A Creative Collaboration

By APA National President Theresa Raffetto

Back in August a client asked if I’d be interested in shooting an ambitious project for a new blog. He warned that the timeline was tight, and the budget was restricted, but wanted to ask because he enjoyed our working relationship. It felt like there was potential and I decided to go for it.

My first challenge was finding a great food stylist who would work within our budget. It wasn’t easy, most of the stylists I knew and wanted to work with were booked or out of town, so I put it out to a few new food stylists who had been working on their own for a year or more. They were very firm about their fee and wouldn’t budge, a very good rule to stick to most of the time.

My next step was to put out an open call to food stylists on Facebook. What a handy tool! The inquiry was passed along and I ended up with someone amazingly talented, with great energy.

The shoot, which had its usual stresses ended up being the most creative job I’ve ever had, each day more inventive than the last. It spoke to what I love most about our industry — creative collaboration.

The blog launch was held up and months passed, leaving us anxious to show our creations. In January my client called to tell me of his next idea… a gallery show with select prints to launch the blog. I was hesitant, but he was able to bring on a national sponsor and turn the gallery show into a 4 day workshop event. The event exceeded all of our expectations, crowded, with lines out the door each day.

It is so important that we as photographers know our own value and stand up for that value. However there are also times when something comes along that might not look promising at face value, but will benefit you in different ways. It’s important that you know and understand the difference, and are open to possibilities.

Both the gallery show and the workshops garnered rave reviews in the media and blogosphere. I have an abundance of fresh images and marketing materials, and potential clients who didn’t know my name now do.

After the crumbs have settled there is talk of taking the event on the road. Again exceeding our expectations.

Theresa Raffetto                                                                                          President, APA National


1 comment to A Creative Collaboration

  • Hi Theresa,

    Loved your post. I, too, try to keep my eyes open and because of it had the opportunity to style a cookbook that has won an award from the Book Expo of America, and now is up for the very prestigious Food Photography and Styling award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Sometimes taking those calculated risks are really worthwhile. That risk gave my business a huge edge.

    I’d like to know more about how you did the open call to food stylists on Facebook. I’m not aware of this tool. I’m a food stylist on FB and I didn’t receive it. Sure hope I do in the future! This also might be a tool I could use in my marketing efforts.


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