We have filmed so many things over the years: animals; surgery; aircraft; kids – you name it. But until last year we’d never filmed or photographed food.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we love food. And, like everyone else, we’ve taken the odd snap of a tasty dish to post on Instagram. But photographing food comes with a whole list of challenges you just don’t get with other types of film production – and it goes much further than just picking a filter that doesn’t make everything look orange.
For example, to take photos that show freshly prepared dishes at their best, we need good lights. And the thing about lights is they can make a room very hot, very quickly – not great if you’re taking photos of something cold. That’s why many food photographers use mash potato to portray ice cream.
There’re other tricks photographers use to make you want to eat the food they’re helping to promote. Let’s take burgers. We’ve all been seduced by a giant poster of a juicy burger before, particularly if stopping at the service station when our will power is at its lowest. And the actual burger never lives up to the promise of its picture, does it?
Well, in reality, the last thing you want to put in your mouth is the burger on the poster. It’s probably rare to the point of raw, as it will have only been wafted in front of a grill to keep its plumpness. The cheese will have been just lightly melted to stop it all running out; the sauces will have been carefully syringed on to one side only; the meat may have had a coat of boot polish applied to make it look flame-grilled; and the sesame seeds are likely to have been stuck to the bun with glue – yum!
So, which tricks of the trade did we use when Trio asked us to produce a series of cookery films for its customers? The answer: none!*
The point of this project was to promote meals that are healthy and tasty, quick to prepare and suited to the diet of someone who’s had ostomy surgery – not the most straightforward of briefs. And we felt it was important that if someone was cooking along with the meal, what they ended up with on their plate matched what was on the screen. No tricks.
Luckily, we had award-winning chef Mary-Ellen McTague on board. Mary-Ellen has worked with Heston Blumenthal and appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu, and she was passionate about Trio’s ambition to produce a book of recipes specifically tailored to ostomates.
Together, we produced a series of films – one per recipe. For us, the priority was to pace the cookery films and make details like the individual ingredients and measurements stand out so that viewers could easily keep up. And, of course, we wanted to make sure the food looked delicious on camera – something I think we achieved without covering it in boot polish!
These recipes can be enjoyed by anyone, whether or not you’ve had ostomy surgery. If you’re struggling for mealtime inspiration, why not check them out?
Or, if you want to take a break from slaving over a hot stove, watch the films we made for Baraka Foods – Chorlton’s premier kebab house. Again, no tricks were used tomake this food look delicious – it just was (and we can vouch for it!). We’re sure you’ll agree that a kebab has never looked so decadent.
*Okay, okay – we substituted the milk for cream. It just pours in a far more luxurious way!