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Scenes From A Cookbook Shoot

Angie and Virginia

Angie and Virginia: not bad when your call sheet for the day starts with an outstanding caramel cake!

I was on a week long cookbook shoot this past week and I admit I did not cook or bake much since I was surrounded daily with the most fabulous dishes that will be in Virginia Willis upcoming book Basic To Brilliant Ya’ll published by Ten Speed Press and released next Fall. I am now in a few rounds of editing the manuscript for Foodography but I did not want to pass on the opportunities to upload a few phone snapshots from this past week.

I love photographing cookbooks. The dynamics are so completely different and crazy in their own way and I have been so very lucky to work with extremely talented cooks, writers and chefs who are passionate about their job as I am about mine. I LOVE my job! Not only do I get to play with my camera settings, lights, composition, styling all day long but I am also privileged to eat some wonderful dishes.

Building A Set

I love that shooting is as much about improvising a composition as it is capturing it properly.

Virginia’s recipes are no exception. I laughed every time Virginia graciously accepted my compliments about her dishes. Are you kidding me lady? Every bite that graced my lips warmed my soul and made my feet dance a little twist under the table. I can’t wait for everyone to get this book in their home. Oh yes…

Angie- Fabulous Prop Stylist

I renamed Angie, the Prop Guru.

We shot Viriginia’s cookbook in my studio and being stuck up there with the kitchen downstairs, I did not have the chance to take a picture of the unsung heroes of this shoot, Gena Berry and her crew of interns who made such beautiful foods and kept us well fed and rolling the whole time.

I admit I was in prop heaven when Angie unloaded what looked like another 10 houses worth of dishes and linens in the studio space. "Yes please!" were my words to having the space packed up with dishes. I was loving it…ah! It was so smooth and easy working with Angie which made the magnitude of the task at hand really enjoyable.

Bailey, Betsy and Angie

Betsy from Ten Speed Press and Angie Mosier and my personal assistant, Bailey a.k.a "Wiggle Butt".

Finally, having Betsy from Ten Speed Press join us for the whole week was the icing on the cake. I particularly loved seeing her take on some Southern ways while down here. It’s easy to fall in love with the South and its charming hospitality. I did.

Colorful Produce

It’s easy to create wonderful recipes when there is such wonderful produce as Melissa’s and Whole Foods in our baskets and no, they did not pay me to say that…!

An easy recipe combining good food, great people, great spirits and a love of a job well done.

I’ll be back later this week with some exciting news to share!

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LizNoVeggieGirl February 22, 2011 um 2:16 am

OOOOH can't wait for the upcoming exciting news! ๐Ÿ™‚

Maria February 22, 2011 um 2:20 am

Thanks for the behind the scenes post. Congratulations! I can't wait to see the book!

Michelle Stiles February 22, 2011 um 2:35 am

Dreamy job! NEWS?

Virginia Willis February 22, 2011 um 2:55 am

Thank you thank you thank you for all your hard work and amazing, amazing artistry. Not only did I find a new colleague to work with, I found a friend. X VA

ChichaJo February 22, 2011 um 2:56 am

I can feel the excitement! Can't wait for the big news ๐Ÿ™‚

Heather February 22, 2011 um 2:59 am

Looks like it was a fun week! I like the behind the scenes feel of this post.

Chihiro February 22, 2011 um 3:30 am

I love the way your pictures capture the expression of focus and fulfillment.
Can't wait for more.

gemma February 22, 2011 um 4:32 am

It's lovely to read about someone who loves their work as much as you do.

Cook me tender February 22, 2011 um 10:20 am

Hard job, but gorgeous at the same time…certainly you have an amazing job! Great team!

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate February 22, 2011 um 11:27 am

What a lovely read and it is great to see the process photos! How fun, it looks like you all had a great time. Congratulations on great camaraderie and all of you enjoying your work, even "wiggle butt".

Tracy Grant February 22, 2011 um 1:14 pm

You are just so inspiring Lady! I love it ๐Ÿ™‚ What a great time!

Sips and Spoonfuls February 22, 2011 um 2:16 pm

You guys look like you're having a ball on the job. Imagine waking up everyday and being excited about WORK! Looking forward to hearing what your good news is….and oh my…..I would be in prop heaven too with all that stuff!

Ana February 22, 2011 um 2:19 pm

Me ha encantado este post. Maravilloso! es el backstage.
I love it!!!!

Kathy Walker February 22, 2011 um 3:06 pm

You are wonderfully creative…it was so much fun to see you "at the office"!

[email protected] February 22, 2011 um 4:33 pm

The behind the scenes story is so fascinating. The photo of all the props was astounding. Please share more of that part of your work with us.

arshi February 22, 2011 um 4:45 pm

tyhankyou for the pics can't wait for the book to release

arshi February 22, 2011 um 4:46 pm

thankyou for the post i cant wait for the book to release . ๐Ÿ™‚

Darina February 22, 2011 um 6:46 pm

How exciting! I hope you will share more behind-the-scenes posts in the future. And I have already pre-ordered your book at Amazon.

The InTolerant Chef โ„ข February 22, 2011 um 8:47 pm

I love the behind the scenes shots and seeing how it all comes together.

Jess February 22, 2011 um 10:05 pm

Ah, Helene, I love hearing you talk about your work. You're just wonderful. Can't wait for your exciting news…

Kimberley February 23, 2011 um 7:02 am

I love behind-the-scenes peeks! And seeing all the amazing props! Thanks for sharing.

Barbara February 23, 2011 um 7:28 am

Oh my, so many props. Heaven.

Rocky Mountain Woman February 23, 2011 um 4:04 pm

That was such a fun "behind the scenes" kind of post…loved it!

Can't wait for the exciting news..

Anonymous February 23, 2011 um 5:13 pm

Thank you for sharing the sneak peak of a Food Photographers love. That cake has my mouth watering!

Ari Recipes February 24, 2011 um 12:23 am

Your work is so amazing!!

Anonymous February 24, 2011 um 3:04 am

I always forget how time consuming and in depth food photography can be, it's actually really interesting!

Prim and Pimp February 24, 2011 um 3:06 am

can't wait to see the pics


Anonymous February 24, 2011 um 9:16 am

It looks like you had a lot of fun but also hard work I am sure. You are such an inspiration.

Cat February 25, 2011 um 12:22 pm

I have just discovered your blog and I'm in LOVE!! It is like when I first discovered the world of food-blogging. Your mousses look amazing, the photography is inspired, the flavour combos sound divine. So I've subscribed, spent precious hours browsing your recipes and pictures, and now here is my comment. Lots of love and luck from you new number one fan. Cat x

Scarletta @ Scarletta Bakes February 25, 2011 um 4:57 pm

What fun!

And I am eagerly awaiting your news as well!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kelly-Jane February 25, 2011 um 5:06 pm

How fun that looks. Will put this book on my wishlist – just look at that caramel cake!!!

Ash February 26, 2011 um 12:24 am

So exciting!! I love that you showed the process!!

marla February 26, 2011 um 2:25 am

Such great creativity in that room. Wow girl I can feel the energy – love it. Shooting a book must be a blast, hard work. Well worth the efforts. Can't wait to see it & cook up those recipes.
Miss Wiggle Butt is super cute!

Junitjej February 26, 2011 um 10:55 pm

Such a nice blog! Greeting from Sweden!

Mr. Bill February 27, 2011 um 11:27 am

Thanks for inspiration!

Mr. Bill February 27, 2011 um 11:27 am

Thanks for inspiration!

Jennifer February 27, 2011 um 9:05 pm

Can't wait to get my hands on that caramel cake recipe! Alas will probably have to wait even longer to get it as am in the UK ๐Ÿ™

ChocolateCentral February 28, 2011 um 5:06 pm

I really appreciated reading this post. I thought the baking and eating of all my chocolate creations was going to be the most enjoyable aspect of creating a blog, but to my surprise I equally enjoy the creative photographing process. The only hard part, and I'm being completely sincere here, is trying to keep my 2 year old from getting at it. He just doesn't grasp the concept of "wait until Mommy takes a picture".

Delishhh February 28, 2011 um 6:40 pm

Oh that looks like so much fun! can't wait to see the finished product!

Jaime {sophistimom} March 1, 2011 um 7:21 am

Helene, thank you for such a fun post. I can't wait to see that book.

So happy to watch as your career unfolds in such beautiful ways.

clippingimages March 2, 2011 um 9:54 am

such a exciting blog! like it so much….

Alice Olive March 2, 2011 um 6:26 pm

Great post – thanks for sharing the experience with us. Your passion comes through!

Tori March 9, 2011 um 10:27 pm

Those props do look amazing to work with. Love you description of collaboration – thank you for sharing a peek into your (yummy) world.

Roomba Vacuum July 25, 2011 um 9:25 pm

This is a very good weblog. I have been back more than once within the last few days and want to subscribe to your rss feed making use of Google but cannot work out the best way to do it accurately.

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