Alistair Tutton: Russell Stover

May 15, 2018
Photographer Spotlight

Russell Stover is a household name known to every chocolate lover in the country. The Kansas City, Missouri-based confectioner has been in business for over a hundred years, and photographer Alistair Tutton, based just across the state line in Kansas, had bid on their projects in the past. When he and his team heard rumors that Russell Stover was looking to produce new imagery in anticipation of a new series of packaged products, Alistair jumped into action.

We immediately started researching what visuals their creative team were responding positively to and began shooting those images as part of a home blog.

Tea and Russell Stover chocolate by Alistair Tutton

The time spent on the test shoot certainly paid off– When Russell Stover released their Request for Proposal (RFP), it included some of Alistair’s images! Now confident that he was producing the type of image they were looking for, Alistair turned to Wonderful Machine for help in putting his best foot forward.

We had some time to respond to the RFP, and we used it to work with Craig on our pricing and wording on the estimate, and with Stacy to refine a mini portfolio that responded specifically to the RFP.

Alistair and his crew planned their meeting with Russell Stover down to the last detail.

We found out how many people were going to be in the meeting and made a series of posters of our images featured in the mood boards, and bound documents with the bid, a visual treatment based on the moodboards, a detailed estimate and a breakdown of the shoot schedule, crew with resumes and we even had a local baker cook up some treats featuring some of their product.

Russell Stover Assorted Fine Chocolates by Alistair Tutton

In the end, it was a unanimous decision, and before he knew it Alistair was working with Russell Stover to intricately plan the shot list, props, and backgrounds. The Creative Director had very detailed specifications, especially when it came to the surfaces for the shoot. Never one to disappoint, Alistair went above and beyond to ensure perfection.

We worked with a contractor to visit multiple stonemasons and we examined dozens of sheets of marble before we found the perfect one. Then we had a woodworker come to the studio and sand, stain and shellac a huge table surface to the Creative Director's requirements, so she could examine it as he applied each layer of finish.

Russell Stover Pecan Delights by Alistair Tutton

Once the props were sourced, the crew hired, and the set designed, it was time to break into action. Russell Stover was considering using the images in an upcoming trade show, which meant that they only had 24 hours from the last shoot day to submit all the final video and retouched stills. To accommodate the shortened timeline, Alistair used two retouchers, one in-house and other contracted.

As we finished each day’s take we’d transfer them in batches to the retoucher we wanted working on them and make sure we were staying ahead of the client’s timeline.

Despite working on a tight deadline, the crew still really enjoyed the shoot. Who wouldn’t, surrounded by chocolate?

One of my favorite shots was the pretzel chocolate bath - we had to jury-rig a bath of liquid chocolate and then lift the pretzels out of it - great fun!

Chocolate-covered salted pretzel minis by Alistair Tutton

As soon as the first close-up shot was taken, Russell Stover knew they wanted to feature the photos as soon as possible.

They immediately called their exhibit builder as they wanted to change out the exhibit artwork for their upcoming trade show. It was really cool to know that the images we were capturing would appear 30 feet wide just a week or two after the shoot.

The client loved the final results and appreciated Alistair’s attention to detail and ability to transform the brief into reality. In fact, he’s worked on several projects with Russell Stover since, cementing his own small place in candy history.


Client: Russell Stover

Creative Director: Beth Jaworski

Food Stylist: Sarah Hunt

Prop Stylist: Shelly Migliazzo

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