Brooklyn-based Michael Marquand is an accomplished photographer across several specialties. He often applies his vivid use of color to travel, portrait, interior, and food photography. However, it’s his use of darkness that attracted Brooklyn Gin. Being a new and edgy independent brand, they were seeking something different than traditional imagery within their market. After searching through a handful of photographers, they were struck most by Michael’s work. His ability to maintain vibrant colors within a moody scene was just what they were looking for.
Brooklyn Gin was launching its line of canned cocktails. So, they were looking for images to use for their website, social media, 3rd party e-commerce, and online advertising. They wanted to maintain their look as this cool Brooklyn-based brand, but they also wanted a strong focus on the fact that they were using all-natural ingredients. This is why we used fresh ingredients as flavor cues for many of the shots.
Many examples within Micahel’s food and beverage portfolio accomplish exactly this. Ingredients sit decoratively next to a finished dish. He also selects surfaces that complement the colors of both the product and the fresh ingredients.
The scope of the project grew during the planning process. At first, the idea was to just do some very simple studio product shots. But when they sent me a mood board with the images they liked, many had a lot of food/ingredients, other props, different surfaces, etc. I worked with them to decide which elements were most important. From there it grew to something involving stylists, ingredients, props, surfaces, etc.
The finished image doesn’t just need to be beautiful, however, it must also be appetizing. Fortunately, Brooklyn Gin made this easy an easy task for Michael.
The product is actually really delicious. There are so many canned cocktails out now and so many of them taste really artificial and just not great. So it was nice to have a really high-quality product to work with.
We shot at a prop rental house with an in-house studio called Prophaus. They gave us a package deal where we could rent the studio and use unlimited props. This was great because it gave us a lot more creative freedom. So, anytime there was a surface or a prop that wasn’t working we could easily swap it out for something else.
Because the client’s vision evolved to an ambitious project involving multiple elements, time and execution were critical. Michael’s adaptability in accommodating his client’s evolving vision certainly paid off here. Yet because of this, they were both appreciative and excited, giving the set a positive energy.
We had to work at a fast pace to get all the shots we needed but I had a good team for that. I used Marilinda Hodgdon for food styling. I have known and worked with her for years and she’s always excellent. I used Katrina Rozeville for prop styling. Even though I had not worked with her at that point, her style was perfect for what the client needed.
There was one potential issue. Gin is typically served with something much more temperamental and time-sensitive — ice.
The client was very concerned about how the ice was going to look for certain shots and we couldn’t just use store-bought ice or ice from a freezer if we wanted it to look a certain way. Marilinda is an expert on ice among other things. So she set us up with a service that delivered “photo ice” on the day of the shoot which worked out perfectly.
The shoot went off without a hitch and the opportunity provided a great professional discovery.
I loved shooting in a space that has so many props available to swap out as you’re shooting. I will certainly look for opportunities to utilize prop houses in that way in the future.
See more of Michael’s work on his website.
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