A Food Photography Lesson in Girl Scout Cookies

girl scout cookiesIt’s in the air, all over the neighborhood and in front of grocery stores. Tis’ the season of Girl Scout cookies and this year, I swore that I’d only give in to buying one box, or two at the most.

Over the last few years, there was a bright neon flashing sign on  my forehead signaling that I was a “sucker” and could be coaxed into buying 10 boxes. For a savory and spicy girl who doesn’t have a sweet tooth, I somehow always got persuaded to buy about 10 boxes of cookies. Most of which we never ate and were shared with friends and family. Yes, I was the customer who walked away with about 10 boxes of thin mints, samoas and peanut butter sandwiches.

My weakness lies in the little girls who tell me that all the cookies taste great and that they need the funds for camping trips or for events to help benefit their troop. It’s hard to deny their cute little hair bows and green uniforms and their pitch to help them become smarter and stronger girls. I’m all about supporting little girls and at $4 a pop, I figured 10 boxes really only ends up being $40 going to a great cause.

girl scout cookies

But this year, I decided that one or two boxes would be plenty and if I wanted, I could easily write a check to contribute to their camping funds. That resolution didn’t last long and I already wasn’t able to keep to my goal of 2 boxes. Instead, I got suckered into buying 4 boxes: peanut butter patties, samoas and mango cremes (because the little girl told me that was her favorite). Oy, I bought a box not because I liked to eat it, but because the salesgirl loved them. I’m such a pushover! At least it wasn’t 10 boxes.

Now, what to do with all these cookies? Luckily we had a photography workshop this weekend, so I decided to use some of these as props. Todd and I shot and styled the samoas in two different ways, to show how you can take a subject and show two totally different moods, voices and stories.

One concept was styled in a dark, moody feel. Something to convey all the rich tones and rustic textures that make a subject look beautiful with strong contrasts and highlights and shadows.

The other concept was styled in a simple, clean and light style. The mood here was to show how you can take a subject, with minimal props and still be able to showcase their beauty in a clean, light and minimalistic vision.

So, I had a few lessons in Girl Scout Cookies.  We made the most out of these cookies in both eating, sharing and photographing. Nothing went to waste and now I have a reason to buy even more different kinds next year because I can use them in our workshops. That’s a very valid excuse to get back to buying my 10 boxes for next year!

Support the Girl Scouts!




{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Miss Kim

    I love the pictures and just want to reach into the monitor and grab a couple. What a great lesson in photography. I don’t know what “story” each picture was trying to convey. But the way I saw it, the first one is of a trip to Grandma’s house where she put out the cookies out for her visiting grandkids to enjoy. The dark moody tone depicts an environment that is low-key, usually quiet. And the displayed cookies give a warm, inviting welcoming feeling. In the second picture, I sense a more lightheartedness about it. I picture a warm get-together on a sunny spring day in a backyard..friends and families having a good time, catching up, enjoying some good food. I don’t know anything about photography yet, but those are the stories that I got out of the two different pictures.

  2. Amy at Kid Cultivation

    Send the next troop you see to my house in Chicago! I don’t know where they all are this year but it’s not on my street. I’m waiting for the doorbell to ring with my cash in hand. Your photos are doing little to ease my craving 😉

  3. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Samoas are the best! Loved the support you guys have extended by highlighting the importance of supporting such efforts.

    I would have loved to attend such workshops where samoas showcased as “props”! 🙂

  4. harveys mom

    we had company when the girl scout and her wagon came knockin…..needless to say, she was happy to have stopped by….we all bought lots of yummy cookies. keep up the good work!!!

  5. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    Mmmm Samoas are my favorite 🙂

  6. Anna {Herbivore Triathlete}

    Love both of these photos. What a great idea to use GS cookies as props for your workshop, I bet it was a hit with those who attended! Samoas are by far my favorites.

  7. Eliza B

    My roommates boyfriend left an unopened box of thin mints in our freezer… Needless to say, they were gone by the end of the day.

    What are mango cremes?

  8. JeCaThRe

    They are delicious, but I can’t be trusted with them in the house, they’re so much worse for you than a homemade cookie, and the troops only get a small percentage of the sales. I walk up to the table, say “I don’t need any cookies, but these are for your troop.” and hand them $5, which is more than they’d get from however many boxes of cookies I’d buy.

  9. Alicia

    Those cookies are the BEST! I always end up buying a few boxes.

  10. Abbe@This is How I Cook

    Can’t believe they are now $4. 16 years ago they were $1.75 and that was when my daughter sold 106 boxes. I just ran across that in a scrapbook;can’t believe I wrote it down. I bet the girl scouts would be thrilled with your photos.

  11. Jesse

    just bought my first box of thin mints this weekend. love the girl scouts.

  12. Nancy@acommunaltable

    LOL!! Even my son was “suckered” into buying Girl Scout Cookies… came home the other night with a bag full! His excuse” Aw Mom, they take credit cards – how could I say no!”
    Beautiful lesson in styling!!!

  13. Marcie @ Flavor the Moments

    Samoas never looked so good! They’re my second favorite…close behind Thin Mints.

  14. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen

    I love both styles! And the subject is just adorable 😉

  15. Lizthechef

    Ha – I always give them a donation for the thin mints to ship to military overseas. Then I blow them away when I make them guess how much a box of cookies cost when I was a Brownie. 50 cents…Dating myself here 😉

  16. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    These cookies are too good! Yum!

  17. Melissa } Dash of East

    Oh this post is so cute! I felt so bad about my cookie baking skills before I read the post and just saw the first photo – haha! Love the styling in the first picture. These must have been the perfect props for the workshop!

  18. cindy

    I recently read that the troop only gets 10%! which totally bummed me out and makes me want to give a cash donation instead. I am a sucker for samoas, though, every year and I can’t get away without at least 4 boxes!

    1. Phenomenal Lass

      The amount can vary between councils, but troops usually receive 13-17% of the profits. Some of it has to go back to the baker – usually around 25%. Some goes to incentives for the girls. Some goes to the council so they can provide programming and camps. The girls also get individual awards back based on the amount they sell, that they can use to go to camp, buy Girl Scout supplies, etc.
      The problem with the direct donation is that it doesn’t fund keeping the camps open or the council providing new opportunities for the girls – just the troop itself. Also, selling the cookies teaches the girls valuable skills like budgeting, goal setting and money handling.

  19. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife

    awww I love it. Those little girls get to me too, that’s why I stay away LOL. Their little stories just make me want to buy all of the cookies lol.

  20. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)

    I’m a sucker for Girl Scout cookies too (but really only Thin Mints)–I do wish the ingredient list was a bit better though! I saw a stand this weekend while grocery shopping and was very tempted.

    Beautiful pictures! Love both the moody and light one 🙂

  21. Rachel @ rachelcooksthai.com

    Love this post! It makes me feel like I’m back at your workshop, learning so much about photography, all the while indulging in delicious food! 🙂

  22. @GreenteaDesign

    Charming! | RT @WhiteOnRice: A lesson in Girl Scout Cookies: On buying & photographing http://t.co/LwascLMQGl

  23. Megan {Country Cleaver}

    I got 5 boxes and only made one thing out of them. I couldn’t help myself – the rest have been devoured and I’ve been stuck in exercise pennance for the last three weeks. Worth every cookie.

  24. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    Thanks for supporting the girls. This year was my daughters first time selling them and believe me your not the only one suckered by these adorable kids, can you imagine they worked at dealerships? Man, people would buy cars so easily lol! We asked Miranda what she wanted to set her selling goal at and she told us 3000 boxes (after seeing the iPad prize for that) We whittled it down to 650 and eventually sold around 200. Everyone was happy and she gained valuable money and social skills! Winner 🙂

  25. JulieD

    Love!!! My faves are the shortbread & fudge cookies. 🙂 they have thank your printed in different languages on them.

  26. Andi

    OMG I haven’t had these cookies in years. What a great idea to use them as props!!!

  27. Ashley

    Only THEE best kind of girl scout cookie everrr. Love both ways your captured them!

  28. Phenomenal Lass

    I wrote about where the cookie money goes and why it’s important to buy the cookies instead of writinag a check on my blog. http://wp.me/p271Tm-bT

    Basically, money given directly to a troop only supports the troop. Money from cookies supports both the troop and the council, helps pay to not only send girls to camp, but to keep the camp properties open, and teaches the girls financial literacy, goal setting and responsibility.

    One of the most important things we can teach our kids is that they have to work for what they want in life. The cookie sale helps emphasize that point.

  29. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    That’s the best use of props ever at a workshop. When I went on Food & Light with you, the props didn’t taste nearly as good as Samoas sound:) They’re my favorite cookies…well, tied with Thin Mints. Love the difference in the styling, too.

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