Charleston Food and Beverage Photographer | Feeling Testy

A few weeks back, food stylist, blogger, editor and author Ashley Strickland Freeman reached out to me to grab lunch. She is joining the flock of uber talented folks that have fled city life to seek out beautiful quite land.... (how do I really feel about moving to Charleston?) Her story was not unlike my own when I took off to Miami in 2006. I made that move with the goal of throwing myself at fate completely and trusting that brave moves with no logic to them could have great rewards. So instantly, I admired Ashley's bravery, of course. Along with that, during our conversation I learned that she has quite the resume of accomplishments and is coming into this town with an arsenal of knowledge and talent. I've dabbled in food before and felt inspired by her visit to do some shooting of my own in the f&b world. Plus, it meant I could cook a feast for my friends later that weekend (sous vide pork tenderloin with a bourbon/caramelized onion/fig/pomegranate/blackberry compote, roasted Mediterranean artichokes and purple sweet potatoes if I remember it all right.... no recipes sorry, I was just winging it)! What's the good of being a food and beverage photographer if you don't get to reap the rewards? Come on! Especially in Charleston where the culinary scene puts everyone to shame... I had to try!

So I thought this would be easy, and it turns out, it was (mostly). My biggest challenge after sourcing my props was getting away from product photography. No kidding. I bought all these crazy beautiful ingredients and couldn't stop photographing the glassware and barware.... So this is how things progressed:

The first setup: Barware. I had a very tasty cocktail that I made for this, a thyme, lemonade, pomegranate, champagne drink. Luckily since this wouldn't last a few days for me to get time to cook, one of my girlfriends Sharon stopped by to help taste test my work. 

The irony of my test shoot of food and beverage becoming a light study on the barware does not escape me. This is totally one of those, "of course I would do that" moments. So happy with the above I decided to explore how some crystal glasses would look. At which point, I spiraled down into the rabbit hole again of exploring the light and shadows and never actually filled the glasses with anything.

 

At this point, I was hearing myself for the last several years telling anyone who asked if I did personal work a lecture on topics being to broad for me to do that and that I needed limitations if I was ever going to get anywhere. I know myself pretty well when it comes to images.

So the clock was ticking down and it was time (past time) for me to shoot some food and beverage. So I stripped away all the distractions that I could (shadows, accessories, etc) and just started playing with ingredients and light.

 

Then I allowed myself to put back in small accessories.

 

And after photographing the almost inappropriately sumptuous pears, I called it a wrap. That and by this point I couldn't let Sharon drink by herself anymore. What kind of friend does that? 

So needless to say, I am looking forward to our newest Charlestonian arriving around Thanksgiving. To check out Ashley's work, visit her website: http://ashleystricklandfreeman.com hopefully we will have the opportunity to work together soon!