tomatoes: Behind the Scenes: Food Photo-shoots 

Behind the scenes looks are the best. I know I love them when I see them (albeit rarely) on other blogs, but more than anything I like to share a glimpse of what no one likes to show. The truth of the matter is, pretty pictures are really kind of cray-cray behind the scenes. 

On Friday I headed over to Abby Jiu's (who was the photographer for this shoot, who has a gorgeous kitchen, is fabulous and has the best dog ever) to style the summer food spread for Swooned. Remember the spring edible flower bar? This is the summer one. And of course, I'm beyond excited because it's all about one of my favorite pieces of produce. In this picture Abby posted on're only seeing about half the madness. Two poster boards, three people, a reflector and we are all hiding the explosion of props and food I brought spread across Abby's counter in this picture alone.

The great thing about food is if you can find the right product (beautiful, unique, natural) , it makes your job a little easier but here's what no one tells you:

  • Your entire home will be taken over a week before, until about two days after the shoot. You'll start blocking out props in the dining room or your office and they'll start migrating all over. And your fridge? Don't plan on using it. Or God forbid, eating any food out of it. I seriously need an entirely separate fridge for photo shoots (Husband: "What am I allowed to eat in here?"). And then once you get home from the shoot, you're putting everything back and washing dishes. For a long, long time if you don't have a dishwasher and YOU are the dishwasher because you're still restoring your house. FYI: that's not an if. That's a definite and I did.  
  • You have to organize so much your organized lists will have lists. The best thing you can do to make a shoot go well is to prepare ahead of time. Send a shot list to the photographer. Make recipe grocery lists for all the specific stores you need to go to (farmer's market, grocery, specific vendor pick ups). Make prop lists. Make tool lists. And then find those lists and re-organize them so you can actually use them the day of.
  • It will be a mess. So bring paper towels. Number one favorite food styling tool on location: paper towels. I've also learned to always have scissors, lint rollers, water spritzers, zip lock bags/ saran wrap and tupperware containers (the worst part is packing up all that food that is now no-longer self contained and easy to move). I also always bring a few pieces of poster board or foam core for bouncing light and creating false backgrounds.

I absolutely love styled shoots and I am so, so thrilled to have them as part of my business! That's a wrap, so stay tuned for the full spread on Swooned soon! 

Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.