Stephen Devries: Table for Twenty

Jun 13, 2017
Photographer Spotlight

Birmingham-based photographer Stephen DeVries had shot for Coastal Living Magazine in the past. Covering everything from food to still life to travel, Stephen had a great working relationship with the magazine and their Photo Editor, Lindsey Stone. When he received a call from Lindsey about the possibility of shooting for the publication again, he was immediately excited and jumped at the opportunity.

Titled, Table for 20, the concept of the feature was to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Coastal Living Magazine.

We were trying to show a really fun, coastal inspired party including the place, the people, and of course, the food all in an effort to capture the lifestyle of CLV.

Stephen Devries, Birmingham, Alabama, Coastal Living, Coastal Living Magazine, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Photography, Photography, Photographer, Wonderful Machine

To prepare for the shoot, the staff from CLV worked closely with Stephen's crew and the freelance food stylists to make sure everything was in place. Then, Lindsey created the day-by-day schedules and provided Stephen with a shot list.

In addition to Lindsey's shot list, Stephen made preparations of his own. 

I planned out the type of lighting we’d need and booked a good assistant to travel with me and help with the time-contracts to maximize multiple ‘sets’ both inside and outside of our location house.

Stephen Devries, Birmingham, Alabama, Coastal Living, Coastal Living Magazine, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Photography, Photography, Photographer, Wonderful Machine

Once everything was in place, Stephen made the drive to the location on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and the shoot began.

Stephen was on a tight schedule; the shoot called for waking up early enough to catch the rising sun but staying late enough for the sunset. Once things got rolling, Stephen enjoyed a fun and laid back atmosphere on-set.

The talent was hanging out, eating, drinking and enjoying the fake party in a very real way. The crew was awesome and we had a blast!

Stephen Devries, Birmingham, Alabama, Coastal Living, Coastal Living Magazine, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Photography, Photography, Photographer, Wonderful Machine

All of this fun didn’t mean Stephen could relax. He shot inside and out of the featured home on a private beach. There was a lot of moving around to get the equipment in the right place at the right time, so he wouldn't miss the beautiful moments of sunlight.

Despite it being February, the sun was mercilessly hot and made lighting tricky.

Since the sun was so strong we constantly had to adjust lighting - I worked with a mix of natural and artificial light to keep the look that we wanted, especially when trying to shoot the food (most of which we shot inside to keep the food from dying out in the heat). That coupled with our tight time-frame and the ever-changing weather/light meant we had to be on our toes.

Stephen Devries, Birmingham, Alabama, Coastal Living, Coastal Living Magazine, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Photography, Photography, Photographer, Wonderful Machine

Stephen and his team had to constantly rearrange the furniture in the house in order to take advantage of the natural light and still maintain a sunny beach vibe even indoors.

This gave us a constant jigsaw puzzle of furniture we needed to climb on/under/over to get to the correct vantage points for each shot.

Stephen Devries, Birmingham, Alabama, Coastal Living, Coastal Living Magazine, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Photography, Photography, Photographer, Wonderful Machine

It was so hot that Stephen and his team needed to get creative to photograph several drinks at once.

For the picture of the floats, each of the drinks were photographed individually because of the ice cream being so time-sensitive to melt in the heat. We set them up one drink at at time and shot from left to right. We left the old ones in as they melted, then composited the entire image together in post to get the perfectly frozen and delicious final image in the magazine.

Stephen Devries, Birmingham, Alabama, Coastal Living, Coastal Living Magazine, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Photography, Photography, Photographer, Wonderful Machine

In the end, all of Stephen and his team’s hard work and sweat paid off. CLV loved the final images, and Stephen has received a ton of positive feedback from many people.

Since the Table for Twenty shoot, Stephen has continued to work for Coastal Living and is looking forward to many more years of their productive relationship.

It’s always a blast working with their team - we have a really fun relationship and they trust me with a lot of exciting projects, so stay tuned for more fun collaborations!

See more of Stephen’s at stephendevriesphoto.com

And peruse our other great members on our Find Photographers page. 

Tags: coastal living food photography stephen devries