Behind the scenes at a Book Photography Shoot
17th July 2019
Here we go again .........................
It's with huge thanks to all of 'you' amazing foodies who went out and bought a copy of my Chinese Takeaway Cookbook, that Quadrille Publishing asked me to write a second book. Full details I'll share once I'm given the OK.
So I'm back in London at the Boardroom Studios in Kennington with the original team who worked on my first book.
Photography - Sam Folan
Food Stylist - Emily Jonzen
Stylist - Agathe Gits
Designer - Emily Lapworth
Photography Assistant - Lisa Paige-Smith
Food Stylist Assistant - Nicola Roberts
Day 1 - Cookbook Reunion
By the time I arrived the team had already began slicing, dicing and of course wok'ing, the aroma of ginger and garlic wafted it's way up the cobbled court yard and as I walked into the studio I was instantly transported back to last years shoot. It was so nice to see everyone and it really didn't feel like it had been a whole year since we were all working together on my Chinese Takeaway Cookbook.
Day 2 - A Well Oiled Machine
The whole team were now back in their flow, it's quite mesmerising watching them seemlessly moving around each other. Emily and Nicola were producing stunning plates of food, Sam and Lisa were working their magic as they used old bits of card to cheat the lighting to get the perfectly lit picture and I was on hand to answer any questions the team had about how the dishes were supposed to look.
Day 3 - Design, Design, Design
Emily (the chief designer) knows exactly what she wants to see; listening to her instruct the team to food placement, lighting and props is amazing, it really is incredible to see the amount of detail that goes into each photo.
The fact of the matter is the TEAM are all amazing, Emily and Nicola are at the very top of their game when it comes to food presentation, which in turn makes everyone elses life so much easier. Sam and Lisa can snap away and after a few tweaks with lighting, focus or shutter speed they get outstanding images.
Emily oversee's the entire production, picking out props supplied by Agathe for each shot, and ensures eveyone stays on the same page.
Day 4 - Rice
This mornings drive in to Kennington was very calm, the traffic flowed as I effortlessly bimbled up the A3 from Colliers Wood to the studio. On arrival the team were already hard at it and they had just finished photographing a chapter opener.
Today was very much based around rice as the team steamed, boiled, baked and fried a myriad of dishes including a recipe I picked up while visiting Hong Kong a couple of years ago.
Rice is the staple food for many countries across the world and none more so than China. My Dad grew up in a little village named Tam Shui Hang, New Terratories, which was a farming village and they grew rice. On my last visit Dad took me to his old home where he lived with his grandma and in the corner stood a wooden rice shucking contraption
Day 5 - Author Photo Shoot
Today was a very early start as Sam had asked for me to be at the studio by 9am so he could get my Author Photo for the book. Now 9am may not sound early but it did mean an early alarm call and a good hour commute to the studio which is only 8 miles from where I'm staying. On arrival, Sam and Lisa were picking out a couple of backdrops and defusing the rays of sun that were streaming through the window.
I'd bought several shirts to change in to, in the past I'd always worn a black long sleeve shirt but now I've become the face for John Banks, Big & Tall Menswear my wardrobe is extensive and I have so many brightly coloured shirts to choose from.
Standing by the window with the defused sun lighting the shot Sam began to shoot, within 20 minutes we had a bank of images for Quadrille to consider.
Day 6 - Stylist
It is so important to have an amazing stylist and I'm so lucky to have Agathe Gits, who not only styled my Chinese Takeaway Cookbook, but is also styling my second book.
A couple of weeks before the shoot we are all sent the shoot list and it's Agathe's job to choose plates, forks, chopsticks, back drops, cups, glasses and table decorations for each photo.
Then on the first day of the shoot boxes and boxes of tableware arrive, it's unpacked and sorted ready for each shot.
I simply cannot thank Sarah Lavelle enough for comissioning my second book with Quadrille Publications. Emily Lapworth who's in charge of design, who designed my first book and thankfully is also designing my second book. Stacey Cleworth (Editor), Wow she's so on the ball, her job is to make sure what I've written makes sense, the recipes are fluid enough for non cooks to follow and intellectual enough to not sound condescending to chefs using the book.
I dont think anyone works as hard as Emily Jonzen (Head Food Stylist) and Nicola Roberts (Food Stylist), hour after hour each day they are cooking their socks off and then styling each plate under the camera.
Sam Folan (Photographer) this man is a wizard, his eye for detail and lighting is second to none and Lisa (Photographer Assistant) she works so well with Sam, they make such a fab team.
And of course Agathe Gits for her vision, if it was not for her, the images wouldn't pop like they do.
Thank you guys x
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