An encouraging diary of a food photoshoot in the age of Covid19

The shoot job was scheduled for mid-March. The client, in Rochester NY, and the account team in LA – both were to fly into San Francisco. But, no, no, no. Those days are over. Yet, the show’s gotta go on.

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Image courtesy of David Fisher.

Lots of shots. The client is introducing blended beef/mushroom burgers and blended chicken/mushroom sausages. Thankfully the shot list allows me to improvise. I pick the props, the surfaces, and actually everything but the photographic style. The client has a look in mind. They want a packaging oriented style. Nothing tricky, just juicy meat.

Turnaround took five minutes.

We decide on setting up a cast iron pan, shooting from above. We take a quick shot with raw sausages and a few mushrooms, send it off to LA and NY.  Within five minutes we get the go-ahead. This is important. Turnaround took five minutes. Had they been in the studio, with lots of discussion, it probably would have taken over 15 minutes. Yes, longer. Turns out that folks don’t waiver if they don’t have to consider others. Chalk up one big advantage for remote shooting.

No client on the set, no need to be picky.

The food stylist is superb. She’s not too picky, knowing what “post” (Photoshop), can fix. So, she understands that we are shooting for a final image, not for a client looking over her shoulder. That allows us to be much more efficient. She doesn’t need to clean every last droplet off the background. No client on the set, no need to be picky. Time saved. More images produced in less time. Yep, another advantage of remote shooting.

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Image courtesy of David Fisher.

Long distance communication forces clients to be concise.

Burgers are difficult to shoot. Everyone has a preconception of the perfect burger. This client was no exception. Long distance communication forces clients to be concise. Just tell me what you want. There’s no waffling on the set, if they’re not on the set. That said, I love to create during a shoot. Here’s an analogy comparing photography with two music styles, classical and jazz. Shooting the layout “by the book” is like playing classical music. Stretching the shot, the process of creative improvisation, is like jazz. I enjoy both. Not having the client in the room allows me to shoot jazz. The client gets the best of both worlds. Yep, one more advantage. Maybe we’re on to something?

Conclusion – It works both ways. Collaboration is an art-form. Clients who understand the subtleties of co-creativity are well served showing up on the set. If they can’t attend, take heart, magic might happen.

David Fischer is a photographer with over 30 years of experience, with brands such as Round Table Pizza, Del Monte Foods and many others. His studio, complete with restaurant sized kitchen, pizza oven, and hundreds of props, is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For location work he travels in his Sprinter truck, serving clients throughout North America. Visit his webiste at:

Food Photography Job Market

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