Wednesday, September 02, 2009

General Mills Photography Studios

Photo Studios
At General Mills they do all their own photography on site for packaging, editorial, everything. They have a labyrinth of prop rooms, a photo lab, multiple kitchens and areas set up for photography and post production.

Photo wall
Walking into the photo area was a hallway with photos taken by various photographers using General Mills products, just for the fun of it. I kept thinking, the photos would make great cards. Actually General Mills thought so too and gave us each a box of cards made from these fabulous photos. Here were my favorites, can you identify the General Mills product in each one? Sorry these are photos of photos, so please excuse the poor quality.

Props

I could have spent hours in the prop room or rather, rooms. Imagine every single color, size and shape pan, plate, placemat and everything in between. In a word, staggering.

A huge thanks to the photographers and food stylists who set up a shoot, walking us through all the steps, the lighting, the props and the styling. I picked up lots of great tips and will treasure the little tutorial they prepared. It answered many of the nagging questions I have had about aperture settings, lighting tricks, photo angles and more. Here are just a few of my favorite photo styling tips:

+ Wrap foil on the bottom of your pan to form the shape, then place it inside the pan so you don't get creases and wrinkles in the corners. This works great for things like brownies that you want to smoothly lift out of the pan without sticking.

+ Remove slices surrounding the slice you want to photograph, so it stays attractive.

+ Use a ruler and pins or toothpicks to mark where you are going to cut slices of brownies, cake, pie, etc.

+ Sometimes tearing into homestyle foods like muffins looks better than slicing them

Anna, Amy & Nicole
Aside from the hospitality of our hosts, the best thing about my trip was this--hanging out with Anna from Cookie Madness and Nicole from Baking Bites. They are smart, funny, creative and amazingly talented bakers and bloggers. We had such a good time together. In case you didn't know, Anna is a past Pillsbury Bake-off winner. How cool was it to walk around and have various employees recognize her as a celebrity? I loved it!