Sunday, July 08, 2007

Food Photo Shoot Excitement

Well, the food photo shoot for Eat, Drink and Be Vegan is done! It was tiring, but still so much fun for me. (This is a long post, get a tea and cookie!)

...and I mean tiring. I didn't leave the kitchen all of Saturday and Sunday prepping food, cleaning, and prepping again. Plus, I had already prepped about 15 recipes through the week, and components of other recipes to help us quickly get recipes ready and timed for the photography.

On a side note, I picked up a kitchen timer since I knew I'd need another one. I use my stove timer, and had a second manual timer, but it broke. So, knowing I'd be timing several recipes at once I got a nice timer. The challenge was taking it out of its packaging.

Don't you hate this kind of packaging, where you have to cut through the molded plastic, and in the process can easily cut yourself with how sharp those plastic edges are? Then, you have to fight to pry away the plastic? This packaging comes with kids' toys, and so many things. I recycle it, but I don't know if it ultimately gets recycled, and plus, it is SO flipping annoying to try and open. I do like my timer though, once I got to it!

It went something like this. We started Saturday morning. We were scheduled for 9, but our photographer had unforeseen equipment troubles, which she quickly got fixed but it pushed us back to just after 11. I was concerned before she arrived, wondering if the delay would be any longer, or if we'd get off the ground that day at all. But we did, and made good progress, starting the first photograph around noon. There is a lot of set up behind the scenes. Equipment is just the beginning. The "scene" of a food photo must be considered, including dishes used, placement, linens and background, etc. So, our living room was quite full with photographic equipment, boxes of dishes and utensils, linens, props, and more.

We needed to wrap up shortly after 4 that day, so we managed to get 5 photos in. That meant 8 more photos to do on Sunday. I was freakin' out a bit, because I knew the next recipes were more prep heavy, meaning I had to be on the ball even more, timing the dishes and keeping on top of prepping recipes, cleaning up, and getting to the next dish. As we moved through the recipes, I quickly ran out of counter space, dishes, dish cloths, and found myself turning in circles in the kitchen several times looking for an item or trying to remember what I was getting on with. I was popping my vitamins, I tell you! :)

We had a babysitter come in to help with the girls, and hubby was here too of course. But at times, the girls would run in to the living room/kitchen area, and I'd quickly shoo them back outside or downstairs. They had a blast, though. Full-on play and attention all day! Plus, they finally got to eat some of the food they had looked at for a couple of days but "couldn't touch"! I had labels on containers of food in the fridge with "Photo Shoot" so hubby wouldn't get his paws in there. Sorry hon!

Speaking of my fridge, omg, I was running out of space!! With all the food prepping, I had containers upon containers. Plus, so much fresh produce and herbs... I am still amazed that it all fit. I do have a big fridge, but I could still use a second one. Especially through the summer when we buy gigantic organic lettuces and the most beautiful berries and other produce at the farmers' market. But I digress, back to the photos...

We had a rough game plan of which photos we would do each day. There were a few flipped around, but for the most part, the planning worked. The first day we photographed five photos, the second 8. We had great efficiency and flow on Sunday, doing 8 images in about 6-7 hours. With the other 3 we did the day of the cover photo shoot, we now have 16 total, with about 30 recipes included in total.

The photographer, Pam, would check with me about which recipe we were doing next. We had chatted over e-mail about the elements of the recipes through the weeks leading up to the shoot, so she already had sketches and creative ideas of how she thought the food should be showcased. So, we'd talk about the recipe elements, and what accompaniments should go in and things I'd like to see in there. Then, Pam and her assistant set up the scene with the dishes and linens. She first took shots to get the angles and composition she wanted. Here she is setting up the scene for my Chimi recipe:

Then, we'd get the food ready on the plate. Here's Pam setting the plate with Gimme Chimis, Guacamole Con Alga Marina, and a simple fresh cucumber salad tossed with Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette:

Here, Pam is getting the scene set for my Orange Sesame Tofu, Coconut-Lime Basmati Rice, and Simple Swiss Chard:

Speaking of Swiss Chard, I had hubby run to our farmers' market to pick up fresh organic chard and basil that morning. The chard was absolutely amazing! Pam even took a pic of it, she was so taken with it. It was huge, and so utterly fresh, I'm certain it was picked early that morning.

The girls snapped a pic of me affectionately looking at the chard since I had been yapping about how incredibly big and fresh it was. Note the T! Figured if I was freakin' out about how much I had to do that day, I needed to wear my Vegan Freak t-shirt. Get yours here. I also have a t, and will have to show you that one soon.

I cannot wait for you to see the finished photos! They are beautiful. Pamela Bethel was the photographer, you can visit her website here.... oh, and you can get a preview of two of my photos on her website. Poke around, can you guess which two are mine?!

I must get back to edits, and will be back again soon. p.s. don't tell hubby I'm blogging today, he really wants me to take a break and relax. But I love sharing all this!

Talk soon... eat vegan, stay vegan!


Teresa said...

Wow Dreena- that is a lot of work. Thanks for sharing this with us. I tend to forget (as do many I think) about all the behind the scenes work that goes into things like this. I can surely tell you that we all appreciate all this prep and effort. I have a question tho- what happens to all this prepped food? Do you guys have a massive feast afterwards? Regardless, amidst all the craziness and freaking out, I hope that it was somewhat enjoyable.

ps- your secret is safe with us!

urban vegan said...

I work in advertising, so I know how much work goes into getting a great shot. It's funny...when you see the photos in the end, it all looks so effortless. Same goes with the writing and the recipes, right? No one sees all your blood, sweat and tears.

Congrats, Dreena. What a great role model you are for all of us. cipes

Love the VF shirt, BTW. I preordered by copy and can't wait to try the new re.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

looks like a great photo shoot!! haha, I love that picture of you holding the chard... so candid! I can't WAIT for the book to come out - soooo excited :0)

Sheree' said...

Well, I am exhausted! You sure had to do alot of work. No one can imagine what goes into a photo shoot without your play by play or actually being there. My hat goes off to you and your crew!

Enjoy your rest! One step closer to getting our hands on your new book! yeepee

Love the shirt! Perfect!

Julie said...

Whoooooa. What a post. Looks like you are working SO hard! You'll need a vacay after this...or at least a lot of vegan ice cream!

Those pics look amazing. I must make those chimis again--SO yummy.

Monika K said...

How exciting - thanks for sharing this process with us. I've often wondered how cookbooks are made and now I know: W O R K!

Everyday Superhero said...

Hey there, Looks like you had an amazing time despite the "busyness".

Strange thing...we just ordered our new kitchen on Saturday (we're renovating in September) and the colour and style of our cabinets is the same as yours. Funny.

Isil Simsek said...

this must be exciting. Though late to comment, I loved the cover of your new book. and Dreena you look so slim compared with your photos in the other books.How on the earth do you manage that ;)
OK we won't tell anything to your hubby but isn't he so lucky?He has the chance of eating so much delicious stuff while his wife is working ;)Lots of love

Vegan_Noodle said...

Looks like you were busy!! I"m sure the pictures will turn out great. So glad you are including some in the cookbook, it always motivates me to make something new. Don't you love the VF shirts? I have a similar one as well...
BTW I tried your peanut sesame hummus last night from the dvd and absolutely loved it!!!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, Dreena! I love photography and find all of this fascinating. Can't wait for my copy to arrive...

Judy said...

I really can't wait for the new book!

Michelle said...

cool behind the scenes pics.. i had no idea that it could take all day to shoot 5-8 pictures! wowzers! can't wait to see the finished product

ps. lovely swiss chard!

bazu said...

Congrats on a successful photo shoot! I love that shot of you with the chard- I share your admirations! And yes, I hate those plastic shells- they seem really awful and I try to stay away from them, but they can be unavoidable.

Andrew said...

I really can't wait for the new cookbook. I'm having so much fun with "Vive le Vegan." I made the traditional chocoate cookies last night with a little bit of cocoa powder added with the flour. They were the best cookies I baked in a long time. I was lamenting to my wife beforehand that perhaps I couldn't bake since the last few things I made turned out poorly. I'm looking forward to trying the maple cookies soon.

Dreena said...

Editing break!! Thanks you guys for chiming in. :)

Teresa, yes, there was a whack of prepped food. We happened to have my in-laws visiting at the time, so we had them for dinner both nights, and during the day we all (myself and photographers and Arsenal rep, hubby, kids, and babysitter) snacked on the food. Then, I had a couple of soups that went in the freezer, and within a couple of days, the fridge was bare again!! There was a point I wondered if I'd see my kitchen counter again though...

Thanks urban vegan, and yes, the pics make it all look very pretty and effortless. Well, that's how cooking should be most times... and is, when you don't have 20 or so recipes to knock off in a couple of days!!

Hi Monika, you're welcome, and yeah, it's quite a project doing a cookbook! Hey, did you make the patties after for your potluck?

Veggie vixen, how coincidentally cool! The kitchen was 'as is' when we bought the house, and I love our cabinets - and the layout of our kitchen in whole. I have lots of deep drawers under my long prep area, and the drawers hold all my pots/pans, lots of containers, utensils, etc. Very handy to pull out the drawers instead of digging into cabinets.

Hi Isil! Yes, hubby's a lucky guy. I'm sure to remind him of that many times during the day. :) Let's see, other than my time on the computer, I don't sit down much!! Seriously, I am on the go a lot, with the kids and keeping on top of housework and such. I also exercise about 4-5 times a week. Not for long, about 1/2 hour each day, but strength training and pilates/yoga, ball workouts, etc. I've always had a small frame too, esp my face and arms... and I think I have the longest arms ever - maybe to pick up all those toys around my feet!

Vegan noodle, I'm so glad you liked that hummus. I checked out your blog and your pics and pizza looked fab! Funny, I have a Thai Pizza in this cookbook too - it's one of the photos we shot for the book too. You'll have to try it out! And yes, I looove my VF shirt!!

Thanks Andrew, that's awesome! And I'll keep doing what I can to bring folks out of vegan baking anguish... most important! We *can* have tasty vegan treats that are reasonably healthy, yes we can!!

Jenni Shortt said...

I know what is like, my boyfriend is a photographer, I hate those things! The final result is always good though. Great book!