• Photographing a Restaurant Before it's Built

    I often get called to photograph restaurants that are within weeks of opening or already open and need imagery for their website and other uses.  At that point the restaurants are pretty much ready to go and we're able to use their tables, kitchen, etc. for the shoot.  But, what about when the restaurant is still under construction and isn't opening for 4-5 months, but needs content to create buzz?  Such was the case with the new Fairmont Hotel opening in Austin at the end of this year.  Fairmont wanted to create imagery for 4 of the hotel's 5 restaurant concepts.  

    How do you create imagery for 4 restaurant concepts that don't even exist yet?  To start off I wanted to get a sense for the feel of each concept and got help from the branding decks supplied by Biography Design.  I also called on Houston-based prop stylist Amanda Medsger to help tie-in surfaces with plateware provided by Fairmont.  We then created a visual guide with mood board imagery and references to the options of surfaces we could use for each shot.  Some concepts were more minimalist and lighter in tone whereas others were darker and more rustic.  Amanda was able to provide a number of surface options on set to go with each shot.  

    We also spent a good amount of time finding the right space to shoot in.  The question was whether to shoot in a studio where we would start from scratch and make it look like a kitchen or rent a house. We wanted the chefs to look like they were working in a real, yet tasteful restaurant kitchen. We ended up going with the house option and found something large and open enough with simple, yet sophisticated counters and stove.  I'm really happy with how it turned out and excited to see how the restaurants look once they open!