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Laurie Proffitt is a food photographer, located in Chicago, IL. With a simple and elegant style, Laurie uses her expertise to work with high-profile magazines, advertising agencies, restaurants & cookbook producers. This is her story:
Food photography has come a long way since I came up the ranks as an assistant in Chicago. The food was styled laboriously perfect, and the props covered nearly every inch of the background. I enjoy how the look has entirely loosened up since then. Now, it is appetizing to slightly burn cheese, splash sauce, and show a half eaten plate of food. I also love that a distressed baking sheet makes fabulous background, and national ad campaigns will show their product in to-go containers.
It’s my job to find that visually appetizing element. At times, it is very editorial and messy; other clients manage the look of their brand with more restraint. As a food photographer, I need to approach advertising, editorial and packaging with different styles and different teams. Luckily for me, the pool of talented food stylists in Chicago runs deep. With that said, it’s my responsibility to pair the needs of my client with the best stylist and crew for each project. Collaboration between the art directors and my creative team is the key to success at my studio.
Aside from the food being styled well, lighting is instrumental to enhancing the appetite appeal of food. My new studio workspace incorporates an 11×14 ft. opaque glass window. The light from that window is just stunning. I often like to accent the daylight with small grid spots to boost color saturation. The grid spots also create specular-highlights that add to the visual impression that the food is moist, hot, and juicy. Mixed lighting, in conjunction with selective focus, are my favorite tools.
Another competitive piece of the puzzle is to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for the clients. The agency team and their clients are very busy people, and their work doesn’t stop just because they’re attending a photo shoot. Capture Pilot is an incredible tool to keep the clients in the loop while they work. So adjacent to the client table, I have a 50 inch TV, where the progress of our work is on view. Every one of my clients loves this!
See more of Laurie’s food photography on her new liveBooks8 site at: proffittphoto.com.
Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?
LP: Fresh, Crisp, Impactful
Q: How often do you typically update your website?
LP: I typically will update my homepage every few months. Ideally, I like to add finished ads or packaging examples to my “Print & Packaging” page promptly after they are released. A complete refresh of my website images occurs 1-2 times a year
Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?
LP: I feel it is essential to show diversity of work on my homepage. Additionally, I want to feature current work here, so returning visitors to my website immediately take notice. Another objective of mine, as a food photographer, is to showcase a range of food products. My hope is that each visitor to my homepage sees an image that speaks to their needs, so they’ll want to look deeper into my website.
With that said, I like to work from a master folder that ‘lives’ on my desktop. I actively add my favorite new images to this folder as they are created. Then, when it comes time to update, my new candidates are easily accessed. From there, my aim is to create a visually interesting sequence of images based upon the rhythm of lighter and darker images and related color themes. Once I am pleased with the presentation, I’ll ask my agent and a few other trusted colleagues to weigh in on my choices. Inevitably, adjustments will be made.
Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?
LP: I love the Mosaic Gallery layout. I knew immediately that it would give me a dramatically updated look from my previous website with liveBooks.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?
LP: It’s well worth your time to read articles on the subject of SEO. Research the best keywords for your speciality of photography. Be sure to populate all of the SEO info boxes that liveBooks provides. Enter descriptions for every image, submit your sitemaps, update your content regularly and get quality links back to your site….search engines love these things.
I’ve had great results by following liveBooks instructions for SEO. It is all about getting more traffic to your website while generating new business.
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