Thursday, September 12, 2013

photographing a cookbook + The Family Flavor giveaway!

.....just a few questions Whitney came up with about the whole 
"photograph a cookbook" process....

me. last winter. on whitney's head. photographing. pie.
What is it about food that you like photographing? 
I get to eat it! I seriously loved showing up to a shoot at Whitney's and have 3...4...sometimes 5 dishes to try. I love that I can play around with each dish and style it a bit, and it won't run away from me like a 3 year old would. Food is beautiful. The whole process of taking a bit of this, and a pinch of that and bringing them together into a dinner, or a cake.....I just love that process. I love being able to capture it.

 What camera gear do you use? 
Canon 5D Mark II, and most of these photos were shot with a 24-70mm f /2.8 lens. 

 Where do you get all your props?
Everywhere. I pulled stuff from my own cupboards, from Whitney's cupboards. Clearance aisles at target. Garage sales and thrift stores for dishes and silverware. We wanted every recipe to look like an actual family meal--nothing too fancy or matchy or perfect. Real. 
I shopped Home Depot for boards and tiles for backgrounds.

 What kind of food is your favorite to photograph? 
Dessert! It's just so pretty. You really don't have to "style" desserts at all--just shoot (and eat) and they look great.

 How did a typical shoot go?
This changed so much from when we started, to two years later when we wrapped things up. When we first started, I would load every single dish/spoon/board/material/EVERYTHING I had into my car and head to Whitney's. She would cook a dish and I would decide how I was going to shoot it. I had no plan. As we went on, and worked together more, we had a system down. We would figure out our menu for the next shoot and I would visualize how I was going to photograph it, and only bring what I needed for that shoot. Our first few shoots took 4-5 hours, we whittled it down to 1-2 hours.

What kind of food is hard for you to photograph? 
Whitney answered this for me and said "MMMMMEEEEEAAAATTTTT!"
I'm not a huge meat eater, and when we started this whole thing I wasn't sure how I was going to photograph some of the meaty dishes....I just didn't have the vision. Like meatloaf! It's a loaf. Of meat. How can you photograph that? But with each meat dish I learned more and more what I liked to do (add color!), and what I didn't like, and soon got my meat-ography down. One of my favorite pictures is the Grilled Ribeye Steak with Rosemary Gorgonzola Butter.


 Were there any mishaps in the food photographs that we wouldn't be able to notice?
We said right from the beginning that we would never "fake it" when we came to our photos. No tricks of the trade (like glue instead of milk in the cereal bowl). We would only photograph REAL food so the results look the same when YOU make it at home. 
But from time to time stuff goes wrong, cakes break, and we had to roll with it.....
 - a huge chunk of the Orange Cream Cake was missing--it broke apart when Whit took it out of the pan. Luckily we were able to find it's best angle to photograph it from. (pg 240)
   -Whitney forgot to get sour cream for the Shredded Sweet Pork Tacos. I just didn't feel like the picture was complete without it, so we used whipped cream instead. (pg 73)
   -I was shaving chocolate pieces onto the Chocolate Cream Pie and accidentally shaved part of my fingernail polish onto the pie......we had to pick out the red flakes! - (pg 239)
   -Whitney was cooking 1000 things at once, and the sauce for the Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Red Onions burned on the bottom and was totally stuck to the pan. We were able to scrape enough off the top for the photograph. (pg 29)
   -Nothing went wrong, but it was really entertaining and hilarious photographing a whole fish at 9am in the morning. (pg 84)
   -The crust fell off our piece of Crumb Top Apple Pie,  so we had to prop the crust up with toothpicks. (page 220)
   With the Spiced Pear Cheesecake, we didn't have an extra pear for the garnish, so she sauteed some apples and we pretended they were pears. (page 229). 

And with that, the time has come to wrap up Cookbook Week. 
Thank you all again for your support this past week as we have celebrated the release of our book!
I'll return back to regular blogging next week, but I'll be sure to let you know when we have exciting updates and deals you will want to check out. 




To show my appreciation, 
I want to give away a signed copy of 
To enter the giveaway just leave a comment--easy! And I'm going to do that super annoying thing so you'll help spread the word 
(we worked for 2 years on this book--we want the world to know!) 
Share a link to our book on facebook/instagram/twitter/pinterest/your blog/chain letter......whatever it is you do, and come back and enter again 
(each link gets you another entry--spread the word, enter away!)
Comments will close on Wednesday, September 18 at 8:00pm MST.

The Family Flavor is still on sale for $14.91 on 
Amazon--get your copy HERE.

happy weekend!



106 comments:

Ashley said...

Haha!! Love the bloopers/mishaps you described. Never would have known!

Darcee said...

Bloopers, love them!!! I want those brownies!!!

Elena said...

Congrats on the book! The more I read about it and photos I see, the more I am convinced that my family should have a copy!!

jax from the harmon squad said...

I loved the bloopers! From the snippets I've seen of the gorgeous photographs I never would have guessed!

brynne frei said...

We make your burrito bowls almost weekly! I'm dying to get my hands on this cookbook. Loved hearing the background and knowing that even the pros make mistakes like me ;-) congrats on this great accomplishment!

heeee said...

I can't wait to get my cookbook in the mail! It's been fun to learn the history behind the book and the funny things that happened along the way. I have to say that I adore you sheena and I love love reading your blog!!!

Sarah said...

I would love a copy of this book! Your photos look amazing, and I could use the inspiration!

Sarah said...

Mentioned on twitter!

Dina said...

This must be so exciting! I can't wait to try all the recipes. Keep up the good food!

Monika said...

Your photos are incredible and so..home,nice.I like it in the kitchen:)

m

Krystal Celeste said...

So fun to learn about the mishaps! You never think about those kinds of things when you're reading a cookbook. It all looks and sounds so delish! Would love to have a copy! :)

nasnabostone said...

I so need that brownie recipe.

nasnabostone said...

I pinned it on pinterest!

lana pribic said...

Loved reading this entry! So funny about the orange cream cake ;)

Sarah said...

I would love a copy of the cookbook!

twinsontherun said...

This was such a fun read! I'd love a copy!

Sarah said...

I tweeted about the cookbook! https://twitter.com/underthestars/status/378503920978362369

Unknown said...

it all looks beautiful and knowing the behind the scenes is the best!

Jo Murray said...

I want one!

Danielle said...

I want one!!!

Grace Rusch said...

Such a fun interview. Thanks for sharing some photography secrets! Both the food and photography look incredible!

Moody Family said...

I am so excited for this give away! I need some new recipes in the old box and this sounds right up my alley!

Paige Holley said...

Awesome! I would love this cookbook. Can't believe I haven't bought it already!!

Moody Family said...

Posted to facebook AND pintrest!!

afton, stephen & brooks said...

Yum yum yum!! I need a book!

Sara Pellman said...

This book looks lovely!

Carissa Knight said...

Love the bloopers! It's fun to hear behind-the-scenes stuff. I love that you used whipped cream in place of sour cream!

Nicole said...

I can't wait to receive the three books I ordered! Two are for my sisters, the last one is TBD whether I give it away or keep for myself. If I were to win one I wouldn't have to choose. :)

Laynie said...

I would love a copy!!! It looks beautiful!!! Congrats!

Becca said...

Would love a copy so I can share with my fam and friends some new recipes!!

Becca said...

Would love a copy so I can share with my fam and friends some new recipes!!

Life in Mono said...

I already purchased the book, but would love a signed copy- and can gift the other one! :) Love all your photos and can't wait to try these recipes.

Chelsea hall said...

Loved reading about the photography journey for the cookbook! Would love to have one ! Congrats on it's debut!

melissa said...

i want my copy signed, regardless of if i win. just kidding. except i'm not.

Allison Maginot said...

Congratulations on your first book Sheena and Whitney!

Allison Maginot said...

Congratulations on your first book Sheena and Whitney! What a wonderful collaboration!

lauren said...

This cookbook looks so awesome!!

the crew said...

Congratulations! I am so excited for this book and in awe at all you did to accomplish it together :). Can't wait to see it in person!

Becca said...

I'd love to win a copy!!!!

Sarah Platte said...

I'd be PUMPED to get a copy of this, but will buy one whether or not I win. Beautiful photography, recipes look delicious. Congrats on this awesome opportunity!!

Chelsy Downs said...

Loved reading this!!!

Anonymous said...

This looks like a wonderful book, and I am so proud for you and Whitney.

Amanda T

Karalee Kuchar said...

Congrats Whit! Really proud of you friend! Would also love a copy! xoxoxoxoxooxoxo

gina said...

Coolest cookbook ever!

gina said...

I facebooked a link to amazon. Woot woot!

gina said...

pined on pinterest

derek+chelsea said...

i bought the book for my moms birthday and just bought another for myself!!

keely said...

I would love a copy!!

Kylie said...

This is just so cool. I would love to win a copy!

Shannon said...

I literally jumped for joy when I heard the mailman coming up the steps! It's beautiful! I LOVE it! As a fellow food photographer I really appreciate the simplicity and real-ness of each of the photos. Whitney's writing is adorable too. I loved the bloopers! I also have a little code of ethics never to use anything fake in the food I'm photographing but I cook all I shot when not on assignment and am constantly burning the bottom of the pan and knocking off a bit of cake so I quite relate =) I left an amazon review and have been trying to tag you on instagram but haven't seemed to be able to find you! Are you still on there? Thanks!

Angee said...

Congrats! It's simply beautiful!

julie said...

This looks like such a great cookbook. . . I would love to win a copy. I have older sons who love to cook; I may share with them.

Emily said...

I already bought 8 copies but I just wanted to say this has been my favorite post so far. The whipped cream on the tacos is hilarious.

fiercely fresh said...

Loved hearing about your workflow. The book looks great!

Unknown said...

This cookbook sounds delicious!

Gillian said...

Love your pictures, would love to have a book!

Liz said...

The book sounds awesome! I would love a copy!

Zita said...

I love holding new cookbooks in my hand. I bet, you two made an amazing one!

Zita said...

I shared the news about the book on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ziziadventures

Zita said...

I tweeted about the cookbook here: http://bit.ly/1eMwh58

Hayley said...

Can I have another one?? Then I'd give one away. Good karma.

Hayley said...

Can I have another one?? Then I'd give one away. Good karma.

Sarah said...

It looks like a lovely cookbook!

Sarah said...

Thanks for all your hard work!

Sarah said...

Thanks for all your hard work!

Stephanie Gill said...

I love the chance of a signed cookbook! I follow both your IG's, your blog, love to run, hike, being in nature, and cooking! I'm off to spread the news! Steph

Stephanie Gill said...

Woot woot! Shared on facebook!

Erica said...

Love the bloopers! And all your insight into food photography. What a fun project :)

Elizabeth N. said...

What a delicious and gorgeous cookbook. Thanks for spending your precious time on this project and for sharing your talent.

Kasey said...

LOVE the bloopers!
I can't wait to make those brownies.

Lindsay RC Wilson said...

I need new recipe ideas.

Lindsay RC Wilson said...

Shared on Facebook. Best if luck in the promotion. If people have any sense they'll buy it because Ingrams know good food.

Lindsay RC Wilson said...

Also, pinned on Pinterest on several boards, but just count it as one.

aubyn said...

Have been following your blog for a long time and am so happy the cookbook is out! Will happily share the link!! Food and photography= love!

Kelly E. said...

Love the behind the scenes. It looks like a beautiful book. Thank you so much for the chance to win!

Kelly E. said...

I shared on Twitter, too!
https://twitter.com/jarslikejam/status/379051824805724160

Tena Meinertw said...

I want one!

Stephanie Gill said...

Posted on IG! Keeping my fingers crossed!

Unknown said...

Yay! Can't wait!

eden said...

I have pinned it to my birthday wishlist board, shared it on Facebook, and just now tweeted. I am excited for you guys!! I can't wait to own my own copy! Congratulations!

benbidder said...

Oh how fun! I love reading the behind the scenes mishaps. :D

ryfsmith said...

This is the first time I have ever left a comment on a blog. I love your blog and I have tried so many of your recipes and they are amazing. Thanks to you I discovered Whitney's blog and have recently made some of her recipes which instantly became family favorites as well. I am so excited about this new cookbook that I couldn't resist a chance to win a signed copy.

Alexandra said...

facebook, wahoo!!

PS sheena, you're fabulous, inspirational and awesome. i love your blog and your family and I'm totally jealous of your life :)

Alexandra said...

Tweeted on twitter (redundant, I know) as well :)

Shannon M said...

YAY cookbook givingaway!!! This will be a welcome addition in our house!

Amy said...

love your blog!

lauren@kiwi+peach said...

I always seem to forget sour cream too for some reason. I generally end up using plain yogurt–thankfully it looks the same in the photos and tastes pretty similar too.

Congratulations on the book! It seems like a great kitchen staple kind of a cookbook. We're making the curry and yogurt roast chicken this week, and I'd absolutely love to win a copy so we can try some of the other recipes!

Anonymous said...

"Like meatloaf! It's a loaf. Of meat. How can you photograph that?" Heh. I'll bet! I can't even imagine!
ceevegnashville [at] gmail [dot] com

Elise Dear said...

ooh! my fingers are crossed!

ali said...

It's fun to see your hard work come to fruition! I hope you both make LOTS of money on this new venture! lots of love ali

jen johnson said...

I already ordered mine but you know I want a personal copy that two magicians have touched.

Jennifer said...

I love a good cookbook and so excited to check this one out! Maybe even win a copy?!?

Courtney said...

I'm so proud of you Sheena!!!

Jennifer said...

Hooray!
~Jennifer
jtandthesea@gmail.com

Carrie said...

everything in this book looks and sounds DELICIOUS!

Carrie said...

pinned it. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/61994932343913990/

Melinda said...

pick me pick me!! :)

Jakalou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jakalou said...

My mouth is watering just thinking about that cookbook. Pick me please!

missjackiesteele AT gmail DOT com

The Hettinger Homestead said...

Lucky comment #100? Sheena, I've been following your blog since "I saw today." I don't even remember how I came across it but you've hooked me ever since. (Sorry, I'm not a commenter, but I've been trying to be better.) I would love to win this cookbook! Not only have you inspired me to be a better photographer and a healthier cook for my little family, but my favorite part of your blog is the inspiration from watching you reach your goals. I wish you and Whitney all the best! And congratulations!

juliahettinger@yahoo.com

The Hettinger Homestead said...

Oh, and I pinned on pinterest!

juliahettinger@yahoo.com

Fearlessly Active said...

Can't wait to get this cookbook!

Jeana said...

I would LOVE to win a signed copy. I loved seeing this cookbook develop and couldn't wait to order one. I wish you and Whitney all the best!

jeanabird@gmail.com

Jeana said...

I posted it on fb.

Pamela Joy said...

I would love to have a copy of the cookbook , I love your blog! I will share on Facebook, twitter.

Pamela Joy said...

I shared on both twitter and facebook