Cookbooks are funny things. While there are similarities between them, each one is its own beast. Often, I'm contacted about providing photos as the team is being assembled, then I wait — sometimes for months — as recipes are developed and edited and the creative team decides on the best presentation. Then I shoot, turn over edited images, and wait again for months for the publication date.
But that isn't always the case. Last summer — in the middle of vacations and the general summer slowdown — I was contacted by Misty Copeland's literary agent about providing the food photography for her new book, Ballerina Body. The catch was, it needed to be done almost immediately. The compressed timeline meant I wouldn't be able to cook and style the plated dishes myself, as I usually do for cookbooks, so I enlisted the help of local food stylist Darcie Hunter. She sprang into action as only she can and we handed over the photos in record time, even squeezing in a location shoot with Misty herself as she demonstrated some cooking techniques and posed with assembled creations. This is my first celebrity "cookbook" (in quotes because it's really so much more than a cookbook), and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Misty is a very busy woman, after all, and our shoot was planned for just a week after she was married, but we met a gracious, kind and generous person and had a lot of fun over the few hours we spent with her.
A cookbook shoot like this is where working in my own home is a great benefit. Not only do I have enough space for a tabletop shoot and my own studio equipment, I also have an entire room dedicated to props, so if a dish or linen or any number of other props doesn't quite work as visualized, I can always run downstairs for another! While I'm in northern New Jersey, the town is easily within commuting distance of NYC, though working closely with the creative team via email or even an online hangout usually does the trick.
"But the recipes! Tell me about the recipes!" Well, they're nutritious, of course, but what does that matter if the taste isn't up to par? So I'm happy to say that, without exception, they're delicious. Everything we made is something I'd return to over and over again. Many of them are easily prepared as well, making them great options for weeknights.
Darcie and I are planning to attend Misty's book signing at Books & Greetings in Northvale, NJ this Wednesday evening (April 12). If you're around, you should come, too!
But if you can't, I've decided to have a contest to win one copy of Ballerina Body from my very own stash. Simply provide your information below and you're entered. You'll get additional entries for following Darcie and me on our social media channels; by entering this contest, you agree to receive the Amy Roth Photo newsletter. Come back here in two weeks to find out if you've won!
Note: Links to Ballerina Body are Amazon affiliate links, which means I receive a small referral fee if you choose to purchase via that link. There's no additional cost to you.