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!