Food Photography: The Brat Shot

Circkles Food Photography

Think Like a Brat – Preplanning a food photography session.

What I like about food photography the most is that it’s always different and always a challenge to conquer. Every different type of food possesses its own unique characteristics, challenges and potential. Take my Montana food photographer session for a well-known brat brand. Now brats are not exactly an appealing-looking food to begin with. They are gray in color, not exactly a flattering color or shape, and they don’t have very many redeeming qualities. Of all the foods I have photographed in my 30 years, brats are probably the least flattering and appetizing to look at. A pretty big challenge right out of the package.

Another big hiccup was that my client wanted a lifestyle type of shot but didn’t want to spend the extra money to hire models to do it. So how in the heck do you show people enjoying a product without actually showing people enjoying the product?

This is where being born and raised in the Great White North actually worked to my advantage. Being a Montana Food Photographer didn’t hurt either. I really had to pool my personal resources to come up with a mouth-watering, gotta-have-it-now idea for the brat shot. My research for the preliminary set up of the brat photo session resulted in just following my gut instinct as to what most people like to do with a brat: they grill it. However, I didn’t want a cliche type of shot either of a brat just laying on a grill. Boring right?

Food photography brat shot outdoor food photography set
My outdoor set- not exactly high tech.

I also knew that the brats themselves would have to be cooked just right. Too much and they would be dry, too little and they wouldn’t be sweating juice like you see in the final images. I also didn’t want the traditional brat in a bun shot because the bun hides most of the brat itself, although, this was going to be my plan B. I knew I wanted the brats to have a grilled look, complete with grill marks and an open flame versus a gas grill. 

Once I narrowed in on that open-flame look for the session instead of a grill, it opened up exactly the look my gut instinct was telling me I wanted. It also gave more latitude to the final images in that it showed a brat could go anywhere to be enjoyed, it could go on a grill, but also an open campfire if you were camping and were looking for a quick, convenient food to take on a trip with you. This idea thrilled the heck out of my client, more than I expected. 

Overall, the brat shot was one of my most successful food photography sessions, and surprisingly so, since I shot it entirely outdoors and not in the comfort and control of my studio. The images had exactly the outdoorsy look and feel I was going for and resulted in a very happy client – who was ecstatic when they saw the final images. I was just happy the session didn’t invite any unwanted guests: like bears, which I don’t typically have to be concerned about walking through my indoor studio.

For more on Circkles Food Photography, click here. Montana food photographer.


Circkles Photography has over 30 years of experience as a photographer in the advertising, marketing and publishing industries

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