Photographer Spotlight Renee Comet
Meet Renee Comet
Renee is a noted advertising photographer specializing in food photography. Whatever the subject, her visual treatment can best be described as uncomplicated, fluid, and elegant.
Her distinctive work has appeared in advertising, packaging, cookbooks and digital content. Some of her clients include: PopCorners, FoodNetwork, Glutino, Australian Lamb, Marriott International, USDA, Ritz-Carlton, US Postal Service and American Diabetes.
Renee is a food photographer that does not like to cook… but loves to eat! She enjoys watching confident hands cook. Her husband and their children are great at creating wonderful meals to share with family and friends!
Here is the million dollar question…why photography? What’s launched your passion?
Never underestimate the impact of a teacher. I was in college studying nursing and took a photography class on a whim. My professor was truly inspiring and I started shooting for more than just my photo assignments for class. My second “A-HAH!” moment happened while shooting a cookbook series for Time-Life Books. I just thought “I love this”! I was surrounded by talented chefs and food stylists, creative food writers, thorough researchers, knowledgeable photo editors and prop stylists, all working on one goal: a series of cookbooks with images of food and how to make it look and taste great. It really fit my personality and I like working collaboratively. I learned the value of a team, and, most important to me, that a team approach allows me concentrate on the photograph. It has formed my work style, to be with and work with competent, talented people who will free me to do what I do best.
Renee, your food images are simply delicious! What is the inspiration behind your work?
My job and my goal is to create an image you want to eat, in a place you want to be. More than just ‘pretty’, I have to evoke an emotion and tell a story. I make a little world on a table top. But not too ‘perfect’, and always with a sense of someone’s presence. The little details like drips of sauces, some moisture, and of course the right lighting make a photo have impact and come alive. I do believe that food is the fabric that connects us…I want everyone to sit down and enjoy eating.
Out of the wide variety of lenses on the market, what’s your favorite one to use?
My favorite camera is an Arca Swiss with a 150mm Rodenstock lens. I also like the Phase One Digital 120mm Macro for the Phase One medium format.
Lighting plays a major role in telling the story of your image. What are your favorite lighting techniques to tell your story?
Lighting sets the mood. Each assignment is unique, with a different set of goals, and a different subject. That is what dictates what light I use. There’s no one technique I use. What I do though is a lot of experimental and ‘pre-light’ before the shoot to make sure I have a clear idea of what I am trying to achieve. Even with the amazing strides in technology and equipment in the last 15 to 20 years, practice and experimentation and discovery are still critical parts of the process. There’s no getting away from doing the work and practicing your craft. I am also fortunate to live in a town with fabulous free museums. If I ever need inspiration, I can go look at 500 years of ‘masters of lighting’ at the great galleries in DC.
In which ways do you see your work evolving in the next 5 – 10 years from now?
My work will evolve as my clientele and as ‘fashion’ dictates. What I do know is that the medium used to be print, and is now electronic. And that technology changes in months, as opposed to years. The challenge is to understand the advantages and limits of that medium and adapt, learn and evolve. Some things will remain stable, I think, like for example, packaging. It’s likely to always be some type of print on some type of medium. But the historically paper-centric markets we serve like magazine, publications and the like are evolving to e-media, and that will drive my evolution.
If you could have given yourself any advice when you first launched your career in photography, what would it be?
Always try to work with people better than you. Find them and let them do what they do best to free yourself to do what you do best. Don’t be intimidated by the stylist who makes it look effortless, or the assistant who knows how to do in ‘3-clicks’ what you usually do in 8. This may sound a little counter to the entrepreneurial personality type but if you are ‘ego-less’ in the pursuit of the image, your product will be better, your client happier, and your calendar full!
Why Capture Integration? What made you select us as a partner?
The support, knowledge and patience CI provides me is invaluable. They are absolutely part of my team. They are smarter than me when it comes to the products they sell. Which is exactly what I want. It has been my personal experience that CI and especially Steve Hendrix and Brad Kaye are totally committed to my success with the technology they sell. Completely, unreservedly, and with follow through. We can talk through any challenge, possibility, idea, or problem, and CI will offer good sound advice. They seem always there to help if there is a problem. They saved the day with drop shipping a replacement digital back in 12 hours for a location shoot. With literally tens of thousands of dollars a day on the line, support and follow through like that helps build a photographer’s reputation as well.
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