Friday, April 10, 2015

Art Direction and Food Styling

Over the past two years in my career as a designer, I've had the opportunity to grow my skills in art direction and food styling. I've worked in the food and grocery industry for 16 years and food photography has become a favorite part of my job. I have worked on many different shots for food packaging as well as for ads and various marketing materials.

The most recent project at the top of my dream-job list was working on photography for Wegmans MENU magazine, winter 2015 issue. This was such an exciting opportunity for me because I've always wanted to work on a magazine.

Most people don't realize the amount of planning, preparation, equipment, time and intense attention to detail goes into one beautiful finished photograph. You definitely have to have patience and an eye for looking at details, noticing flaws and finding ways to make the subject look even more appealing. An absolute must when it comes to photography, especially food photography. My brain is wired for that type of work. It's actually more fun to me than work. I really enjoyed handpicking each green bean, looking for the most beautiful mushrooms, and selecting every garlic clove and herb in order to carefully compose the recipe setups. Not to mention selecting the perfect vessels, plates and surfaces. It really is an art! 

The theme of the winter issue is primarily colorful and flavorful Asian dishes with some really unique and beautiful ingredients. I learned a lot about Asian vegetables, some of which I had never used in cooking before. 

There are also sections showcasing products and other new recipes. I love the variety of both templated shots and beauty shots that allow more creativity.

Who wouldn't enjoy working with amazing cheeses and indulgent desserts? 

And everyone's favorite, pizza.

When the magazine is released, the pages are filled with appetizing images that make it look "simple." But it really takes an army, working behind the scenes (and camera) for everything to come together. Chefs, meal planners, photographers, designers, art directors, shoppers, editors - too many to name. It takes an entire team with a serious amount of teamwork. I was grateful to have people guiding me and teaching me throughout the project. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to be involved in the creative process and part of this amazing team. I learned a tremendous amount about food, food styling, art direction and photography.

If you haven't looked at a copy of MENU yet, I highly recommend you do. I am inspired with each issue. There are recipes for every type of home cook - don't be intimidated. You may even surprise yourself when you try a new recipe!

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