There is a lot that goes into making a magazine, but when you have a great talent like Paula, that process becomes a lot more fun! I recently traveled to Savannah with our magazine team to do some photo shoots with Paula for our latest special edition issue, “Paula Deen’s Easy Southern Favorites.” This publication features some of Paula’s favorite recipes and modern updates to Southern classics.
We decided to have the photo shoot at Paula’s house, so we built a set right in the middle of her living room for a fresh, new look. Of course, this made her two dogs, Lulu and Gus, wonder what was happening. Gus, a fluffy Goldendoodle who thinks he’s a lap dog, was especially curious—he kept trying to jump in every photo! The pups love to be near Paula, so they were standing right behind her for most of the shots we did.
Gus trying to get his turn in the lime light!
The first recipe we shot was a cheesy pasta bake, since you can’t have a collection of easy Southern dishes without casseroles! With food photography, whenever someone shoots a cheesy dish, they are always trying to get that perfect “cheese pull”—that is, when you scoop out a serving and a string of melted cheese comes along with it. It’s not as easy as you think it would be! Often the cheese breaks before you can get a good shot. But for this dish, we got the perfect pull and more! Paula scooped out a steaming serving of the casserole to transfer it to a plate, but she just kept pulling, and the cheese just kept stretching. It stretched as high as her arms could reach and still didn’t break. The look of surprise on Paula’s face was classic.
Here’s the cheese that could probably stretch for a mile. It tasted so good!
After the casserole, we photographed Paula serving a steaming bowl of barbecue shrimp, preparing potato salad, and posing with the most perfect pound cake you’ll ever see (and taste—we couldn’t resist stealing bites from an extra piece).
Look at all those juicy shrimp!
A lot of work goes into each photograph you see in the magazine. We have to set up and style each shot so it’s different but also has a similar look to the overall theme. For this week of shooting, we hauled 7 large plastic tubs full of props from our magazine office! Our photo stylist chooses the plates, linens, utensils, glasses, and other props such as salt shakers, cutting boards, flowers, etc. and sets them up for the shot. After the food is prepared, it’s brought to set, and a food stylist arranges the dish perfectly.
Such a pretty poolside picnic.
Once everything is in place, the photographer shoots the food from every angle and has Paula do all sorts of different things like serving the food, slicing a piece of cake, and chopping ingredients. The goal is to get action but let it seem natural. Lucky for us, Paula is a pro at it! She knows exactly what to do with each dish, normally without the photographer having to tell her. She loves to joke around on set and make it a fun and playful time, which always turns out beautifully in the photos. See the results for yourself, and get all the scrumptious recipes when the publication hits newsstands March 18, or order your subscription today!