Create a truly delicious package – Ireland’s top food photographers tell their trade secrets.

posted on 8th May 2018 by Steve Grunert

Whether it’s a tasty piece of typography or some mouthwateringly juicy food photography, there are numerous ways to create a drool-worthy piece of packaging that will tempt your potential customer into purchase.

So today we’ve decided to ask two of Ireland’s top Food Photographers, Trevor Hart and Dave Campbell, what their top tips are to make your next packaging project look truly scrumptious and bang on trend.

What are the essential elements to photographing a deliciously tempting food shot?

David: First step would probably be to assemble some deliciously tempting food! In practical terms the first thing is to create an ambiance or mood. The elements that contribute to this are light and shade, composition, texture, sheen, in both the food and the props. It is essential to create a mouth watering must have moment. Attention to detail is vital.

Trevor: Very similar to great cooking really, really good ingredients well prepared and then the right light and angle of view. It’s important to point the lens right at the heart of what particular feature makes the dish so delicious.

What are the key food photography trends our clients should be aware of?

David: Mystic Light has been a continuing trend that is still very popular. Photography with a dark moody atmosphere, often coupled with vintage props and surfaces.

Trevor: I think soft colours and simple contemporary propping are on their way. Creating a beautiful mood with lighting is also featuring more in French and Scandinavian cookery books. Overhead shooting needs to be used more sparingly. It’s not the most flattering angle for most foods and it’s starting to looks dated now.

Are there any trends on colour usage or textures to be aware of?

David: To tie in with the mystic light trend, the use of vintage props, distressed wooden surfaces as well as linens and other natural fabrics that work well together.

Trevor: Handmade ceramics are so simple and beautiful. Eleanor Harpur, who runs The Props Library at my studio, has been buying them from makers all over Europe and they are very beautiful. Soft, hand dyed linens and textured stone or ceramic surfaces are also featuring more rather than wood.

How important is the use of the right props?

Trevor: Props play a supporting role and shouldn’t ever take over. The right level of propping is sometimes more important. The fewer the props the more you need to work at sourcing exactly the right things. With props in mind, it’s always better to bring the photographer, food stylist, props stylist and the designer together before a shoot to design how the food needs to be presented and what is the story you are trying to tell.

David: The use of props is paramount to the cohesion and final message that is being transmitted. The correct props will enhance and help to evoke the spirit of the communication. They will place the product or editorial content in the appropriate space to convey the desired message.

What is the most unusual request a client has made for a photoshoot?

David: One of the most unusual requests made was to create a “Burren” landscape in the studio. We employed a well known Landscape artist to reconstruct a Burren-esque environment measuring about 20×40 ft containing all authentic rocks, plants, flowers, grasses, seaweeds etc that one would expect to find in Clare. Then we dressed in everything from a pint of Guinness to a leg of lamb to live crabs in a rock pool. This one shot took about a week to shoot.

Trevor: A cider client wanted a big bumble bee in a shot of apples and leaves. We asked a model Maker to source a dead one and he was able to make new wings and shampoo its fur (bees have fur). It was mounted on a little wire ready for its close up.

Do you have any personal projects?

David: Although spending a lot of my time photographing food and drink, I have a passion for wildlife photography and have spent several years studying grizzly bears in British Columbia, which eventually culminated in publishing a book about the bears of that region. More recently, my travels have taken me to Africa where I spent some time in Zambia photographing animal and bird life. The common denominators here are patience, attention to detail, and probably most importantly, lighting. You can have the most amazing subject matter, but if the lighting is flat, dull, lacking in contrast and evoking no emotion then both subjects can produce the most mundane, banal and boring end result.

Trevor: Yes, I’d love to photograph some dishes based on Irish seaweed. It’s early days so I’m looking for a collaborator.

Neworld Associates work closely with Trevor and David’s to create food photographs for our packaging projects that are truly bursting with flavour. Check out their fabulous work at www.dcp.ie and www.trevorhart.com.

Steve Grunert, Creative Director.
Steve has a wealth of experience working some of Ireland’s most successful brands such as Flahavan’s, Barry’s Tea, Glenisk, Franciscan Well Brewery, Irish Pride, The Jelly Bean Factory and Aldi Supermarkets to name but a few. His love of all things food has helped him guide clients to the right packaging solutions, helping them to find their own distinct point of difference on shelf. If he’s not slaving away the latest packaging solution he’ll be out the back, firing up the barbeque and feeding the Neworld troops full of gourmet delights!