Behind the Scenes: A Cookbook Photo Shoot

Michael Pederson arranges some sweet potato-apple latkes

Last November, I met up with a team of photographers, stylists, editors, and assistants at Eagles Nest studio in New York to shoot the pictures for this book. It was a peak experience—the best of my career. Writing a cookbook is such a solitary process—just you in the kitchen or at the computer, cooking and writing away. To walk into the studio and see a whole team of people working on my food…it took my breath away.

My presence there was probably more a favor to me than anything else. Other than helping with the props and doing a little bit of cooking, I did very little. Food stylists Michael Pederson and Tracy Keshani did most of the cooking. Squire Fox took the photos. These photos are so tough to get right, it’s best to leave it to the pros. I mostly organized the 59 different varieties of apples that I had collected for the shoot, and lined them up for their beauty shots. I also took photos of the photo-taking. Forgive the poor quality of my late, unlamented Droid’s images.

An apple and cucumber pickle, made at my house in advance of the shoot
The scene when I arrived at the studio.
Discussing prop placement
Apples, props, gear...
Roasted butterflied pork loin with cider-glazed veggies in front, Blue Ribbon Apple Pie in back
Tracy Keshani arranges the apples in the pie so each slice looks perfect
A rustic apple/pear/cranberry tart, waiting to go on set
The view from the studio
Some of the 5 dozen apple varieties we compiled for the shootThe aples came from California, Indiana, Washington, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York
Inside the prop studio where we rented many of the dishes, linens, and backgrounds that you'll see in the book.
This door was used as a background for the Blue Ribbon Apple Pie shot. Renting it for a week from a NYC prop house costs about $100. I missed my calling.
And yet the photo looks like you just stumbled across a pie on a sideboard at someone's country house.
Reviewing a shot of the pork and apple pie

4 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: A Cookbook Photo Shoot

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