Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes in a photo shoot for a large company like McDonald’s? Recently I got the chance to food style a photo shoot with the McDonald’s Canada team. Marketing Director Hope Bagozzi, and the photography team (myself included) had the goal to answer a clients question of “why the food in pictures looks different then what you get at the store”. This is a question I get asked all the time and the basic answer is that the picture has to tell you what you are getting in your sandwich and the sandwich you eat has to taste good. Not all restaurants have full descriptions of their burgers on their menus so the picture has to tell the whole story.
Food styling is not just cooking food and putting it on a plate for a photographer to shoot. There are a lot of things to consider and time is a very important one. Usually on a photo shoot for a company there will be many people involved and many comments of what is shot. I have to be able to control my food and not let the food control me. This is where techniques, like melting my cheese once my burger is built or adding ketchup with a syringe comes in. I need to keep my burger looking fresh and hot even though it is at room temperature and I want to melt the cheese not let the heat of the burger melt it for me. This job is all about control and patience and I love it! hehehe
In the video and on all McDonald’s photo shoots and tv commercial shoots we use all McDonald’s products. The same box of burgers that would get delivered to the store gets delivered to my shoot. Same buns, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustartd, cheese etc. This is something that McDonald’s is very proud of and is true. The burgers are cooked as you see in the video on a flat top that resembles what is used in a McDonald’s restaurant but I have to cook the sides first to get full cooking on it.
One more thing….this video is so real that even my slip of the tongue was left in! Yes a photo is 2 dimensional and will I ever live this comment down? Good news is I can laugh at myself and have found that this is a common slip of the tongue. Basically I meant that in a picture we basically see a flat image, therefore all elements have to be pulled forward to be read properly. HA there… I set the record straight.
In all seriousness I hope you enjoy the video. It was a very cool initiative for McDonald’s Canada and I am proud to have been asked to participate 🙂