I recently enjoyed following Chris Douglass around for a few days as he prepared a Pig Roast for the Ashmont Grill in Dorchester.


Stylists on the set

January 13, 2011

Well, since this is going to be a series, I decided I better get organized.  Here’s a list of topics – it will probably change as we go.  I hope this will be useful not only to interested amateurs and  professionals, but also those who use food photography in their work.  Some people will find this too basic, others too advanced, I know.

  • What makes a shot mouth-watering? The “Yum” factor
  • Styles of photography – Visual language – composition etc
  • Equipment – in the kitchen
  • Equipment – photo and lighting gear
  • Practical working methods
  • Use of props surfaces and backgrounds
  • Thinking and working digitally
  • Lighting
  • Specific camera info – hardware etc.
  • Software – cropping and sizing for the web

Here’s a commercial shot I did for Dunkin’ Donuts.  Does it have the “Yum” factor for you?  Let’s discuss.

Coming next week

September 16, 2010

Hey there – next week I’m going to take a break from my current “photo of the day” format and talk about food photography.  The myths, the FAQ’s, what you need to know before a shoot, how to get the most out of your shoot, popular misconceptions, etc.  Let me know your concerns and questions and I will try to address them.  See you Monday!

Bruno Debas of the PhotoInstitute, a photo education site, recently did a 30-minute podcast interview with me.  I found myself talking about my philosophy and approach to food photography, as well as my beginnings.  I hope some of you find it interesting.  Here’s an extract:

The success of a picture is when it makes you hungry.  To make you say, Wow, I really want to eat that!  But beyond that if you could take one step back, you could admire the photograph from an aesthetic point of view, and you could say, that’s as beautiful as a painting — that would be a secondary success.  When you think about a food photograph, and how do you make it cause a visceral reaction in the other person, what you’re really saying is, I have a two-dimensional piece of paper  (the photograph)  and how am I going to make those things happen in the viewer?  Smell and taste are not possible, and motion is not possible.  So what it really comes down to, the things the food photographer needs to bring out in the subject in order to make this food tantalizing, and something you would crave, those things are an intimacy, which means getting in close, like you’re right there.  Those things are seeing moistness, a little bit of glisten.  Seeing texture, which is why we almost always use some form of back-lighting. And occasionally you get the sense of motion that’s not really happening, but it’s almost happening, like a drip of something that’s about to drip off.  And then color.  So if you do an exercise with yourself, and ask what can I do on this little piece of paper that will make people look at it and get hungry, it really comes down to just those few things, what we just talked about.  If you think about all those things, I think you will get a good picture.

To listen to the whole interview, go to the Podcast.  Can you tell I had a cold that day? 🙂

Chocolate Nutcake

We’re very happy to announce that we’ve been given a two-page showcase in the Spring issue of Quarterly Review of Wines!  Here’s what the spread looks like:

Jim Scherer spread in Quartly Review of Wines

Jim Scherer spread in Quarterly Review of Wines

We had lots of family with us for Christmas:  my father visiting from Chicago plus our three kids with respective boyfriends and girlfriends.  Late morning on Christmas day we enjoyed a breakfast of pancakes I like to make from scratch.


Shadows of maple syrup bottles on a green plate.


Things are changing here

October 29, 2008

Stephanie, Jim, and MeghannThere are some staff changes coming here to the studio.  Many of you know that Meghann Doiron, our studio manager for three and a half years, is soon to become a new mom.  She’s been an outstanding resource for the studio whom I’ve come to depend on in so many ways, so her moving on to this new chapter in her life is a bittersweet moment.  This will be her last week — we wish her well, and will always consider her part of the family!

In the mean time,  Stephanie Potter will be joining the studio full-time to take Meg’s place.  At one time or another, Stephanie’s been able to step in as a freelancer and handle just about every aspect of studio operations, so she’ll be an excellent fit.  Many of you already know her — welcome aboard Steph!  Stephanie’s email is steph@jimscherer.com.

Top to bottom: Stephanie, Jim, and Meghann

Above: A study of shapes, colors, and bubbles. I shot this orange juice bottle in front of my studio window, between set changes for a client project.

Left: Food stylist John Carafoli and I took a break after a long Dunkin’ Donuts photo shoot, so we took this apple outside and did a simple still life.

Breakfast Chez Camille

September 2, 2008

Last week Elena and I returned from a vacation bicycling in the Magdalen Islands, Quebec. We stayed at a tiny B&B called Chez Camille, and here’s what our morning breakfasts looked like.