“I’m not a food stylist by trade,” our creative director Paul Germain confesses in a brief chat we had recently. We wanted to learn more about the person and process behind the mouthwatering shots he captures for all our flavors, and especially the ones he snapped for our latest limited-time release, Key Lime Pie. Our head of content, Katherine, sat down with him to capture his thoughts.
Katherine: Paul, or Paulito as we like to affectionately call you: Tell me about this recent shoot for KLP.
Paul(ito): Well, I’ve been a content producer for a long time, but this is all new. I studied art and sculpture and love making things with my hands, but I’m not a food stylist by trade. I always loved watching those shows where they reveal how fast food restaurants get the perfect shots of french fries–you know, with each fry skewered with a toothpick and then poked into hidden styrofoam inside the fry sleeve? I was drawn to that in the same way that I loved to watch behind the scenes videos on film and television. There's a magic to creating something that looks like one thing on screen, but is actually the result of an unexpected process.
Katherine: So you were experienced with filmmaking just not making food look delicious on film.
Paul: Yeah, and with each food there are unique challenges. Like Key Lime Pie: it’s not really green in real life. But if I asked the bakery to just make it like they would for a customer to eat, it might turn out too yellow. Also, the crust was something to consider because depending where you live in the country you might think KLP crust should be a traditional flour crust, or you might feel very strongly that it should be graham cracker or cookie crust. Finally there’s the whip and getting whip cream to stay fluffy for hours at a time means it can’t be just regular whip cream.
Katherine: Well what is the whip then?
Paul: Barbasol shaving cream, powdered sugar, and heavy whipping cream whipped with a mixer. And then I use a star tip to pipe it onto the pie.
Paul: Yeah, but just like the french fry shoot I mentioned above, it’s all about the visuals.
Katherine: And not a lick about the taste (buh dum bum).
Paul (smiles graciously): And that’s where the creative process comes in. Because what is the formula for making something look delicious? It’s hard to define verbally, but you know it when you see it. No one taught me, but with KLP and other shoots, I’m learning that it’s all about the little flourishes and finishing touches. My friend Kyle Hartman, the gifted photographer behind our food images says that with this stuff it’s a “game of millimeters,” meaning that you move the slice of pie this way, then that, then a little to the left, until boom, you’ve achieved a shot that makes you want to reach out and grab the pie and eat it. Overall I've learned to trust the process, be as prepared as possible, and most importantly to enjoy the work and not be afraid to experiment here and there. A lot of our shots are the result of following a momentary inspiration and trying something new on the spot.
Katherine: Yeah, you definitely achieved that. How long does it take to capture that perfect shot?
Paul: So much prep goes into each shoot sourcing materials, getting all kinds of options for cutlery, etcetera. So by the time I weigh down my little Prius with film equipment and pies (or whatever) and drive to the shoot location, it’s been days of work. Getting each shot takes on average an hour or two. You have to keep going ‘til you get it right.
Katherine: Wow. You sure did it, Paulito. These pics look just like our Key Lime Pie tastes–light, sweet, and tangy. You’re definitely a bonafide food stylist because I look at your pics and get all keyed up for this flavor.
Paul (rolls his eyes): Thanks, silly.
A Game Of Millimeters
At Oats Overnight, we think a lot of life is a game of millimeters. Gradual improvements over time produce real, sustainable (and in this case, beautiful) results. We’d love to help you feed your goals as you millimete (is that a thing?) towards your goals.
If you need to restock your supply, check out some of our new flavors.
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