Behind every food photograph is roughly 500 people. But in our office, shoots are a little scrappier. The team's a little leaner, meaner: The kitchen, led by Josh Cohen, cooks all the food; Alexis Anthony, our art director and prop stylist, lays out the shot and its props in collaboration with our cookbooks' photographer, James Ransom; and then one of the food editor-stylists preps the food in for its moment of glory. James snaps, Alexis fixes linens, food stylists fuss lettuce leaves into place, and then we go from there.
Even though we shot these books at the same time—and both subjects have temperamental models (salad and ice cream)... especially when you're shooting in the summer... with one ice cream maker... (you get the picture!)—we got into a groove, and came away with a few images that made us googly-eyed.
Here are the images Alexis and James love the most from our newest books (out today)!
James, on the left image:
"I was determined to shoot ice cream scoops directly on the marble surface at least once in the book. This turned out better than I imagined it could. The smears really bring it to life."
James, on the right image:
"This was just fun to shoot. Sometimes you get lucky."
We got lucky because this wasn't the shot we had planned at all! This was my prep tray where I was coating pops in citrus sugar before putting them on set. The melting extras in-the-wings looked way cooler than what was happening under the camera, so we stuck it under James's camera. Like James said, sometimes the messes are naturally beautiful.
Alexis, on the left image (that's black pepper feta ice cream!):
"I love this one because it explores a fun take on the cheeseboard. The tumbling, colorful fruit bounty creates the story, carrying your eyes across the page and down to the quiet scoops patiently waiting to join the party."
Alexis, on the right image:
"I like how this graphic shot speaks to the process and the scale of the ice cream sandwiches."
(These little sammies are about the size of a quarter, so you get to eat 15.)
This image is one of the first in Ice Cream & Friends: It introduces the reader to the first chapter, devoted to chocolate and vanilla. Our hope was to show all that the classics of chocolate and vanilla can mean, with various textures and hues. The end result is one of Alexis's favorites: "This one really speaks to textures and techniques."
Alexis, on the left image:
"I love how the food in this one is styled so that the viewer can experience the texture of each component."
Alexis, on the right image:
"To me this one is about process and the beauty of a mess."
P.S. These were also really fun because they are showing beloved recipes from our site; for years, we've pictured them as their images on the site (the ones below), and now they got whole new looks!
From James, on the left image:
"I love how the lighting worked out on this shot. We photographed it in the studio, but made it look like it was taken on someone's patio."
From James, on the right image:
This is one of my favorites from all of 2016.
Sometimes, the simplest moments—the messy scattering of ingredients on a baking sheet, or a shadow from a leaf—make the best images. No tricks needed.
For more photos (not to mention recipes and tips galore), check out our newest cookbooks, Ice Cream & Friends and Mighty Salads.