Executive Editor of Santa Barbara Magazine, Gina Tolleson approached Lisa Corson and Ojai-based chef Ariane Aumont of Le Picnic about cooking up a New Years Eve dinner to run as a feature story in their Taste section. Gina initially found the duo on Instagram through their collaborative Kakigorio shoot and immediately knew they would be the perfect team for her New Years Eve Shoot.
The magazine wanted to highlight Ariane and her Japanese-influenced menu while maintaining an authentic SoCal feel to the dinner. Originally for talent, they planned to use a few chic couples to pose as the dinner guests. However, when they switched from an intimate bar location to the wonderful and expansive Black Walnut Ranch their dinner party synonymously grew with the venue. Lisa found that Black Walnut Ranch, as beautiful and scenic as it was, allowed her the opportunity to go beyond the original scope of the project to feature the property as well.
From there Lisa worked out a shot list, factoring in the rough page count. Since the story also focused on Ariane, in addition to the dinner itself, Lisa made sure to include portraits of her, food beauty shots, naturalistic lifestyle shots of the guests, and scene-setting images of the ranch. Ariane handled all of the food styling and props. Together the duo worked out ways to flesh out the setup within their budget.
While the team made sure to keep the editors involved throughout the planning process the two were given free reigns to create the story as they envisioned it.
I pictured this as a narrative, taking the reader through the evening from the dinner setup to the stroke of midnight when guests gathered outside with sparklers to ring in the new year.
I loved the scope of this project. It brought together all of the genres I like to shoot – landscapes, food, portraits, lifestyle, interiors. Ariane’s food presentation is beautiful and unique, so that was fun to work with. And having a large, wonderfully stylish group of people to direct brought so much life to the shots.
The team at Santa Barbara Magazine loved the photos. The opening spread was shared as a teaser on Instagram and received many great responses. Lisa sent out an additional email campaign featuring the photographs, which was also well received. Keep your eyes open to see what this duo cooks up next.
See more of Lisa at lisacorsonphotography.com