This is Dean and Amy of Garlic Clove Foods. Leah first met Dean at a farmer’s market down the road from us – she bought one of their pilaf mixes,brought it home, and it was so good that I actually asked about what I was eating. This stuff is REALLY good. So we bought more. Eventually after buying more and more of their products we were talking to our friend Jenn (of Indigo Bath and Body – she sells her goods at the same farmer’s markets) and she mentioned to Dean that Leah and I are photographers and eventually they hired us for a photo shoot.
They’re actually the reason I bought my IKEA light box and started practicing shooting products. I wanted to be able to give Dean and Amy photos that looked expensive and not like the stuff you normally see from small businesses that sell their products at farmers markets. Plus, they had just gotten new packaging a few weeks ago so along with the packaging, I wanted their photos to be upgraded.
Other than the general improvement in the design/layout of the package – these bags not only show the grains, but they make it so the layered grains are managed better and seen more clearly than the previous packaging. You can focus on the quinoa, the bulgar, and the other ingredients – and I wanted to make sure that it was all lit properly. I’m still overcoming some issues with the reflection off the bags but I think I made some progress in that area for the most part.
Old Product Shot.
New Product Shot.
But what about actual ‘food’ photos? Those are for the next shoot coming up this weekend.
I had always intended on getting a shot of the two of them along with their products – but then the opportunity arose for them to be featured in a local business journal, so we scheduled a mini-shoot last Sunday (yes, it was our third shoot that day after the family portrait and the AIDS Quilt.)
This took place at Return to Eden – an independent natural foods grocery. If you know anything about us we’re all about light in our photos and we’re always trying to make sure that it’s not boring. Even though this was possibly going to be used in a print newspaper where they flatten all the colors and remove all contrast in the photos, I still wanted the photo to be better than what I often see being printed in business journals (while being ‘safe’ enough since this was yet another first ‘type’ of shoot for me.) I didn’t want a flat composition where they’re up against a wall, or simply beside a table of their products. (and don’t worry – the photo should still look great even after the newspaper treatment – of course we took several shots and we’ll just have to wait and see which one gets used)
So we had them throw their new packages up on the shelf (we pushed back what was already there and used two shelves) and then I put them right in the middle of the angles, making sure that all of the lines – from the shelves to the lighting – direct you to focus on them. I was also pleased with how we got two zones of light with the brighter light up front and then the dimmer light in the back from the dairy section. Your focus is where it should be, on the products (two rows and they’re the most brightly lit) and then on Dean and Amy.
(of course if I was even smarter, I would’ve remembered to pull out my new polarizing filter to take care of the glare off the packages)
Leah is a few feet to the right off camera holding a bare flash at Dean’s face – but I didn’t notice that it wasn’t going off until afterwards when I looked at the photos. I can imagine how it would’ve brought another level of the photo – but it may have also been too much. I’m going to believe that things worked out just right.
It’s hard to see in the small versions of the photos – but there are some pretty good catch-lights in their eyes giving them an extra sparkle for the newspaper.
This shoot took about 15 minutes. Since Leah’s flash apparently didn’t go off at all, the setup was a single umbrella’d light to the left and then just slowing down the shutter long enough to pull in the ambient light in the back. A nice quick photo shoot.