General Mills Eat and Greet Recap – Photography Studios

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on September 2, 2009


So here is where I was in HIGH HEAVEN!  I just walked through this place in AWE! 

Being the aspiring food photographer that I have become, I just couldn’t get enough of this part of our time at General Mills.


So here is 1 row of their prop room.  Every color, size and shape of plate, bowl, placemat, silverware, pitcher and kitchen utensil can be found in this room.  I wanted to take it, shrink it, and squeeze it into my storage room closets!!!  Wouldn’t it be lovely to have this at my disposal when it comes time to take the dinner picture each night! (Can you sense the coveting???)


So after the prop room came the prep kitchen and photograph equipment. I’ll let the picture speak for itself.


See those cool white fill cards…I now have a few!  I’ve been experimenting with them and having fun changing the lighting and shadows of my food picts.


So when they shoot the food pictures for their cookbooks, supermarket recipe booklets (like the one you see on the screen), the food stylists will pull off the “props” from the prop room that the photographers will use for that specific shot.  So for this pot pie recipe book, they pulled off 2 shelves worth of props to have available for this shot.  I find that simply astounding!


And last, we heard from a food stylist.  She showed us some of the tools that she uses to make the food look perfect.  And then she showed us how to cut the perfect brownie…2 inches x 2 inches! 

1. Line you pan with foil, so that the entire brownie “block” will be strong and not crumble apart.

2. Measure with a ruler and mark with toothpicks.


3. Cut along the toothpick line and then move the whole brownie block to the edge of the counter and let it fall so the cut portion will come apart easily.  Make the same 2 inch measurement and mark with toothpicks to cut the other side.


4. Photograph a perfectly 2 inch x 2 inch square brownie.

Then how to cut the perfect pie slice.

1. Use skewers over the COLD pie (pretend there is an apple pie there!) and make the 8 slices.  Mark the corners with toothpicks and then cut from toothpick to toothpick.  Why a COLD pie?  A warm pie will run all over.  For the purposes of photographing the pie, it’s better for it to be cold so the juices don’t make a mess!  Of course, the pie can be reheated and served with ice cream and no one will ever know…except you!


I simply found the photography studios to be quite amazing! 

I also wanted to share a few food photography tips that they shared with us:

1. Place the food so that natural window light is behind or to the side of the good to give the food beautiful and dimensional light.

2. Don’t allow direct sunlight to shine on your food when photographing it.  Use a sheer curtain  to diffuse the light.

3. Use the white fill card on the opposite of the natural light to help fill in the shadowy areas on the food.

4. Use a variety of camera angles when shooting food pictures.  Typically a “3/4 view” is the most pleasing for food, but above shots and low camera angle can add cool artistic dimensions.

5. Experiment and have fun!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie September 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Wow! That sounds like so much fun, Erin! I’ve always wanted to invest in a better camera and really get into it. My current camera just doesn’t cut it.


Meredith from Merchant Ships September 2, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Amazing! Thanks for sharing the insider tricks with us.


Emily September 2, 2009 at 4:42 pm

That would be awesome! So jealous


Monica September 2, 2009 at 4:56 pm

What a fun class!!! Thanks for sharing what your learned:) I really enjoyed it. -Monica


Linda September 2, 2009 at 8:23 pm

What fun!
So I guess the next question is, how does one become a food stylist??


Erin September 3, 2009 at 8:47 am

I have NO idea Linda! Never say that as a “major” when I was in school!


Angela Litzinger September 7, 2009 at 1:32 pm

How fun! Too bad I didn’t realize you were close by to where I live. I would have bought you a coffee or tea! Sounds like a great time! Thanks for sharing the tips with us.


Jerilyn September 8, 2009 at 6:39 pm

I’m going to be real honest, my perfect brownie is a lot bigger than 2×2, LOL. :)


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