This shoot was very challenging. Not only because we were going to be photographing fruits that had to be mounted onto a transparent background, but also the fact that some of the fruits we needed were totally out of season. The first step to my shoot was calling up suppliers to find the hardest fruits on my list — passionfruit and lychees. So it was a wild goose chase weekend (yes, preprod friday, shoot monday) of calling, finding and finally buying the best mangoes, passionfruits, calamansi, lemons, apples and oh…the non-existent lychee from contacts in Davao, 2 hypermarts, 2 of our restaurant’s suppliers and some suppliers in Aranque and Ongpin…the result? There were no lychees in early February. It was just too impossible. I made the decision to get some longans instead just in case. This was pretty interesting because our client was Nestea and we had to make our fruits 1) look delicious 2) look like it’s floating we also had to do the same with the *fake* ice cubes which sink in real life.
Thinking that my shoot would be relatively okay…until I saw the aquarium set up. I started to think about where I could possibly mount these fruits that will hold my skewers, toothpicks and pins on it without causing too much blockage or weird colors in the background that will totally block the photographer’s back light…Thank God for good ol’ styrofoam (which I was more than happy to find out that I could recycle old ones that the photographer had!). Everything had to look like it was floating wonderfully on top of the juice, so this part was just one of the set-ups.
As always, I did my prepreps on the fruit. Kept them nice, cool and moist until shooting. The hardest was mounting them on the styro, I had to make sure I did this properly without destroying the fruit itself. It turned out to be a pretty long day, but I really just couldn’t wait to see the outcome of this job since this is the first time I did a “floating” set up like this.
As for our lychees…we took pictures of both canned and my “homemade” lychees. Sometimes, you just really have to make do with what you have, especially here in the Philippines.
I’ve been to so many groceries around the world and I can really say that food stylists have it quite hard here in the Philippines. A lot of times out produce isn’t up to par with the standards…and a lot of times, if they were, they would be imported and probably you’d only be able to pick 2 out of the bunch of 10 that you had to buy because it’s pre-packed and mostly bruised. I see tomatoes with stems and leaves on them in the groceries of Australia, Farmer’s markets in the US and groceries in Europe, Big-C’s in Bangkok…here in Manila…you can sometimes find them in one grocery…or two…and they’re very expensive and they have 2 out of the 20 pcs they are selling that actually have green and still living leaves and a short stem.. Bless my soul if I find a tomato that has the perfect stem that’s 2 inches long.. In Sydney, they actually sell the stem with like 10 beautiful tomatoes stuck to it on a normal day. You really have to go far and wide for these things here. But I can’t stress enough how our markets are getting much better these days. Tomatoes with the stem were a myth in groceries about 5 years ago.