I've been keeping pretty busy so far this year getting my upcoming cookbook ready. Many shoots have been to fill in the blanks for the book, but I have also had several ideas floating around in my head I've been wanting to shoot. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to do that.
I'm a huge dim sum fan. When I lived within walking distance of Chinatown in NYC, dim sum was almost a must every Sunday. When we were feeling particularly ambitious, we would head out to Flushing for the really good dim sum. In LA, there's a few good places in Chinatown but the best places are in Monterey Park. It takes a lot more gumption to keep the tradition alive. So I decided I wanted to do a dim sum shoot. I had a vision of it being fairly monochromatic with plenty of negative space. I think I needed a bigger table to get the space I had originally envisioned.
When I started working on the ebook version of my cookbook I found that the layout required the book be divided into different chapters for easier navigation. I had already grouped the recipes so I didn't need to change the order but I needed some images for the chapter pages. Rather than just use the existing recipe images I decided to shoot some new ones that related to each chapter. I also wanted to bring a human element into the images. The above images were shot for the chapter pages with the exception of the beets. I found those beets while I was at the Farmer's Market and figured I could shoot those, too.
I hear that it's pretty easy to make baked goods and pastries look good in photographs because they are made to look pretty but the real artistry is in making meat look good. Challenge accepted. I needed to shoot a London broil recipe for bonus recipe in the ebook so I also added an ingredient shot with the raw flank steak and spices.
I needed a roasted chicken shot for my portfolio. I resisted at first because every portfolio I saw had a roasted chicken and I like to be different. I was told by an agent not to be that different. I had an idea to shoot a roasted chicken as it came out of the oven being somewhat backlit by the oven light. It took the better part of a day but I got it done.
Cooking Tip: I stuffed the chickens full of rosemary before I popped them in the oven. It made the house smell awesome and the rosemary flavor really infused into the meat. It was delicious.
Living in southern California, I think it might be some sort of sin to not do a citrus shoot in February. I found this really cool dark blue material and thought it would be a great surface to make the bright colors of the citrus fruits really pop. I'd seen many other citrus shots with an overall brighter look but I've been focusing lately on darker materials and really shaping the light to make the food stand out. I think the dark blue was a perfect base for the oranges, greens, yellows and reds of the citrus.
I hope to have the book available in the iTunes bookstore by the beginning of March and then it's on to the next project. Good times.