Behind The Scenes At A Food Shoot Redux

Remember back in 2010 when Domino’s Pizza received a makeover from CPB called Show Us Your Pizza that mirrored the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty where you go behind the scenes with the evil photographers, retouchers and prop stylists to see how they fake everything (APE story here)?

Well, McDonalds is jumping on this seemingly never ending bandwagon only this time the photographer is not evil. The “behind the scenes at a McDonalds photo shoot” shows that they are simply being helpful in arranging the ingredients so that they are visible for the picture. Love the new twist. Look for this trend to continue.

Anyone know who the photographer is in this video?

There Are 16 Comments On This Article.

  1. c.d.embrey

    Who will be the first to show how a roast turkey is shot?

    For those who have never done a turkey shoot, the golden brown doesn’t come from an over. The food stylist uses paint and an airbrush 8-0

    • Not sure what food shoots you are referring to, but in 6 years of repping food stylists not one of them ever made a fake turkey. The trick is to shoot it within the first 5 minutes after it gets out of the oven, before the skin deflates.

      • at the studio i formerly worked the food stylists would even have real cakes underneath the icing instead of the much more economical styrofoam because they knew we’d give them a really hard time if they didnt. and if they had prepared a bird that couldnt be eaten afterwards their chance of a re-hire would have been diminished a lot. ;)
        but then we only had a food shoot every other month.

        • stanchung

          Depends on the food and the shot required.
          McD is quite anal about their food. I’ve directed/art directed at least half a dozen requiring ‘hero food’ for the end pack shot. They bring out a thick ring folder we call the ‘bible’ with a picture of what every food item on their menu looks like and asks the FS to replicate it.
          Choosing the best buns and most perfect piece of cheese and squeezing the perfect drop of tomato is part of the job for the FS.
          There’s little or no cheating unlike some other joints where the actual product is vastly inferior to the picture.

      • c.d.embrey

        I worked on many food TV commercials in the 1970s and 1980s. For an Armour Star Thanksgiving spot they flew a food stylist from NY to LA to paint the bird. BTW have you ever worked on motion shoots? For that first five minuets idea to work, you would need a dozen (or more) heros.

        Are they still using “two part smoke” to give that piping-hot look. Back in the day we used it on everything from pizza to steak. We were making an electric pizza maker spot (Eskimos making pizza in an igloo). The stylists were told not to put the pizzas in the dumpster, because there were a lot of homeless in the area and they didn’t want to poison them.

        Back then the only still photographers I saw work, were piggybacked with the motion shoot. And they used our lighting set-up. So I have no idea how it was done on stills only jobs.

        • stanchung

          Nobody eats the Hero food here unless it’s an ‘eating shot’. Even then, we always standby a bucket for the talent to spit it out as it usually involves lots of takes.

          Shot a Tim Tam where the talent loved it so much she had a stomach ache on set for not spitting out after each take!

          The FS[food stylist] always makes edible food as extra for the clients and crew! LOL

          I find only edible real food when the client can’t afford a FS and the food is coming from their own hotel/restaurant. For tiny pictures in brochures- the chef is requested to provide some food. This food also doubles up for later talent eating shots so we can’t put any ‘chemicals’ on it!

          I remember requesting for wine in a drinking scene and the talent was not allowed to drink it or we’d have to pay for it. [Incredulously, it was poured back into the bottle o.O]

          The fake smoking gun effect using strong acid and alkaline gel was still being used when I was actively directing early 2000 but I had figured it’s easy to composite steam and it looked more natural and less heavy. Actual steam can sometimes be too much but if you get it right- it looks the best.

          Hero pizzas are not cooked the conventional way as the vegetables & pepperoni would have burnt edges and looks a little dry. Tasty but not nice looking. A small gas burner would be used by the FS to lightly toast the garnishing and melt the cheese.

  2. I specialize in food images and have never heard of painting a turkey for a shoot. Perhaps there are some Stylists that do so but I haven’t seen it. One of my closet friends is a very successful Stylist and she has painted food before but uses items from the baking section to enhance a turkey’s color.

    • It’s largely a 60s/70s/80s industry thing versus a 21st century industry thing.

      The modern Federal Trade Commission does not smile upon adulterating or tarting up hero food. If you are representing a food product (e.g. you’re shooting for Omaha Steaks or McDonald’s, not a platonic ideal of a “steak” that Bob’s Steak Guide dot com will license as stock), they’re extremely restrictive about ingredients, recipe, and edibility. The FTC’s foreign equivalents are even crankier. Many ad agencies and food stylists are well aware of this.

      Since almost the entire production chain is liable for drenching a turkey in motor oil when the FTC comes a-knocking, stylists and agencies are using real food out of self-interest if nothing else.

  3. Thanks for the vid. Very interesting. Still not going to buy their shite burgers