Recently, I attended a product shoot for our Client, Dale Farm. The aim of the shoot was to capture the full range of Dale Farm cheese.

Senior Creative Paul Fagan was working alongside the very talented David Pauley at his studio in Belfast. I had the opportunity to shadow Paul to find out what all was involved in creating the images that we use in our studio at Ardmore on a daily basis.

This was the first time I had attended a product-only shoot and upon my arrival I already had a lot of thoughts about what it would entail with plenty of questions on my mind. I was ready to find answers!

In the 21st Century, we’re all food photographers with the ever-growing trend of flaunting dinners out via Instagram or snapping sweet treats that we reward ourselves with at the weekends.

This was very different.

We had a brief, there was a plan…

The first thing that struck me when I entered the studio was the photographer’s line of vision. He was shooting at a 30-40 degree angle, elevated by a small step ladder. The products (cheeses) where set out on top of a table with the front and back products being relatively far apart (probably half a metre). If you’re like me and you’ve taken a picture of say a burger on a plate, you’ll have noticed that the chips in the background appear out of focus in the image. Although I’m not directly comparing my iPhone to a professional’s state of the art Nikon, I was amazed so see such definition between products spaced so far apart.

It was really great seeing the attention to detail that was involved in such a relatively simple shoot. Packaging had to be as flat and crease-free as possible in order to be free from bounce-back of the flash that was being produced from the 6 different lights being used.

The atmosphere was very different to shoots I had been on previously involving models or people. The controlled enviroment kept things steady and thought out. Each image was being examined on a Mac screen before the next photo was even taken.

Leaving the shoot, I had a greater understanding to the efforts involved in product photography.

Care, time and precision are key.