Behind the scenes of a seafood photoshoot

sherry | May 27th, 2009 | No comments

SWC-Photoshoot3_postEver wondered what goes into a custom food photoshoot?
We thought it would be interesting to share a little ‘behind the scenes’ of what it takes to get a scrumptious food shot (well 6 scrumptious seafood shots actually).

A custom photoshoot starts with hours of planning and preparation before the day of the photoshoot…

Pre-photoshoot planning and preparation

  • Art direction and shot list
  • Meeting with photographer to discuss lighting and set-up requirements.
  • Meetings with food stylist (or in this case, chef Spooner from the award-winning Dundarave Fish Market and Restaurant in West Vancouver)
  • Food and prop list, including sourcing
  • Photography schedule and shot order

Our day started at 8:30am (not as early as it should have). Chef Spooner didn’t have as restful of a night prior to the shoot as Kathryn and myself, as he had the task of packing all the fresh seafood, garnishes and cooking tools. He was amazing and made our job easy.


The photos were to be featured on shelf-talkers and ‘fish-talkers’ for display at gourmet food stores and fish markets, as well as on the Simply West Coast website.

As an art director, it’s my role to ensure the end-result not only matches our vision and the intent of the brand, but also works for a variety of marketing pieces and formats. But there are also really minute details – like the art direction of garnishes. Yes, I’m talking about selecting the perfect garnish to complement the seafood and send the right brand message. For Simply West Coast, it’s “simple gourmet”. Decisions need to be made on how the garnish is presented – is a lemon curl or lemon zest more appropriate? It sounds so silly, but when you have a great understanding of what a brand stands for, this becomes a fun part of the job.

Taking the photo isn’t as simply as it looks

Finally all the ingredients and the team come together to perform on set with the guidance of our fantastic photographer (Jenn Walton of Digiwerx).

  • Setting up the seafood and prop(s)
  • Composing the shot with stand-in food
  • Lighting it and test shots

Once all thumbs are ‘up’, fresh seafood is swapped on set, garnished… and voila, we’ve got our audience drooling.

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