For this shoot, I was hired through MESH Design as a photographer for Don’s Seafood, a regional restaurant chain across Southeast Louisiana. My team was tasked with photographing their full menu, almost 100 items, collaborating with an art director, brand manager, and a team of multiple owners.
The art director had a deck of samples and a color palette, which we used to salvage wood and fishnets from a local antique store.
The concept of the shoot was classic Louisiana backgrounds and seafood, meaning distressed wood, fresh ingredients, and proteins, with wooden sets. I was really trying to showcase the freshness of the food served by Don’s and available in our region. I picked colors that would contrast well with our major proteins, like crawfish, oysters, and fish. I wanted the target audience to think classic Louisiana cuisine.
My biggest challenge was ensuring all principals agreed with our direction. With a team of owners, a design team, and my team all interacting, communication was key throughout the day. Also, the the volume of photography was much more than your average shoot. The entire shoot our art director was monitoring via tether. She was able to give immediate feedback and make slight adjustments to my sets.
With a shoot of this scope, I rely on someone to help with styling, so I can focus on the technical aspect of the work. In this particular frame, we were working with crawfish, a key promotion for any Louisiana restaurant. The photo had to be perfect, and our art director was able to rotate specific crawfish as well as place other props in real time.
For gear, I used speedlights, Westcott Rapidboxes, Canon 24-70mm f2.8, Canon 100mm f2.8, Canon 5DIII, Canon 5DIV, Paul C. Buff Einsteins with an array of modifiers, Tether Tools Case Air Wireless Tethering System, an iPad secured in an AeroTab S2, as well as a basic whiteboard for a bounce.
For this particular shot, I used camera left natural light, enhance via whiteboard camera right and a speedlight set manually to 1/16th in front of the camera at a slight upward angle.
The cull was done through Bridge, RAW images were processed via Lightroom, and final touches in Photoshop. Basic editing elements like dodging and burning, color correction, sharpness, as well as some light saturation.
- Art Director – Carolyn Blakely
- Brand Manager – Jaime Little
- Assistant Photographers – Andrea Matherne and Janay Martinez Richie