The morning after my shoot at Rolf and Daughters in Nashville I was assigned to shoot two breakfast plate shots at Puckett’s. Puckett’s started in Leipers Fork Tennessee and later opened a second great location in Franklin Tennessee. This was to be shot at their newest location in downtown Nashville. Overnight rains started and with temps below freezing the warnings for early morning were dire. I was up early watching local tv trying to find out if I could even make it to the shoot from my hotel. It seemed all the suburban areas outward were bad with wrecks everywhere but the central city was free of ice.
I made it down to the shoot, parking across the street in a pay lot. It was pouring and 34 degrees so I made the executive decision to take in my ‘strobist’ kit for lighting rather than try to drag my big lights across the lot. With cameras, lights, laptop and tripod I got in but a bit wet. I keep a small towel handy and dried everything off. Because the weather was so bad the restaurant wasn’t crowded which wasn’t great for them but sure was good for me. They had a nice table in a window for me, though there wasn’t a ton of light coming in. Still it worked out great. I put together my Westcott Apollo lightbox with canon strobes for a nice fill. Breakfast food often is not that easy to shoot but the first plate was great. It was two pancakes topped with cooked apples, pulled pork and a sunny-side up fried egg. Served with fried potatoes on the side. It looked yummy. The owners and pr people were there and were so relaxed and helpful. Great people which explains why it’s a great place.
On the tables they park condiments in old cardboard beer six packs. They found and brought me a Yazoo Beer six pack box which not only had great sunny yellow packaging but also is a local beer. Love getting any local touch in a shot.
Shooting to the laptop really helps. It helps, of course, with composition and lighting aspects but also brings the people helping with the shot. They see it and get very excited, drawn into the process and wanting to make it even better. It’s a huge help for me when I’m working all on my own without stylist or assistant. It’s a real kick when I blow up the detail in the food on the laptop and they see their own food for the first time in a new way.
After the shoot I sat down and ate a fresh version of the same plate. It was almost noon and I hadn’t had breakfast yet. And it was so tasty I cleaned the plate. When I left, the rain had stopped and it was over freezing for the drive home. As much as I worried about the shoot in advance it couldn’t have gone better.
The photos are scheduled for our April issue.
The two photos show the view from my hotel with car lights streaking over the wet but fortunately not icy streets and the set-up at Puckett’s.