Project 52

Assignment 44 - Catalog Shoot For High End Restaurant Supplies

Once again, I found my self pondering the possibilities.  The assignment was to create a catalog shoot of 3 images for a high end restaurant supplier.  The brief was to photograph items used in serving at restaurants, and they are handmade or low-run items, and very expensive.  The target demographic: Upscale B&B’s, small boutique restaurants, and exclusive private dining clubs.

Many years ago, Doug and I went to Deruta, Italy in search of the handmade ceramic tableware for which they are known.  We had seen it in a high end boutique in Soho, New York and really loved it.  When we got to the town, you were allowed right in the factory storeroom to pick out your pieces.  I quickly became overwhelmed by the choice and the fact that there were plates, bowls, accessories stacked everywhere.  For those of you who don't know me, I do not shop well in stores like TJ Maxx, Home Goods, etc. because I can't deal with the idea of digging through a mish-mash of stuff to find what I want.  I want my shopping experience to be orderly - all the sizes to choose from displayed on one rack.  But enough about my personality quirks.  Needless to say, we left the factory store with no purchase.  About a year later, we ended up buying place settings for 12 in a shop in Hong Kong, where we were living, for at least four times the price as the factory.  (But the shelves in the shop were well organized!)  I decided to use the Deruta for this shoot.  It fit the criteria of being a handmade or low-run item and very expensive.  I could see it being used in a high end Italian restaurant.  We were given a layout for the three photos, so I set out planning the shoot.  I decided on two product shots and one "in-use" scene.

The first shot was of a large serving bowl.  I set up a piece of reflective glass underneath the bowl, found something to prop it upright, and began to work on the lighting.  I thought I was going to use a blue light on the background, but I didn't like how it was reflecting off the glass, so I went with a white background instead.  I didn't like the bowl sitting on its own, so I added some salad tongs to the foreground.  After shooting the bowl, I moved on to an oil and vinegar cruet set.   I used the same lighting set up; the behind the scenes for these two shots is below.


I then went to work on the "scene."  I removed the reflective glass and put down a light blue tablecloth.  I bought a salad mixture, plus some pecans and strawberries to create a salad in the serving bowl.  I placed the salad in the scene with the cruets, but it was lacking context.  So I grabbed some salad bowls and silverware to create a table setting.  After playing around with the lights, I finally got the look I wanted:

I then dragged all three images into the layout provided with the assignment.  The final product is below:

Overall, I was pleased with how it turned out.  One thing I would do next time is to put a white cloth under the reflective glass instead of a black one.  I think the black made the foreground a bit darker than I was intending and caused a pretty strong horizon line.

Next week's assignment is to shoot a sandwich for a magazine article.  A layout with text has been provided, so I'm contemplating my options for what would look acceptable in the layout.  See you next week!

Behind the scenes for the bowl / cruet on the left, and the scene on the right

Behind the scenes for the bowl / cruet on the left, and the scene on the right