Muddy’s Journal

a behind-the-scenes peek at our fall 2016 lookbook photoshoot

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a food photoshoot? I did a long time ago ... and I still wonder about (and pity) those who have to make pretty photos of beef stew and wilted greens. I'm pretty sure I'm the most lucky food photographer in the world, in fact, because all I ever photograph are some of the most darling products on the planet: Muddy's cupcakes, cookies, and pies, and maybe sometimes a coffee drink or two. This post is the story of one of those photography sessions, and it's one you'll recognize if you've seen our Fall 2016 lookbook. (And if you haven't, pick one up on your next cupcake and/or coffee run, seriously. You won't regret it!)

We here at Muddy's count ourselves lucky to have Sullivan Branding as our lookbook production team. Associate creative director of Sullivan Michelle Simpkin has done the styling for all of our lookbooks, as well as the scouting (and sometimes creation of) most of our props.

So first things first. Before Michelle even shows up for the photoshoot, our magical baking gnomies fill our order for all the goodies needed in the shoot. Mmm, I don't know if I can wait until October to eat one of those Ghost Cookies!

Michelle arrives and sets up a prop table, which for this shoot included a football, a pompom, and these ADORBS pumpkins (painted by Michelle, naturally). Our Spring 2016 lookbook sits in the foreground for inspiration.

Michelle works with Kip, our VP of operations, to measure and mark the area for our "Seasons Eatings" so the image will fit perfectly onto the lookbook center spread. Yep, we're working right on the floor.

It takes a lot of time, a lot of hands, and a lot of trips up and down our crazy tall ladder, but Michelle eventually is ready to make the final adjustments to her perfectly styled shot.

Next Michelle styles our Back to School features page. White space is planned for a letter from Kat, an index, and product descriptions. And there's me up there on the ladder! I have to say, I was fine with the height at the time, but when I look at photos of myself up there, my palms get a wee bit damp.

We're almost done with the photoshoot! Products go back on the rack (or in our mouths) when we're done photographing them.

Next Michelle styles our cover while I look on with camera in hand. Getting the perspective just right with the cupcakes and the pumpkins is surprisingly challenging, and the slatted door eventually has to be replaced with another backdrop. To anyone out there thinking about using a slatted door as a backdrop: don't. Just learn from our mistakes, and don't.

So the photoshoot went a little long ... which resulted in a visit from my baby girl who was missing her mama. I think I may have shot the cover image with her in my lap, actually. Yes, I have the best job in the world.

And finally, here's there are always images that don't make it into the final lookbook, the "outtakes" if you will. Here's one of our GORGEOUS Candy Corn Cake that will be available to order in October ... so I will give you a moment to write that in your calendar. Here you can see what the backdrop of our cover looked like prior to some "healing" magic Michelle worked in Photoshop.

And here's the final cover image, because I know you're curious (if you don't have the Fall 2016 lookbook in front of you in real life, that is).

As for the other pages? You're going to have to pick up a lookbook yourself on your next trip to Muddy's. See you there this week!