Teamwork, behind the cookbook shoot scene

by on February 5, 2012


We’re back from a fabulous week in Florida from a visit with our friend Jaden from Steamy Kitchen. We helped her during her cookbook shoot and after eating half the recipes in the book, we’re ten pounds heavier. That’s what happens during a cookbook shoot where the food is real. It’s a tough job, taste testing, but we’re always up for the challenge! Jaden’s cooking is so bright, fresh and flavorful, her new cookbook is sure to be a staple on your cookbook shelf.

The kitchen team consisted of Todd and Jenna where they made sure each ingredient was prepped for camera readiness and prettiness. The studio team was Jaden behind the wheel at the camera and I assisted in prop and food styling. The energy was high and we all started the shoot days with positive attitudes and big appetites.

We’ve photographed and food styled several cookbooks and each project is a new adventure. Before we enter into 5 straight days of cooking, styling and shooting, we always start with a great workflow and implement a system that allows the team to work in unison.

Teamwork is the most valuable virtue when starting a photography project like this. On set, we’re all bound to experience exhaustion and encounter problems with cooking recipes to make them camera ready. We can struggle with lighting issues that harass the shot till no end. But what keeps the shoot moving fluidly is a positive attitude and the spirit of teamwork.

Our team on Jaden’s shoot worked together flawlessly and on the first full day, we were able to capture 16 recipes in print. It was such a joy to experience this spirit of teamwork again where everyone supported one another and helped each other out where it mattered most. Watching each recipe come to life on the computer monitor was magical. Everyone gathered around the computer to see the final shot and we knew it was the effort of 4 people to breathe life to a recipe.

That’s the meaning of teamwork, when we can all gather around the final product and celebrate one another for a job well done!

We wrapped off the last day of shooting by having a dinner on the beach where the perfect sunset was for us. Jaden’s boys played in the cool ocean waters, digging their feet into the sand. Todd and Scott played few rounds of frisbee with the boys, while the girls sipped mojito’s and caught up with email, and twitter! Can’t wait for Jaden’s cookbook to come out!



Feet in the sand. And Nathan says “hello”. 

Scott helps the boys replant their feet. And like father, like sons.

Group shot! 

In studio, on set… 

Jaden on set & some dishes from Heath ceramics for prop styling. 

Inside Jaden’s studio with plenty of dishes,  linens and chopsticks. 

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sreebindu February 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm

beautiful =), looks like a bang on one is coming up.


2 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 5, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Wow…what an amazing time it must have been. And look at Jaden’s studio…and all those dishes and props and gorgeous light…I’d like to have that (wouldn’t we all!) :)

Can’t wait to see the book; no doubt it will be beyond gorgeous!


3 Kathryn February 6, 2012 at 1:11 am

I love hearing about the behind the scenes stuff, it makes all the work that goes into a cookbook seem that much more real. And great pictures on the beach, I love the one of the two boys holding hands.


4 Victoria February 6, 2012 at 2:36 am

What a great post. I agree – can’t wait for Jaden’s second cookbook to come out. Nice to “see” you guys.


5 White on Rice Couple February 6, 2012 at 11:27 am

Victoria- We were thinking about you Victoria. You were one of our very first blog readers. Thank you for the support all these years. xoxo


6 Maureen February 6, 2012 at 6:54 am

The photos look like you had a great time but I know it’s a huge amount of work. You’re very talented.


7 Janice February 6, 2012 at 7:01 am

I willingly volunteer to help with the taste testing next time.


8 Bev Weidner February 6, 2012 at 7:28 am

Absolutely. Love. This.

Wish I could have been there!


9 Angie @ Bigbearswife February 6, 2012 at 7:49 am

ooo I love love the pictures! and the stock room!


10 JulieD February 6, 2012 at 7:52 am

I loved that you shared this. Love the beach photos…especially the one with Jaden and her boys. I cannot wait to see this cookbook and feel it. Loved following the journey on twitter and instagram. Hugs to you both!


11 Connie February 6, 2012 at 7:52 am

The dual combo of Jayden’s food and your photography. This book will be stunning!


12 LiztheChef February 6, 2012 at 7:58 am

Terrific post – and a prop room that almost rivals yours!


13 Yvette ~ Muy Bueno Cookbook February 6, 2012 at 8:16 am

Love to hear and see the magic behind the scenes. Your work is so vibrant and incredible! We look forward to seeing the final cookbook. Very exciting for you and (Jaden) Steam Kitchen! Congrats!


14 Winnie February 6, 2012 at 8:23 am

Such lovely photos. I am way envious of Jaden’s lovely studio and I cannot wait for her new book!


15 Sunchowder - Wendy Read February 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

Fabulous prop room and tremendous photos! The cookbook is going to be amazing I am sure. Still not sure if we will meet in Orlando, but hope to meet you at some point in time ;)


16 Gabby @ Gabby's Gluten-Free February 6, 2012 at 8:26 am

What a gorgeous studio! It looks like you all had an awesome time – I hope to be doing that someday!


17 Renee February 6, 2012 at 8:45 am

Awesome. Can’t wait for the cookbook. Looks like you all had an amazing time, even with all the hard work. The way it should be!


18 Susan in the Boonies February 6, 2012 at 8:45 am

I love looking at Jaden’s studio and her wall of props. It makes me drool.


19 Lana February 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

Everything in that studio looks beautiful: the linen, the dishes, and the light! And there is nothing more satisfying than working on a project with friends:) Looking forward to the book!


20 SMITH BITES February 6, 2012 at 11:11 am

i don’t realize how much i miss the water . . . until i see beautiful photos . . . then all i can think of is planning a trip . . . i am certain Jaden’s book is going to be a HUGE success . . . especially since she has this killer team working with her!


21 Maria February 6, 2012 at 11:48 am

How fun! And talk about a dream team! Looking forward to seeing the finished product. Congrats!


22 Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence February 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I agree with Averie – that studio shot is beautiful. So jealous!!


23 Urban Wife February 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Such hard work…all worthwhile of course! I can’t wait to see Jaden’s new cookbook. As always, your photography talent blows me away. Thanks for the inspiration.


24 Madison February 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

The beaches are beautiful there!
I always forget what a big production it is to set up a food scene shoot. Look at all those shelves of dishes. That room has such good lighting. I’m sure it all turned out delicious looking!


25 Snippets of Thyme February 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I can just imagine I would be blubbering all over while waving goodbye after spending countless hours pulling all of this together. I imagine it is hard work indeed and it is a testament to team working skills that you all can come together and cruise through that many dishes from start to finish. Amazing job!


26 Kristen Hess, Artful Gourmet February 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Beautiful pics! Looks like you all had a great time..! Best wishes for the new book :)


27 Aggie February 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I love seeing good people doing good things. Love the photos! Can’t wait to see you guys next month!!


28 Margarita February 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Good times, good food, and great pictures! I am so jealous of all the props! Good luck on the book!


29 shelly (cookies and cups) March 2, 2012 at 9:37 am

Is it wrong that I have insane prop envy right now? Can’t wait for her book!


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