Shoot The Cake, And Eat It Too
What if you had exactly three minutes to make a perfect picture -- well, good enough to eat -- before the garnish wilted, ice cream melted and the chicken breast turned gray?
Indeed, art directors and photographers who work on cookbooks have their work cut out for them. But there's a payoff. They often get to eat the food they shoot -- if they don't mind, of course, that the strawberry shortcake spends a few minutes on the set first.
So what do art directors and photographers do to make the image leap off the page and entice the reader's aesthetic senses?
Traditionally, the tricks used to make photos look more appealing were more prevalent in advertising food photography than in editorial food photography. It's still the case, according to the wizards at Reiman Publications, Greendale, Wis., whose cookbooks won three Gold Ink Awards this year in the Cookbook category. (The annual Gold Ink awards are given to entrants, e.g., printers and publishers, for excellence in quality. The awards are hosted by Publishing & Production Executive magazine, the sister publication of BookTech the Magazine.) Reiman also produces cooking magazines.
Reiman's Ground Beef Cookbook won a Gold medal; Country Woman Christmas, 1999, a Silver; and 2000 Taste of Home Annual Recipes, won a Bronze. All three titles were printed by Quebecor World Book Services, Kingsport, Tenn.
Although Reiman uses food stylists, explains Mike Sloane, vice president of prepress operations at Reiman, they don't paint food with dyes or use fake food in photo-shoots other than for stand-in. Nor do they spray-paint or airbrush.
"We do all of our own food photography and prepress in house,"he says. "We have a complete studio. All of the prop and food styling is done on premises. We test all of our recipes well before we actually photograph them."