A picture tells a thousand words, as the saying goes.
Mark Merryweather, Certified Angus Beef ® brand multimedia designer and food photographer takes this adage to heart with each snap of the shutter. Today, his virtual beef library is host to more than 600 beef images. The library contains photos of raw cuts, plated steaks, juicy burgers, melt-in-your-mouth roasts, value-added products and more. “Each shot tells a story,” Merryweather says. “In every photo the props, food and other elements work together to convey the story we are trying to tell.”
Food photography is an integral piece to many of the marketing materials the brand provides for partners, whether they are used in promotional pieces, advertisements, on websites or on menus.
Nearly seven years ago, Merryweather began taking many of the food photos for marketing pieces in-house, rather than using an outside professional photography company to capture all of the needed images. It’s now a team effort that includes Merryweather, corporate chef Michael Ollier and chef Donna Hann, and many other talents across the company. They help plan each shoot, gather props and ingredients, and assist with food styling.
To help the photography team “set the stage” for each picture, an exciting partnership and antique rental agreement recently formed with a local antiques store. The collaboration opens a new opportunity to create eccentric photos that licensed retailers, restaurants and distributors can use to promote the brand. Props like dishware, tables and place settings will be rented for the food photography.
“Antiques already have a story,” Merryweather points out. “There is a story within them that adds to the character of a photo.”
Capturing one great beef photograph typically requires between three and four hours, plus prep-time prior to the shoot. Ultimately, this investment of time pays off for the brand and its partners. The images are used in online real estate and numerous marketing pieces around the world.