So sometimes when you are passionate about what you do as an artist, working with clients can be tricky. That being said when you do encounter that tricky client, the one thing to remember is…it isn’t always about you. You are hired for your artistic vision and the ability to create the outcome your client is looking for but you are one piece in a puzzle and you need to make your aesthetic mesh with everyone else’s. This is not always easy but you got to keep your cool and go with the punches as they come. Besides a job with no challenges, in my opinion, is a boring job.
Whenever you start a shoot the first step is to make sure you have a clear concise idea of what your client is looking for. What do they hate? what do they love? what message are they trying to convey? and which target market are they trying to reach? All these are important and will help you decide how to style your shot. This info will aid in ruling out things like, drippy sauce vs pristine clean lines or crumbs vs no crumbs. These sound like small elements but to be honest crumbs vs no crumbs convey very different images and when you see crumbs in a shot, there was much thought as to whether they worked or not. Nothing is by accident.
Sometimes we as artists can get wrapped up in our vision and think that only we are right….just watch an episode of “Project Runway” when they have group challenges lol. Every once in a while, I will start out a shot and get so into it that when we call a client over and they say… “Hmmmmm I was hoping the grilled cheese would have the cheese oozing from the other side…any way we can do that?” it can totally deflate you. As frustrating as that may be in the moment, the answer is yes of course. I like to offer at least an explanation for why I did what I did, for example the lighting looks best from this side or usually when you eat this, the cheese would be oozing on that side. Sometimes, that extra bit of info can lead your client to understand your vision but other times, it’s just not what they were hoping for so you start again and you repeat to yourself….It’s not always about me!
Through my years working as a food stylist, I have learned that a client will respect you more if you at least try what they are suggesting. It is important for things to be tested and seen and just because you do this everyday and can rule out some things, not everyone else does. Sometimes you will be surprised and that thing that you thought for sure would look terrible ends up looking great. It is best to be open to other creative minds and suggestions as they can help you sometimes reach goals you may never have gotten to. All this to say, that food photography is a collaborative world where many people are involved and shape the shot. You have your client, the art director, photographer, prop stylist and yourself, the food stylist. Everyone is bringing something to the table, and everyone brings their own expertise to the shoot….but we all collaborate to reach our goal of creating beautiful, yummy, scrumptious food shots that make people want to eat when they see them. One thing is for sure….It’s a super fun job but like I said “it’s not always about me” 🙂