Carolina Product Food Photographer | Kate Benson | Where you can spot me

Just a little fun note that today my image is the featured image on the landing page of Wonderfulmachine.com. This was a food shoot I did for fun after I moved to Charleston, SC. The food scene in Charleston is unbelievable. Before moving here, Sam and I asked anyone we met what were they the most proud of being from Charleston to which repeatedly the answer was “our food”.  For the most part, I’ve left food off my website. I always knew other great photographers who shot it and once we became buddies, I never wanted to compete with them. I’m the photographer who really values my friendships (but that might be a Boston thing too). There might be more of it starting to creep into my website since I’ve been shooting more and more food lately. I’ll keep you posted! In the meantime, as I’ll only be on the landing page for a day, here’s the screen shot of my work:

 

Carolina food and beverage photographer

Charleston South Carolina Product Photographer | Kate Benson | Sight Supply Co Lifestyle Still Life

Recently, I was approached by contact lens subscription company Sight Supply. They were looking to build their online brand through e-commerce and lifestyle product photography, and to make sure they stood out from the competition. They needed both a photographer and art director to get this job done!

First, I tackled the art direction. I put together a mood board showcasing unique e-commerce shots. After talking with Sight Supply, we agreed that the lifestyle images needed to be diverse and unconventional. With this knowledge, I chose unusual locations that still showed the contact lenses being a part of your life. Here are a few samples from the mood board.

 

After discussing which ideas they liked best, Sight Supply gave the okay for me to get props and start shooting! It turned out to be a day and a half of creative shots. They were able to receive e-commerce pictures with clipping paths, (so their graphic design team can use them over and over,) and a whole social media library. Here are some of my favorites from the shoot.

Because of the desire to stand out and play with the color in the packaging, I let my inspiration go and got some fun results! I think these product photographs for their social media library will certainly make them stand out.

Check out Sight Supply’s Instagram for more images from the shoot or my Instagram to see more of this Carolina product photographer‘s work. I’ll keep posting my favorite product lifestyle shoots for you to see!

Lifestyle Photographer South Carolina | Kate Benson for Beija Flor Jeans

A little under a year ago I joined A Wonderful Machine and have really enjoyed working with them. This summer I hired them to do some consulting work as well as a bit of a rebranding and have to say hiring that out has been a great decision. As photographers we get so emotionally close to our work that it’s hard to see just the image without the story of shooting it. This morning Wonderful Machine sent me a sweet note to let me know that they are using this shot from the current season of my shoot for Beija Flor Jeans as their homepage image for a bit. I’m pretty excited and flattered of course.

Beija Flor Jeans is one of my favorite clients, based in the Carolinas and I have had the blessing of getting to shoot a few seasons for them now. The shoots are always very diverse and fun. If you love amazing jeans, here is the link to their website: https://www.beijaflorjeans.com and if you haven’t checked it out, Wonderful Machine is pretty cool as well: https://wonderfulmachine.com

 

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!

 

Carolina Product Photographer | Kate Benson Photography | The Mad Olive e-commerce: photographer and consultant

(Just taking a picture while I pour the beer for no other reason than to see if I can do both at the same time and make it work)

 

Tomorrow I’ll be shooting a creative still life shoot in studio and on location here in Charleston, SC. The client is The Mad Olive, a wonderful couple who reached out to me asking for help making the transition from an Etsy storefront to their own website. In an incredible story of entrepreneurship, the two started their Etsy shop selling custom engraving/etching on many different gift products. Quickly sales grew and they were soon giving up their other occupations, hiring help and full time. That store lead into another Etsy store which grew in success even faster than the first.

When Lauren called me, we discussed the art direction and I guided her through the steps of making choices on how to present the images to clients. We knew that this would be two shoots, an e-commerce shoot and a creative still life shoot with props and set. They love soft shadows and color pallets but wanted to move away from the Etsy style of images for their website and marketing photography (Etsy shots are usually prop and set heavy, as well as really busy). A neutral background color was selected and I sent them previews of the shooting as we went along. One of the cool things about being and e-commerce photographer is finding a way to keep images consistent and fit together despite the varied subjects and materials being captured. I also love consulting for e-commerce and helping guide my clients to find images that will reach their customers more effectively. What works for Etsy isn’t what works best on your own websites most of the time.

In the spirit of being excited for tomorrow’s shoot, here are a few of my favorite shots from The Mad Olive’s new e-commerce photography. All the product will have etching superimposed on it later. But shooting them blank allowed their team to have maximum return on their investment (love that ROI) for each image since it will be able to get used multiple ways. Here are a few beautiful wood products:

Not surprisingly, my favorite shots were the more finicky glassware shots. I love playing with reflections!

And on that enticing note, everyone, have a safe and happy July 4th weekend!

Charleston Fashion Photographer | Kate Benson | Zacasha 2016 Boho

How do I talk about Zacasha? Do I write about the designs that you can’t help but want to collect all of? Do I talk about how fascinating a business Jennifer created and how it just exploded into something bigger and better than anyone ever imagined? I guess you have to know Jennifer the owner and designer to know what Zacasha really is. Working with her free spirit and creative mind is like chasing genius. You can try and follow along as best you can but will never catch up. She works and reworks everything she contacts and you can’t help but be swept up in the spirit of this creative process and applaud the art it produces.

I shot their 2015 campaign and this spring (yes, it’s taken that long to write about it) I photographed the 2016 campaign. Jennifer had 2 days of shooting, a Boho day and a 1920’s day. These are a few of my favorite images from the Boho day.

The colorful free feeling of the boho shoot mirrored Jennifer’s spirit. It was such a privilege to work together again. Jennifer on top of being a very talented designer and business woman also is a fantastic stylist and art director.

I have to start with those shots of Tamara from Elite Miami. Tamara really got excited at the casting, her boho energy matched the brands, and on set, she moved and danced in the true spirit of the shoot. She chameleons into the character you give her and won the hearts of everyone on set.

Our second model was the gorgeous Jade from Wilhelmina. Her exotic beauty was a perfect canvas for both our shoot days.

There were way too many beautiful shots to choose from, I shot close to 2,000 photographs that day. So as you can imagine, the idea of going through them all and choosing favorites has been overwhelming!

So here are just a few more, and maybe, with any luck, I’ll get to go through these later and find my true favorites. In the meantime, let me know which of these is yours. I’ll take any help I can get editing this batch!

 

This last shot really captures how I feel trying to pick a favorite.