Big Food Shoot

13th September 2018

Organising a series of photography shoots with models, food and animals certainly has its challenges. When charity client RSPCA Assured sent me a brief for their ‘Eat less, eat better‘ campaign, it became pretty clear that this was going to require some careful planning.

To start, we discussed the type of images that they needed and how they were going to be used. Because this was primarily a ‘lifestyle’ shoot, the focus had to be on the people in the pictures. Though the props were food and formed an important part of the visual impact, it was there mainly to illustrate and make our pictures attractive.

With a rough outline and shot list, I started going about putting together a plan for each series of images. The subjects were to be 2 families and 2 couples in a variety of settings. The schedule soon developed into 5 sessions at 4 different locations. Finding suitable locations was tricky but eventually very successful as we used two private homes with nice kitchens, a Sainsbury’s supermarket and a stunning local farm, Ruscombe Farm. Finding models was a little more straight forward, having worked with the same modelling agency Models Direct on several previous projects, we quickly found our talent.

With locations and models booked, the next task was to plan food and props. Fortunately, one of my daughters is an excellent chef with a great eye for aesthetic detail so without any nepotistic hesitation, I booked her next to work with another excellent stylist and foodie, Helen Green. Their biggest challenge was to prepare food for each shoot that would best interpret the client’s slogan ‘Eat less, eat better’.

Shooting indoors is relatively straight forward. The main issue is that the host has their house taken over by a crew of 7 people, equipment, boxes of props and food! Shooting outdoors however added many additional challenges. The weather, the light, the insects, the animals (their droppings!) etc. In the end we were very lucky with it all falling into place perfectly. I guess our careful planning and preparation meant that we had several backup plans – and as a last resort there was always that very useful expression, ‘it is what it is!’.

Of course, I never have enough time to to fully express my creative ideas! In the end it was about balancing budgets, stamina and requirements with the focus on achieving the key images required for the campaign. I’m pleased to say that we achieved this and as a result, the client gave overwhelming praise to everyone involved.

To find out more about the work of RSPCA Assured, please visit their website:

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