Here’s a very good example of how great marketing can benefit Gold Coast restaurants.
The Lazy Lobster is a seafood restaurant in Labrador. A large venue with a modern, fresh interior, it offers lunch and dinner guests a range of areas to enjoy – their cosy interior, bar area or sun-drenched (and air conditioned) window-frontage dining area that overlooks a stunning view of the Gold Coast’s Broadwater and it’s esplanade.
While the waterfront scenery alone is offered by only several other seafood restaurants along the whole Gold Coast, coupled with truly great food, The Lazy Lobster’s offering is very strong. Testimony to this is the almost 20 years that they’ve been in business (the equivalent of about 6 lifetimes in the restaurant game)!
Even so, an out-dated website and sub-standard food photography was letting the owners down for too long – an issue that they recently addressed by getting in touch with a good food photographer (moi!) and a good web designer, to get themselves quality image content that’s not repeated on their pages – plus free them of Google’s SEO penalisation for having a site that’s not mobile-friendly.
Take a look at the old food image they had been previously using across multiple website pages:
NOTE: The above is NOT my shot! 😉
Wisely, the owners recognised that it was time to invest in imagery that did their fantastic food justice…
Together with the owners, myself and my food stylist met to discuss a more contemporary art direction to showcase their food, it’s beautiful presentation and the generous portions that they still serve. The results speak for themselves and within four weeks, this Gold Coast restaurant’s online bookings went from one per month to 10 per week and still rapidly climbing.
Get in touch today if your Gold Coast or Brisbane restaurant’s reservations could use a boost like this. 😉
Last week a 5-star Gold Coast hotel client asked my advice on how to best photograph the food being served at their Vegan buffet.
They obviously wanted beautiful photographs, but needed to ensure that these particular food shots weren’t misleading – the meal offering is a buffet, after all – not a-la-carté…
I thought that the table styling could help to tell this story, while avoiding simply showing a line of hot platters on hotel trestles. I suggested that I photograph a single plate of food that their highly-awarded Chef has plated up nicely (unlike the physics-defying pyramids that many diners construct when embracing a buffet)! Plating-up the food this way communicated the fineness of the food on offer at the hotel, while the surrounding table styling made it clear that this was not an a-la-carté dish for one.
This was achieved with stacked plates and serviettes as well as scattered handfuls of cutlery, rather than a place-setting for one.
A great story-telling solution for a suite of images that the client was super happy with!
A welcome effect of the popularisation of food appreciation in Australia, is the improvement of food standards and service. One group of f&b outlets that has long been associated with ‘bog-standard pub grub’, is the humble Australian sports club.
While patrons have appreciated the generous meal portions served at sports clubs, the standard and creativity of the food was almost never a talking point. And the photography that was ‘selling’ the food in the menus is usually, in a word, shite!
One club looking to break this stigma is the North’s Devils Rugby League Club in Brisbane. Currently undergoing major renovations and upgrades, the North’s Devils have anticipated increased membership and patronage at their restaurant and have created a food menu that will cater for this. Their food is not only one hell of a lot more sophisticated than Brisbane and Gold Coast sports club patrons are used to eating – it also meets the more old school expectations in terms of generous meal portions.
The presentation of the meals now being put up is a credit to their team of chefs, who’ve worked hard over the past year to develop a food menu that will lead the charge in changing the way that Australian’s view sports club restaurant food. The club’s Gold Coast design agency had briefed me to shoot a suite of 13 minimally-styled shots that were highly consistent, allowing each dish to be the undeniable hero of each shot.
I came. I shot. I ate. I left.
That’s how I roll.
If you’d like to feed me and would perhaps like to also talk about involving food photography while I’m there, please do get in touch! 🙂
A few weeks ago I was approached by a Sydney food publisher to photograph a cookbook for Lisa Bryant, titled ‘Pods’. Lisa has created a wide range of frozen ‘pods’, which are essentially ice cube infusions. They range from curry starters consisting of herbs and spices to throw into a curry pot, to alcoholic ice cube pods for cocktails and fruit-infused dessert pod treats.
They’re a great idea for busy people who want a frozen stash of meal starters, ready to go. Of the 120 recipes featuring in the book, I was asked to photograph 40 of Lisa Bryant’s creations for the image content.
For this food shoot, I enlisted the talents of Pete May – a very skilled food stylist who works in the the Gold Coast & Brisbane region. It was going to take a man of Pete’s talent to devise 40 different ways to shoot ice cubes and make all of them interesting and unique food shots!
During pre-production discussions, I suggested that we fill a baking tray with water and freeze it. This provided an excellent small ‘table surface’ to shoot a number of the shots on, which also allowed me to light an additional glass tray from underneath, giving a dynamic, illuminated texture to sit the pods on, while also keeping them cold.
Pete’s terrifyingly vast range of food photography props and textiles provided relevance and character to the art direction and our client’s were immensely grateful and happy with the work – which is always so nice to hear!
The book looks excellent (from all reports) and has been bumped-up from national release to international release for Christmas 2015. A great result.
For more info about what’s being touted by some as the next food revolution, you can check out www.ThePodEssence.com
The cover of the new book
It’s been a lonnng time between blog entries for Gold Coast Food Photography because I’ve been swamped with shoots these past few months – yikes! Plenty of material has been shot for upcoming blog entries though and the food scene on both the Gold Coast and Brisbane is looking very healthy! Some sample food images to follow very soon…
I’m very happy to announce that I recently won the Zarraffa’s Coffee account to do their food and drink photography, after a very successful food shoot together, showcasing their delicious new menu. By the time I had photographed the menu, I’d also eaten most items as they came off the table – some self-control issues there, so it’s back to the gym for me! Many thanks to Pete May, for his excellent food styling work for Zarraffa’s – full credit to you, Sir!
On the new business front, I’ve also secured a partnership with Burleigh Tourism, as their exclusive food photographer, so will be shooting food and drinks for the various fantastic cafe’s and restaurants around the Burleigh area. Burleigh Tourism is enjoying an exceptionally proactive new chapter in engaging local Burleigh businesses in helping them succeed. This is also great news for visitors to Burleigh and the Gold Coast’s development as a travel destination and lifestyle choice.
Another bit of great news for Gold Coast Food Photography is the new partnership with Gold Coast Food & Wine Tours. This is an excellent business model that’s had great success in the Brisbane market and is now coming to the Gold Coast. The concept is in the name and the info you need is here. So grab some friends, make sure one of them is a non-drinker so you can get into the wine and discover some of the great food and eateries that the Gold Coast has to offer!
Here’s some insight into how I like to approach my food photography, in the form of a recent example while shooting for new Gold Coast client, Jack’s Creek.
Jack’s Creek produce exceptionally high quality Wagyu and Black Angus beef. Because they’re an Australian company with true Aussie heritage, I’d sourced some native timber slabs that I wanted to shoot their cooked meat products on. While sanding these slabs down the weekend before the food shoot, I noticed that the tree canopy above me was casting beautiful shadows across the timber and I set about figuring out how I could recreate this light in the photography studio.
2 hours later, I had created some custom tools that faithfully mimmicked a complex gumtree canopy light that’s available to me any time of day in the studio. Once the lights were in place, this took the Jack’s Creek food shoot to the next level, by casting a distinctively Australian dappled light across the food products, giving their brand’s photography styling a completely unique and ownable look.
This is photography lighting that no other brand is doing in their industry, which is dominated by beef and other meat produce which has been shot against white, to make it look ‘clean’ – when in my opinion, this kind of art direction only makes meat look like it’s for sale on eBay.
Art direction and pre-production like this is one of the things that keep me busy with new business enquiries from clients looking for quality food photography – which is great. But greater still, are the Brand Managers for clients like Jack’s Creek, who recognise opportunity to do something new when it’s suggested – something special and then put their faith in us to still deliver on their brief. This is how not only brands, but creativity itself can improve, evolve and inspire everyone on the project.
Below are some of the results from the 2 day food shoot and I must credit the incomparable Pete May for his exceptional food styling, management, prep and cooking. Enjoy!
Nature’s light canopy inspiration!
Having just completed two extremely successful food shoots together here on the Gold Coast, I’m very pleased to announce that I’ll be working with food stylist, Pete May on a regular basis.
Pete is one of the best food stylist’s in the country and is without doubt, the most passionate foodie that I’ve ever shot with. His food knowledge is incredible, from the aesthetic through to the molecular and his background as a restauranteur / foodie is almost as extensive as his vast collection of props, textures and tabletops (which need to be housed in TWO sheds)!
Pete’s early work life involved styling for retail, which later influenced his food styling – developed further through studies in visual communication. Pete brings a very sharp eye for the less tangible aspects important to food photography such as colour palette, graphic shape and form and yes, even light. The textiles, propping and food management aspects of the craft that Pete brings to the set are something that I can’t overstate the value of as a food photographer, as this allows me to focus on perfecting the lighting and every other aspect of my job for the client.
Following on from very enjoyable back-to-back food shoots over the last two weeks, our food photography work together has already been noticed with some potentially very exciting news to follow soon from a Brisbane client!
In the meantime, keep watching this space and if you’d like to see more of Pete’s impressive food styling work, you can of course read later entries at this blog or view his folio at Pete’s site, here.
Pete working his magic in the studio last week (please excuse the iPhone photo)!