We recently did a shoot with Saba Sardines for their new line of premium canned sardines. Along with Mylene Cheung of Photokitchen, we were going to put the elegance back in sardines with this shoot.
Basically, the sardines were sent to me in a frozen state since it was imported sardines. Our client wanted to emphasize this idea because imported sardines had a lot of these round markings on its side. So I had to pick just a few sardines out of the lot that they sent me. I think it was easy enough since they all had the markings, it was just the question of which one looked the best and was the most intact. From the factory, the sardines are usually canned with the sauce and cooked inside the cans in the process. This has been done for many years to ensure the freshness of the fish, and in the same way to lessen handling bacteria to grow on it. This is also the reason why the bones are edible because cooking in the can is much like pressure cooking.
Now, this is something they never really tell you when styling sardines…THE SKIN IS SUPER SENSITIVE TO TOUCH…even if it is the lightest touch, you could easily rip a hole into the skin because of its sensitivity. So all the fishes once fabricated and quickly steamed were handled with a lot of care. I also prepared a few sidings to spruce up the plate. The sardines were in tomato sauce which the client also provided for me. From my fabulous 8 sardines, I was left sweating with 2 really good ones for the shoot. Thank God the plate was small!
We also did a new and unique idea for the back photo of their sardines, a sardine sandwich. Showcasing the fairly large fish in between some greens and vegetables and a good whole wheat walnut bread. It is great that the bread was easy enough to find and I didn’t have to bake it myself (we’re selling the sardines anyway!). It was pretty tricky to get things together since the sardines were very fragile, and would slide off the bread the first chance that they got. It was a pretty fishy shoot considering that I only partially cooked these babies. But in the end it was all worth it because we were able to produce such wonderful photos.