you even sketched out or you have a picture in your mind about and that's when it all kind of comes together but whatever information you get to form those images in your mind is is ammunition you know to carry into the photo shoot with questions internet internet for sure stephen severe from new orleans I know steve he'll use you steve was here. Um steve was hearing what he was doing and one of my students your three day food photography class, right? Okay, cool hi three days eighteen hours and it's actually right now on sale at the life discounted price original it was original perfect. All right, so when shooting recipes dio routinely know what the dish is supposed to look like in advance no they're sometimes I don't and that's sometimes a good thing and sometimes a very bad thing yeah and I have a particular problem with melissa clarke stuff that I do for the new york times because they shoot video and I'm completely removed from that part of it and there are times when it's something tricky and I don't know what the video is going to look like so I do it according to the recipe and cross my fingers and hope that it matches up you know and it looks it looks correct but I also make sure and I kind of guard against that where I'll take multiple shots of of a particular food item let's say it's a pie or a tart you know shoot it whole shoot it sliced shoe to cut with a fork so that any problem you have those other pictures to go back to so that's great I love this next question from kelly age wondering do you ever get teo eat the food you shoot the question would be do I ever not quality control right absolutely going to make sure you know make sure it's not poisoned before you give it to everyone else great all right let's see the couple more that came in all right another one from san cocks in colorado do you always shoot on assignment or do you sometimes shoot speculatively hoping that an author and outlet will pick up your work you know I did earlier in my career but at the time now unfortunate enough to have enough assignment work to keep me busy I do have personal projects but they tend to stray away from food a lot my person my more personal photographic projects or video because I shoot so much food and because I have regular clients and they rely on, you know weekly kind of production it's kind of sometimes good and refreshing to step away from food photography and think about things in a different frame of mind um but I will if things you know are slowing down or I have a particular food project that I really want to work on yeah for sure but if you're not super busy then you definitely should do that because if you put together something really good and it gets picked up that could be the gateway with a particular editor a particular publication that says while you were go getter you know you really ambitious great next question from guests eighteen three three four where do you currently see the most opportunities in food photography, field editorial or commercial? Uh who commercials hard because it's very hard to break in there are definitely more opportunities in editorial but here's the here's the kicker is you can work editorial all year, grind it out and make a living or you can just I work like crazy to get a commercial clients and make the same amount of money with half the amount of work the problem is getting in the door. That's the hardest part is once you've kind of broken down that door and you have an advertising agency or a really good commercial client that was willing to hire you on a regular basis. Well, then you're golden because the money differences profound, but you're going tohave mohr you know it's better to throw mud at the wall, you know, because you got more opportunities, it'll you know, editorial, for sure, but you know you have to grind it out in editorial it's not it's, not as glamorous as not as much money in it quite a few people aubrey, aaron and brand as tomorrow. Sorry, I didn't say you're in right now, but how would you suggest getting assignments? How do you how did you first start getting work in the field? And how do you recommend going about getting into the business in general? Well, I think obviously having a website and promoting yourself on social media is a very good start and showing what you khun dio because it's, you know, it's a very different landscape now than it was when I first started, where we would make postcards and send it to editors and set up meetings for, you know, for portfolio review on dh try toe, you know, show your personality and show people that you're easy to work with. I think all of those things are still viable in the industry for sure, but people have a shorter attention span and editors are bombarded with so much stuff that if you are promoting yourself kind of effectively on the internet on dh, you have a good website and you're using your you know, your opportunities for promotion well, that in conjunction with the traditional ways of contacting editors and sending out postcards and making phone calls and writing letters and requesting portfolio reviews, all of that as a combination is definitely the way to go. Oh sure, great all right, last question. Who were the food photographers who influenced your own style and that questions from tap photo and also what would you recommend to everyone out there just starting out who need to find their voice, their own editorial voice and narrative in their own style of food photography? Well, I was I can point to one particular photographer that I admired his style when I first started in food photography and we actually got to know each other later andre were interviewed together in a radio interview one time his name is quentin quentin bacon and quentin bacon is shot something like sixty books or seventy books and he shoots he shot the michelle obama's book this recently and I would say his style appealed to me right away because it was a much more masculine style of food photography, which at the time the industry was dominated by that kind of feminized version of food photography that was in mark stewart living and some of the women's magazines, even, you know, even the primary food magazines like, like gourmet at the time, that was a more formal style, but it wasn't necessarily masculine. Ah, now, I think that changed over time, you know, but I definitely think quentin was the kind of person I I put the pin in his in his picture on my bulletin board, and they said, this is the type of pictures I want to make, and then I kind of created my own style around that ideal in that aesthetic. So, quentin, if you're watching, he was your vision board in the beginning. I absolutely, yeah, I mean, and I think that I'm influenced by a lot of things outside of food photography, I mean, I mean, I've said this before I'm into architecture, er and I like tio, you know, look att modern art influenced by shape and color it's kind of more of a traditional like kind of art one oh one. Upbringing because I didn't have a formal photography education so I didn't get exposed to a lot of like oh, you need to look at this photographer and you need to look at this one and this one and food happened because I was a food lover a cook and people knew that I both took pictures and could cook so my cooking background was the thing that got me working food photography so I wasn't heavily influenced by food photographers when I first started I sought out mohr as I went on in my career but I wasn't that like bombarded with food images at the beginning so today I'm still more influenced by a lot of things you know, looking piece of modern art I'll go I like the shapes and I'm I'm looking at an overhead I could see those shapes again and put that together in my mind that's kind of where that's how it kind of clicks on the other part of that question was, um how what would you recommend to others first starting out you know and just creating their own editorial and narrative of their own style of photography? Well, I think for sure that you know, you can't try to recreate anyone else's stuff because I don't think that that will feel right I think ultimately you'll you'll run into a wall there and if you're not trusting your own instincts I think experimentation and hard work there's no, there's kind of no substitute for experimentation, you know, I think you need to kind of try stuff out. I also think you need to have people in your life who you trust to give you appropriate critiquing if you don't have that it's very hard to learn what works and what doesn't work. I'm lucky enough tow live with an editor who worked on food long before I did so that that works very well, and my relationship, because I have somebody right there who says, no, you're not doing that that's horrible, andi need somebody like that, but and then, you know, a lot of people that have either been at my workshops or even been here a creative life, they seek me out to look at their portfolio for that same kind of guidance, and I think you also have to be willing to understand that you're emotionally connected to the work that you produce and it's very hard to be objective. You have to learn to be objective about your own work, and you have to learn to have a thick skin and take it on the chin when people say they don't like it, or that it doesn't work, because you could look at something and think, it's great, and I go through this now, I mean, I'm ten years into my career teaching, all the people had to do what I do, and I look at the pictures and I'm like, I love that and people be like, really and, you know, I knew kind of question yourself feel like it's my eye that off, but it's not it's, not your eye, it's your emotions because what it took to create that picture or the fact that it kind of matched that picture you had in your head and you're married to it now. So, you know, you want to want to do that. So I think we're out of time and now I was just a great words of advice, I think that's the perfect perfect ending to encourage people to this go and continue on their own photographic journey and finding their own style and narrative and editorial style in food photography and I think what's really great while they do that, they get a eat all this great food, a lot dirtier added benefit well, andrew, thank you so much for inspiring us and sharing so much with our creative, live global opinions. And just if you want to join me in what thinking

Class Description

Every successful photo doesn’t just capture an image; it tells a story. Conceptualizing and photographing that story is both a daunting task and an essential skill — especially when it comes to shooting food. Join New York Times food photographer Andrew Scrivani for a 90-minute workshop on how to tell a story, from beginning to end, in 20 photos or less.


a Creativelive Student

A masterful discourse on the art of storytelling with photography, specifically food photography. Outstanding work.