Week 4: Photo shoots, pages and covers. Oh my!

I think I’m really starting to get in to a great rhythm here. I also think that the art department is really starting to trust Morgan and I, so we’re starting to get even more serious assignments.

This week started where last week ended, and we were able to see the final photos of our Free Little Library shoot. Then, we were allowed to design the section opener page with our material. That page has been my favorite so far, because we’ve been able to see it through from the beginning to the end. I’m definitely proud of the way it’s turning out.

Once we had one section opener under our belt, they let us also work on the Your Kitchen section opener. We weren’t there for the photo shoot of this page, but we were still given all of the elements and were able to put it all together.

That is actually my favorite part of design ­– putting things all together. I love the way different elements, like photos, copy, art, and credits, can all cohesively come together like one puzzle. It’s so satisfying when it finally works out the way you want it to.

In addition to designing the section opener pages this week, we also tagged along for another studio photo shoot for the September issue.

This photo shoot was very different than our Little Free Library shoot. The page was a four-page spread about back-to-school, and was composed of many different elements. Since there were so many moving parts, as opposed to one stand-alone photo, the shoot took a lot longer and was multiple days long.

On the first day, we started in the kitchen, where the kitchen director and her staff worked on creating a picture-perfect school lunch. They laughed and joked because the meal took them hours to make – something most moms would not have time for before sending their kiddo off to school! However, it took so long because of all of the details. They had to document every thing they used, and monitor each amount. They made several different variations of food combinations, and worked with the art and editorial staff, plus the staff dietician, to determine the ideal combination. They also added visual interest by doing things like cutting pieces of the food up with cookie cutters (so check out the squirrel-shaped carrot in the September issue). All of those little elements took hours to finalize, and then the shoot began. Even then, the designer on site and food director was moving food around with tweezers and doing some final detail work to make sure the photos turned out the way they wanted. They even went as far as blowing bubbles in the milk glass for extra texture.

Part two of the back to school spread was shot in our upstairs studio. It featured different lunch boxes (that had been heavily tested by the institute), and each box was shot in a variety of poses.

Part three also took place in the studio, where we shot photos to accompany the story about getting kids to eat their school lunch. These shots included things like bananas with temporary tattoos on them and index cards with a word for each day’s lunch, that eventually spelled out “We are going to play mini golf!”

The last component of the page was a few stock images that we researched for. We generally use stock images when we’re looking for situational scenes or vectored images.

It was really enjoyable working so closely with the photo department this week, and also getting a chance to design some of my own pages. On another exciting note, the August edition was printed this week and was able to circulate around the office. Yay!