For photographing any food, the first question is, What are we selling? In this case, it was a frozen pie crust, not the recipe that accompanied it.
When any client needs a recipe and an image, my first question is, What are you selling?
That’s followed by, Who’s your audience?
This is the case whether it’s a brand or an editorial outlet. The clearer we can be about the focus (what we’re selling) and the audience (the customer), the better I can craft an effective recipe and image.
When the folks at Palm Done Right, an international campaign focused on sustainably sourced palm oil, came to me for a series of recipes and images, they wanted to focus on their partner brands.
A Beautiful Apple Pie Crust
Among the partner products they wanted to highlight was a frozen vegan apple pie. Red palm oil has a buttery flavor and rich texture, making for a lovely, flaky pastry. That was the star and the selling point.
I suggested a super-simple recipe for whipped coconut cream as an easy vegan accompaniment. After all, if someone’s baking a frozen pie, they won’t want to spend much time on a recipe to garnish it.
I quickly realized that this was going to be more of a product shot than a recipe image. So I opted for an overhead angle to show off that glorious golden, flaky crust because even the filling was secondary to the “story.”
Spiced Maple Whipped Coconut Cream
1 (13.66-oz) can unsweetened coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Scoop hardened coconut cream that has risen to the top of the can into a medium bowl. (Use the remaining liquid in the can in soups or smoothies or to cook rice.) Use an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to whip the cream until light and fluffy. Whip in the maple syrup and cinnamon. Serve immediately.