Behind the scenes of a Food Mag Photo shoot

Behind the scenes of a Food Mag Photo shoot

behind the scenes

Cooking for yourself or your family (maybe house mates and friends too), usually for survival and sustenance, sometimes for celebration and gathering, quickly quells the illusion of perfect plates of food that you may encounter on cooking shows or between the pages of glossy food magazines.

For starters, ingredients aren’t chopped and measured or carefully pre-set in dainty bowls on trays. No one magically whisks away the dirty dishes out of sight or washes your favourite knife and lays it out near the chopping board for your convenience. Not in this house anyway!

When local private Chef, and now good friend Neill Anthony Vaughan asked if he could do a shoot for a local food magazine (Food & Home Entertaining) in our kitchen, I said yes immediately. I was keen to see if there were kitchen elves hanging about who did the  carrying, chopping, wiping, decorating of plates with creative swirls and artistic dribbles. My aim was to capture one for our house.

ready to plate up

How’d they do it?

I can tell you, dear friends, that the so called kitchen elf and the pre-arranged dainty dishes of measured out ingredients, are a thing of my imagination. Neill did all the preparation himself- everything was done from scratch, in front of my greedy eyes. He also wiped the surfaces and cleaned up regularly during the entire process.

Photographing three dishes (shots were taken for three consequetive issues of the magazine), took an entire day. I found this surprising, because Neill can normally whip up these dishes in the flashest of flashes.

Neville Lockhart  (the photographer), weaved his magic patiently and it’s quite clear to me now, that making the food on the pages of the magazines look as desirable as they do, is painstaking work. Each step of the dish is captured and analysed on the spot and redone to exacting standards. It was a really humbling experience for someone who still does not know how to operate Manual mode on the camera optimally!

this is how we roll

keeping a watchful eye on the images

I must add, that all the styling was done by Neill and Neville themselves for this shoot. I was glad that I could help with the odd napkin or serving  dish, but for the rest I was nothing more than a chit-chatting spectator.

pick one

creating the perfect picture

Special tricks?

Oh, and in case you were curious- there was no hair spray, extra oil, shaving foam or any of the other styling tricks and aids you read about, used in this shoot. This was delicious food for consumption and I can attest that the ravioli (I’ll leave the details out- you can read about it in the April /May/June issue of Food & Home; I’m uncertain as to which dish will be published in which issue) was magnificent. It tasted as good as it looks, and look good it does, I’m sure you’ll agree.

making ravioli

now, if it’ll just stay put

The April issue of Food & Home will be out on 14 March.

After this experience,  and after much consideration, I have taken the bold step of offering our kitchen for hire for select shoots. Should you be interested, please contact me via the contact form on the home page, on the right hand side on this site or on Twitter @Foodandthefab

*Please note, as stated in my About page, I am an independent blogger. My interpretation of the process involved and the dishes are my own opinion and no remuneration was received for use of the kitchen or for the mention of Food & Home. *

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By |2017-04-12T18:16:06+00:00February 16th, 2011|Food, Hands on, The Fabulous|20 Comments


  1. Marisa February 16, 2011 at 8:53 am - Reply

    First of all – fabulous looking kitchen! I’m absolutely green green green with envy.

    Really enjoyed reading this post – fascinating to get a glimpse behind the scenes. Judging by how long my photo taking sessions sometimes last I can very easily imagine how it could take a day to shoot 3 dishes for a magazine.

  2. Jeanne @ CookSIster! February 16, 2011 at 8:59 am - Reply

    That’s YOUR kitchen??? I’m sorry, we can no longer be friends as I am too consumed by envy ;o) Seriously, how fab and what an interesting experience to see behind the scenes! I’ve only been to one shoot for a magazine ad (my Lurpak one) and it was fascinating…

  3. Tara February 16, 2011 at 9:00 am - Reply

    I want your kitchen. I’d like to pick it up and transplant it to my house. It’s gorgeous!
    Thanks for the behind the scenes glimpse! It always makes me feel better to see how much work goes into the perfect shot! I don’t feel so bad when mine are less than!

    • Ariana March 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      I know right,one can possibly wish for this kind of kitchen

      • Ishay March 16, 2013 at 11:00 pm - Reply

        Well, it is my dream kitchen right now 😉

  4. Ishay February 16, 2011 at 9:04 am - Reply

    @Marisa- thanks love. No need for green. I plan on doing some charity cook-alongs…read eat-alongs and I hope you join.

    @Jeanne- it’s amazing how cool and calm both Chef and photographer were. On a normal basis, as we all do, I cook to eat and photography is the thing that gets in the way of food in belly.I’d love to see what happens on a shoot with stylists and endless props.

  5. Ming-Cheau February 16, 2011 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Am super envious. It’s so cool though, Neill seems lank stoked! Haha, cheeky grin and all.

  6. Ishay February 16, 2011 at 9:30 am - Reply

    @Tara- yes, it’s a bit of work. But as I said, chef and photographer were effortlessly cool during the process. I couldn’t believe it was suddenly 5pm!
    @Ming Isn’t he just the best poser? Who knew! 🙂

  7. Sue de Groot February 16, 2011 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Love your blog. So nice for our F&HE readers to see what goes on behind the scenes in order to bring them those perfect dishes in the mag. Thanks!

  8. Ishay February 16, 2011 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Hi Sue- it was a pleasure to host. Many thanks for the opportunity to share the scoop before it goes to print, on the blog. And thanks for visiting.

  9. Charmaine February 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Neville,it was good to see you in some of the pictures,as you are always behind the camera. The kitchen is amazing.

  10. AfriAsian February 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    OMG! I love, love, love your kitchen! Compared to what I have to put up with here in Taiwan…heaven!

  11. Sarah Graham February 16, 2011 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Too cool, thanks for sharing! Was just as greedy reading as you must have been watching! x

  12. Cazpi February 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    How divine!!! Your kitchen is amazing – would have killed to have been a fly on the wall today 🙂 All looks spectacular, can’t wait to read the mag!

  13. Michelle February 16, 2011 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Thanks Nev – I agree with Charmaine – the photographer is always kept hidden and we are laft wondering who captured those beautiful images…..

  14. Marina February 17, 2011 at 10:05 am - Reply

    A beautiful kitchen, and brilliant piece. Thanks Ishay!

  15. Betty Bake February 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    only one word- JEALOUS!!!

    🙂 hugs
    have a super rest of the week
    Betty B

    • Ishay February 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks for visiting Betty. To you too 🙂

  16. Louwra February 23, 2011 at 3:36 am - Reply

    This is absolutely beautiful and entertaining!

  17. Nellian February 28, 2011 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Lovely kitchen I must say! I just love the photo of the kitchen cloths!

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