Expanding a brand through personal imagery
It’s a little daunting to say the least leading up to a client’s new product range photoshoot.
While I have been working with Love Taste Co’s products and brand for over a year, a new product range is a whole bunch of things - exciting, full of possibilities, shiny and new, but something you have to get right. At the end of the day you want to produce not only something you’re proud of, but something your client can walk away confidently and happy to represent their products with.
This past December, I got to travel up to Macclesfield to shoot Love Taste Co’s new range of smoothies and shakes. Before hopping on a train however, there was a lot of prep that went into it. We’re giving you a sneak peak behind the scenes and a little insight as to where you even begin with such a large project.
What often goes overlooked, is there is a lot of prep work that goes into a shoot. On our end, it started almost a year before this shoot. It began with brainstorming names for the new product line, moodboards for the two different lines, calls with both the client and photography studio and sketches of the product shots. I won’t bore you with the knitty gritty of each of those, but here’s a little snap shot below:
These go a long way on establishing mood and what you are trying to convey. This helped us really understand what we wanted to produce and where Love Taste Co. wanted to sit in this market.
These may not necessarily hit the mark the first try, but are essential. First, it helps you to define exactly what you want to see laid out in front of you, and secondly, your client can get a sense of where your brain is at. We always recommend pencil to paper first - less limitations, and more room for idea generation without constraints.
Having these moodboards, concept sketches, an ingredient list, and a schedule on hand, kept me on track - I didn’t think I would rely on these so heavily, but I was constantly referring back to these pieces. The moodboards helped to narrow in on props, backgrounds and placement, and the sketches acted as guidelines for composition.
I was fortunate to work with an amazing food photographer, James and food stylist, Fiona who made my job all the easier… they brought our ideas to life.
I of course thought that I would show up, and everything would turn out flawlessly - it’s food, what could be so hard? It doesn’t move, we don’t need to shape smiles here, or make sure eyes are open. But I was oh so wrong...there are always bumps along the way. Mushy fruit, a backdrop lost in post, forgetting your phone in a taxi (my bad), it’s always essential to be open-minded to rapid change and adapt.
Personally, I believe some of the strongest products came from the spur of the moment decisions - just look at our new beautiful range of shake images, they’re quite decadent if I do say so myself. Quite a few of those props were entirely unplanned and required a lot of tweaking to get the perfect composition.
Here is the advice I can offer for directing a successful shoot and getting those images to tell a beautiful story:
- Understand the Brand
Through and through, know your client. Immerse yourself, I know, it sounds cliche, but aside from what you see on the surface, make sure you actually know your client. The brand personality and the personality of your client are not only helpful in the initial development stages to work together (and figure out what you can get away with :p) but to create a strong product on the day of when obstacles come up. We’re quite lucky to have a long standing relationship with Love Taste Co, and there is certainly no formula to immersing yourself, but it goes a long way to do your research and give it the time and love it deserves.
- Trust Your Photographer & Stylist
WHOA! They saw things I did not see. I have worked in a photography studio before, and let me tell you, it’s always going to be a learning process. Amazing. I styled things, and I asked for help. There is no harm in asking for help, and the sooner you ask questions, the faster you develop relationships. They were honest, suggested tips and tricks, and I can thank them both for the beautiful images we have. But hey, don’t be afraid to speak up either. You’re all there to do your job.
- Wear Comfy Shoes
You will be on your feet, end of story… and perhaps on your toes. This shoot involved food, and constantly moving food around and preparing new shakes - it was comfort first for me.
Pinterest, Google, Behance, whatever your source of inspiration may be, find those images that inspire you and sketch out what you need. Bring it with you. Plan ahead and make the most of that prep time. It not only helps you, but it helps the team around you to understand what you are trying to achieve.
Be prepared to “pivot”. An idea may not work out as you had envisioned, and that’s okay. But along with those comfy shoes I recommended above, you need to be on your feet and think on your feet if that happens.
Drew endlessly prepares and understands the needs of our clients first and foremost. We like to think ahead, and think about future challenges that our client’s may encounter, ensuring we are proactive with our approach. While this shoot focused on 7 core product shots, we were able to come out with assets that we can now pick and choose from for several POS and visuals that we create for Love Taste Co. With Love Taste Co now having an extensive image bank, they’re able to have unique brand imagery and can avoid the use of stock images, which are often overused, and may not communicate their brand appropriately.