Never Let Them Grind You Down…

I never imagined that I would maintaining such a long series of shots for packaging at once. The large box of new products is wearing me down as I try to just be creative and not repeat myself too much, while still maintaining a coherent look for Padinox. It is a wonderful challenge to be sure. In this particular shipment I have worked on three pepper grinder shots, two cutting boards, a teapot and a tea infuser within the past week; I had only ever done one or two such shots at once, so coming up with the image presents multiple focal points.

How can I feature the product to make it where the eye travels to within a dynamic shot?

Really, it is all about making it clear to a consumer just what she is purchasing, while still demonstrating the authentic placement of a product. In the shot above, I needed to differentiate between the hamburger, the cutting board and the pepper grinder. By using a wide aperture, the physical focus of your eye should move clockwise from the grinder to the cutting board to the burger and then back into the frame.

What food can be matched to a particular product?

I adore food and the tools used to prepare them. I would like to think that I am an aficionado on how to match food to the lifestyle choice for a product. In the preceding photo, I chose to match a hand-cut burger, some salads and a glass of white wine with the bamboo grinder. It is an eco-choice that reflects the user’s appreciation for the real thing. Using a frozen burger on a round bun would not match as well, I think.

Is this real?

I eat all of the props. I would never show food that I would not consume, nor would I present an unrealistic image of a product. The integrity of my photography depends on being more real than the real. In other words, I came home, prepared the food, decided on the layout, placed it, photographed it, and then ate it all. If I were not photographing that night, I would have done the exact same thing, except now instead of asking on the way home what my friends or family would like to eat, I ask what the “pepper grinder wants to eat?”

What look (texture, light, colour) do I choose?

Martha Stewart, Donna Hay, Williams-Sonoma and Jamie Oliver each have a palette of looks that they produce as part of their identity brand. I love all of their photographer’s work. I also know that my “look” cannot be singular and iconic because my main client’s focus is their product and not my artistic identity; I respect that and applaud that. My work is not to produce an “Anthony N. Chandler” image, but rather have Anthony N. Chandler produce an image that matches my client’s vision for that particular piece.  Does that mean I do not have a style? I would hazard that my commercial work is less of a style and more of a skill. Banksy can paint, but I wouldn’t commission him to paint my house white.


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