Anatomy of a Photo Shoot

We usually do our photo shoots at my house, but we recently staged a mini-shoot at our office, so that we could work with some clam, mussel and whelk samples that we got in.


My guess is that most bloggers work on one recipe at a time and then a few days later make another. As you might imagine, we have more of a production/industrial method to developing our recipe content. We create 8-18 recipes in a day, depending on recipe complexity and our energy levels toward the end of the day. Here’s our basic model:

Our chef (Chris, in the red shirt) takes my list of items that I want to work with and develops a list of recipes and a shopping list. Then, he shows up to the shoot and cooks at his whim all day. Also an advanced sommelier, Chris does the alcohol pairings. And, he does the majority of the food styling (Ryan puts on the finishing touches).

Our writer (Matthew, in the foreground) builds the recipes as the chef does his thing. Matthew transcribes Chris’ every slice, dice and sprinkle. The two of them go back and forth all day discussing measurements, tips, nuances, drink pairings, etc.

Our photographer (Ryan, behind the camera) handles the photography top-to-bottom of all of the plated dishes as well as documenting the various cooking steps. In addition to the creative and technical aspects, it is a remarkably physical job … lots of time spent crouching, reaching, bent, etc.

I (brown shirt) play the top dog and the low man on the totem pole at the same time. These days there is very little work at the top for me, since the shoot team has been working together for 2 years and things run pretty smoothly. So, I make breakfast, keep everyone caffeinated, wash dishes, act as sous, hold lights and fire off a dish or two a day, in addition to all of the shopping and setup. It is a tremendous amount of work, but I welcome the physicality since the rest of my work life is spent sitting in front of a computer.

We try to eat everything that comes off the stove, but we consitently fail miserably in that department. By late afternoon, we are somehow passing up some of Chris’ fine creations … and that’s when we call in the neighbors who happily oblige.

We are moving into a new office soon and we’ll have a full kitchen, which means that all of our shoots will be done in the office. We are all pretty excited about that, especially the staff that don’t normally get to come to shoots. When we start cooking regularly in the office, it will give everyone a chance to try all of the foods that we market/sell all day long.

Post Written by Justin Marx

3 Replies to “Anatomy of a Photo Shoot”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *