Month: September 2016

Choosing the Right Photography Location For Your Client When You Don’t Have Time to Fly to France

Choosing the right location for a photo shoot is so important for your client and the message you want to help them create.

A big part of the shoots I do is spent in pre-production before I even think about picking up the camera.

What does my clients business stand for? What are THEIR key values and brand promises?

It is really important to have conversations and get to know who you photograph. Visual branding is coupled with brand strategy and often times you have to do the translation for your client using your camera and your skills! What I have learnt over the years about different industries has been awesome! Details upon details that I never knew.

I spend a lot of time scouting locations out before a shoot. In my previous post It All Starts Outside I had to find the right spot that was reminiscent of the countryside in France – hard to do in Singapore!

So off I went looking far off the beaten track for what would work for the overall shoot.

You can see the varied options I came up with here.

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I had to think about forests and picket fences and country sides. Do they want to seem like they are in Scandinavia?

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In presenting to the client you talk more and show them the options and delve further into what they want their brand to look like and feel like. You can then both decide on the location.

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Its actually a big task but if you love being outside, one you can really enjoy. Before I head out I always thinks to myself “I’m going on a little adventure to see what I can see”. It makes it fun and the possibilities are endless!!

 

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You Forget It All Starts Outside

When it comes to cooking, dining and just enjoying food, we sometimes forget that it all starts outside. Great produce is what makes a great dish and it’s something that I keep being reminded of.

There are two things that I love and its food and being outside. The connection between the two is often forgotten or overlooked but when you remember, your appreciation for what you eat is so much more.

To me, there is nothing as great as stepping outside into the sunshine, fresh air and wide open spaces. As a photographer I look at the light but I also make it a point to step outside every day for pure joy. It helps me to feel more grounded and remember the simple things in life. My friends joke about it because my delight on a sunny day has me even jollier than normal. We call it a ‘Suasti Kind of Day’.

There have been so many times that I have gone to eat in a great restaurant to be amazed at the food but the moment that I think about how long it took to actually grow a certain tomato, raise a piece of kobe or mature a beautiful cheese my appreciation sky rockets. It takes so long! The people who create these products for restaurants to use and put on our plates, go through so much trouble to nurture and take care of their produce. In a world which is about fast consumption, the slow and time honoured way that these producers work makes me think twice about how it ALL starts outside – in nature.

In doing this photoshoot for Odette, we decided to take Chef Julien Royer, outside, to where it all starts with food. We are so used to seeing chefs in the kitchen that we thought the often unspoken symmetry between nature and the kitchen would be a good way to remember exactly where a great dish starts.

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Julien Royer 

With Chef Julien growing up in the country in France we had to shoot this series outside in Singapore, for his restaurant, Odette, named for his grandmother who first taught him to cook. I imagine growing up in France, he spent countless hours outside on the farm, growing vegetables and harvesting them from season to season and perhaps even sitting under a tree and day dreaming about being a great chef one day.

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Julien Royer 

 

For The Love of Food and People

I am by no means a food photographer but I love food. I love photographing people and telling their stories through images that capture their spirit. I have to get to know them and I have to wait for it – the exact right time, the right moment, the look in their eye that shows themselves to me.

Food to me is a central part of everyone’s story. The stories that I try to tell. If I ask someone about their favourite dish or restaurant, their most memorable meal, their eyes will light up and they will tell me with great fervour the details that they remember. Their eyes glaze over or they wave their hands around in excitement the way I do. Sometimes salivating with the sheer memory of deliciousness!

It is so easy to travel these days that cuisines collide, people are influenced from all over the world in the dishes that they prepare. Someone who has lived in many countries takes their mother’s favourite dish with them from country to country, as it is a piece of home. When this happens, they share the story of the dish, the way it was prepared and the love that goes with it to friends who sit at their table.

Food is central to someone’s heritage and no matter how well travelled you are or how many restaurants you go to, there is still something so precious about being invited to share a meal at home. I recently went to visit a friend, and upon leaving, was gifted a box of sweets. My friend is from France, most recently moving from Paris, but the box of sweets was prepared by his mother, who is from Algeria.

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The joy that was on his face when he gifted me this box was unmistakable. He was not only proud of his mother but the memories associated with this box of handmade cookies he had eaten his whole childhood, lovingly home made. As he named each cookie, asking me the equivalent of the world in English (one translated to gazelles horns!), I was able to see his childhood and his heritage, just through him describing each cookie. If I had a camera in my hand it would have been the perfect capture, the history – the joy – the memories.

Food is such an amazing way to create memories, to tell stories, to remember the past and to share it forward, it delights me no end. I have so much respect for extraordinary food photographers as it is not an easy task, but to me, it’s the story that goes with the food, the people, and how it was made, how it affected them and the happiness that it brings them. It’s the stories that go with the food that I like to tell.

PS I would have loved to photograph this gorgeous box of cookies however they were all eaten in my house by the time I got around to writing this piece! Good food waits for no one… I’ll be quicker next time!