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As a commercial photographer, I try to create images that help my clients better sell their product. While so many of my commercial jobs are people, portraits and interiors, there has been a product photography component to my business. It’s not something I do often, and I’m not always even completely comfortable with the results. In many cases, the needs of my clients are, fundamentally pretty basic: take a photograph of product x on a white background. There’s a lot that goes into pulling this off cleanly, and even more work to keep things clean and touched-up in post, but beyond that the images aren’t particularly creative, so I rarely show them unless they’re really special.
Well something very special did come along. I’ve been friends with Chef Jason Laurin of essence catering for a number of years. I’ve photographed his three boys as I’ve seen them around the neighbourhood. We’ve shared countless drinks and more stories than people we know are probably comfortable with, he had brought me on to take his headshot a few years ago, I hired him to provide catering for my PopUp, but that was about it. Jason is a commercial creative as well, he produces fine foods on a commercial scale for events and private dinners. His food is it’s own work of art, from presentation to taste. He had never had pictures taken of his food outside of events, and we all know those rarely have ideal lighting (if any at all).
Chef’s business is good, he’s gotten by on word-of-mouth and he works hard, but in order to take things to the next level essence needed some commercial photography of it’s food. It’s not like I have it in my portfolio, but trust factors hugely into how businesses like mine get work, and Jason trusted me to take photographs of some signature plates. These images would represent essence catering for the next year in print ads to a whole new potential of clientele.
Yes, one of the best things about food photography is that you get to eat it afterwards. Yes, it was definitely as good as it looks. Yes, I’m happy with the way the images turned out. Here I am shooting on white again, essentially, but it stands out more than so many other things I’ve shot on white. Why? It’s because the food is artwork itself, the way it’s plated and crafted. The colours, the sauces, they all play together that we don’t need a mess of fancy accessories to indulge your senses any more – the food is the art.
I think the ad stands out, and best of all my client is happy. How happy? He said he wanted to lick his screen, then ordered canvas prints so he could lick those instead… no really!:
“I hired Justin Van Leeuwen last week to do a photo shoot for Essence. I had never really hired a pro photographer before. Sure, Justin has taken many images of my kids, but always because he wanted to. He showed up, set up, and rocked the images I needed. I have been licking my computer screen until just 2 minutes ago, when the mailman brought me a big box of framed pics from that shoot. We had them printed from Canvaspop and I am completely over the moon with the results.
If you need a pro, tops on my list and he should be tops on your too, is JVLPhotography.
And then get the images printed from Canvaspop. We have nothing but great things to say about them as well. We’ve got a few things from them now. Professional all the way.”
With an endorsement like that, what else can I say? Thanks Chef!