Sunday, November 1, 2009

photo shoot glamour

I've just spent the last two days doing the photography for a new dg cookery book. Often people think that photo shoots are glamorous, but the reality is so far from that.
The shopping alone is torturous. Supermarket, butcher and fruit and vege shop, meticulously checking that you have every ingredient you know you need, and a good selection of others that you think you might - it takes hours, you really don't want to behind me in queue.

Then it's into the kitchen to prepare as much of each recipe in advance, as is possible. I also must orchestrate the order in which the dishes will be shot, we shoot 10 recipes a day, so we have to have several on the go at different stages of readiness the whole time- it's complicated for someone like me with the attention span of a small flying insect. And just imagine the dishes!

After a 5am start, there is more cooking to do. Plus rough sketches of how each shot might look with the props that have been supplied by the props stylist. Today there were backgrounds to paint, linen to iron...Its housework on hyper drive - I don't even iron my own clothes, how did I end up in a job that requires ironing!

Shooting started at 10.00 am today and went solidly without a break till nearly 5pm. Tomorrow I'll prep another 10 dishes,repeating the whole routine,supermarket, butcher,vege shop, prep, plan ... on wednesday we'll shoot those dishes, and then well do it all again next week...

Oh and there are no bright young things dashing out to bring me a mocha latte or mop my brow - damn!
I imagine Jamie and Nigella have whole teams of people bringing them coffees and such like, but we are all a bit more "number 8 wire" here in NZ - these pictures were taken when we shot Delicious, with the charming and talented Aaron Mclean driving the camera. Gives you a good idea of what it looks like at my place this week.All the props will stay in the living room till we finish the shoot - thousands of dollars worth - hope the kids don't kick the ball around in here.
Think of me next time you flick through a recipe book and don't even glance at the pictures.


  1. Really? All that work. Whew (wipes brow) I have a new found perspective on your cookbooks.
    I am excited at the prospect of another cookbook. Although I don't have your latest one (I can't seem to find it in Australia). They don't know what they are missing out on. :)

  2. I love looking at cookbook photos. :) They inspire me to cook and to buy pretty things for my kitchen.

  3. so does this mean you buy takeaways this week??? ;P

  4. Takeaways? - Not this week. A lot of the dishes are still good as we may only use one or two servings in the actual shot so there is food everywhere,we'll have to eat our way out of the house by the end of the week, we also invite the extended family around, fill containers for hungry students who don't care that the food might have been poked around a bit and share with the neighbours. When its all over, that's when I'll be begging for takeaways - I wont be able to even face an onion or a saucepan for a few days at least.

  5. Good luck with the photos, I'm sure they will turn out great! I found photographing one recipe for my blog a bit of a mish...can't imagine doing 10! I'm so excited for the new book! All the best!