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Worcester’s Best Chef Competition is one big event that gets a chef’s creative juices flowing freely and actively. The kinds of dishes – and the amazing creativity of the chef’s – get to really shine this night. But the best part is – we all get to come along for the ride… Yippee! We won’t go into all the details of every dish, we just want to share a few photos from the evening. If you want to learn more please check out WBC on facebook. We uploaded a ton of images from the event: The Crowd, The Paparazzi Photos, The Competition, the Judging, and of course the Winners.

Rovezzi's Homemade Pasta

Rovezzi's Homemade Pasta

Pepe's Stuff Calimari

Pepe's Stuff Calamari

Cere's Scallop

Cere's Scallop

Surf and Turf

Surf and Turf

When our friend Elaine told us about her latest room reinvention we just had to see it for ourselves. She’s the kind of woman that can walk into a room that maybe a little drab and little boring and make it into something stunningly beautiful. The best part of it is she looks at what you already have in your space and just reinvents your stuff to make it look like a million dollars. Let me share some of the spaces with you and you’ll see what I mean… these before shots she took and the after shots we took really do speak for themselves. By the way, what do you think about the after shots? Do you need great after shots?

 

Need a lift in your own spaces? Check out Elaine on her blog Domestic By Design or on Etsy.

After Elaine got to sprucing up this room and fireplace.

After Elaine got to sprucing up this room and fireplace.

Boring old Fireplace before Elaine got her hands on it...

Boring old Fireplace before Elaine got her hands on it...

After Shot with Elaine's Reinvention

After Shot with Elaine's Reinvention

Before Elaine took over the room

Before Elaine took over the room

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The Student Prince restaurant in Springfield MA, has been around for 75 years and it is still going strong. It’s a place rich with history, rich in decor, and they serve very rich foods… rich German food. If you are ever in the Springfield area, you should eat here and enjoy the good service, the yummy breads, and oh- don’t forget the beer.

The Standard Fair at the Student Prince

The Standard Fair at the Student Prince

Pot Pies fresh from the oven...

Pot Pies fresh from the oven...

Chef at the Student Prince

Chef at the Student Prince

Once again this year, we got the chance to photograph the extraordinary show of A Christmas Carol – my all time favorite holiday story. It was quite the elaborate production- flying Marley’s and all… If you have not seen this show, I highly recommend you make this a new holiday tradition. We went to the show on opening night with some good friends and the entire place was buzzing with holiday spirit!

Marley at the Hanover's Christmas Carol

Marley at the Hanover's Christmas Carol

Christmas Present

Christmas Present

Ghost of Christmas Future

Ghost of Christmas Future

I got an email from a friend of ours who is an amazing designer. In his email he asked us if the photography in these “Foodies News” email newsletters is work we have done for this client of ours. (By the way, These newsletters are fun and informative – every time I read one, I learn something new about food- so if you are a foodie these newsletters are a perfect fit for you!)

So our friend wanted to know if the photography that was being used in the newsletters was ours? It is! and so I shared that info with him and he wrote back saying he just loved it. There is nothing like having custom photography work to make things look personal and beautiful. But we know it takes a great designer to make the photos we take look amazing and relevant in the marketing. We think this is a perfect example of that…

This post is from the Worcester Magazine Issue of Krave from 9.28.11

Behind the lens of Erb Photography

Scott Erb and Donna Dufault are not restaurant owners. They don’t work in a local kitchen, create stunning menus or put on chef’s whites – yet they have been instrumental in bringing the Worcester dining scene into the public limelight. They are Erb Photography, whose imagery has showcased the work of area restaurants through billboards, marketing, advertising, menus and more throughout the city. Those delectable and drool-inducing photos are products of a craft that takes years of experience, talent and drive to produce. We took some time in between shutter clicks with the photographic king and queen of Worcester to discover a little about their recent food niche and who the folks are behind the lens.

When did you come to Worcester – and why? Donna: We came to Worcester 13 years ago. We moved here from Rochester, N.Y. I grew up in Charlton, but went away to college in Rochester and stayed there a few years after college to work. That’s when and where I meet Scott. I came back to the area and specifically to Worcester 13 years ago. I came back here to be near family, but I wanted to be in a city. Scott came along for the ride.

When did you start your own business as Erb Photography? Donna: In 1998. Scott started it then, but he was mostly assisting other photographers and doing fine-art photography. That was the best way to learn the business. We highly recommend assisting if you want to get into photography. Learning from established photographers was invaluable and you get to learn all the things they don’t teach you in college.

How did your interest in food photography grow? Donna: Food photography was an accident. We were eating at our favorite sushi place and realized the marketing of that restaurant just did not reflect the high quality of the food we were being served. In fact, the food was outstanding and the marketing was awful, amateurish, and the photos were just snap shots. We talked the owner into letting us shoot three dishes for him, just to show him the difference professional photography can make. When we showed up to do the shoot, he gave us the smallest space down in the basement to do the shots. It almost wasn’t possible, but somehow we managed, through holding lights and a contortionist balancing act. We pulled it off. Out of curiosity, the chefs came down to see what we were doing and they all started smiling and laughing. They were surprised at what we had managed to pull off. They are the ones who got the owner down there to see the images. He was impressed and hired us to come back to do more. Needless to say he gave us the whole restaurant to work in the next time we came back to shoot. He was really, really happy with what we did, and he’s hired us several times over the years to come back and shoot new things for him. About a week after those first shots, an ad agency in Norwood called us asking to see any food work we had done. We showed them the sushi images and they hired us on the spot. The rest fell into place after that. We realized just how much we loved working with these talented chefs. They felt about their food like we felt about our photography. Passionate.

What are the challenges of photographing food? Donna: Time is the big challenge; we don’t “doctor” the food in any inedible ways. So it’s only unsullied for a short span of time. We need to work fast to make sure we get it while it is fresh and beautiful. Also, there are some food items that aren’t very photogenic or very colorful, such as some soups. It’s our job to find a way to style it in such a way that doesn’t change the integrity of the chef’s presentation, but looks good for the camera too.

Tell us about your Worcester centric work. Donna: We LOVE the Worcester dining scene! We’ve had some of our favorite shoots here locally. Clients like Michael Covino at the Niche Group really “get” what we are doing and he lets us “do our thing” creatively. One of our all-time favorite shoots was done at The Peoples Kitchen. They gave us all access to the chefs in the kitchen there for four full hours. What came out of that is the very personal art imagery that adorns the walls at The Peoples Kitchen restaurant, and it’s some of our favorite work of all time. There are really amazing chefs in Worcester, with so much talent. They are gems in this city. The fact that we get to spend time documenting and crafting images for them is such a pleasure.

What is your most visible piece of work that Worcesterites might recognize? Donna: We have had some of our images on billboards along Rt. 290, so my guess is that many folks have seen those. But if you visit any local restaurant from the Beechwood Hotel to the Broadway Diner you’ll see images we’ve made over the years.

Tell us how important it is for restaurants/caterers/food related businesses to have good, quality photos in their marketing? Scott: We know that having great photos is an enormous way to do justice to the chefs, owners, and staff (anyone who puts their heart into a business), who should understand that it’s an investment and an asset to have beautiful images to be able to show off what they have created. And the goal should be to do it in the best possible way. Professional photographers can really make the difference when it comes to lighting, composition and positioning a business’ best features.
Donna: Look, food photography is hard. We have this goal to create images that capture a passionate chef’s creations. We have to know how to make that look delicious. We need to make someone look at that image and want to go to the restaurant and order that food for themselves. We have to do that chef’s work justice. Anything less than that goal – anything else – is not worthy. And it takes time, knowledge and experience to be able to make images that get someone’s mouth watering. Let’s be truthful here, a snap shot from a cell phone is not going to make that happen…

How do the both of you work together when on assignment? Donna: We consider ourselves a team. It’s one thing that sets us apart of other photographers out there. When folks hire us they get the benefits and expertise of two trained photographers instead of one. Scott is really the technical expert- -the gear and lighting expert–as well as having Photoshop skills.
Scott: Donna is all about the details. She makes sure we have everything we need to make a shoot run smoothly. She is the manager of production. Together we do the creative work. We discuss angles, light, composition, color, contrast…etc. There have been occasions when we each have an assignment and go off on our own, but it is rare. We love working together on projects and feel we rely on one another to make great images happen.

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We love working with the Folks over at LHQ Dance Force. They are very high energy dance teachers and spend a great deal of time building their students self esteem as well as challenging them to do the best they can. This year we photographed all the teachers from both locations. We did do several standard head shots and they all look friendly and approachable. But we envisioned something a little more dynamic. So we went to task asking the teachers to show off some of their best dance moves for the camera. With a little flare and a lot of personality we came out with this final shot.

 

LHQ Teachers Group Final

LHQ Teachers Group Final

We have seen a real up swing in folks requesting to be photographed in their work spaces. I personally like these kinds of environmental portraits and think that where people work tells a lot about them. In this case it was a working lab. Lots of work was getting done all around us and we were happy to move out of the way of the folks working. We didn’t have a lot of time to photograph or set up a lot of lighting. There really was not much room in there. But I can tell you that this scientist felt right at home in this space, and I think that comes through in the image. Getting folks comfortable is half the battle when doing portraits and the fact he liked where he was made my job a lot more productive. And he was happy with the results… Success!

Portrait in Lab

Portrait in Lab

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Sweet!

Yes, I said it- it’s fun!

SWEET!

That’s the name of the dessert shoppe we spent a little bit of time photographing cakes at, they are on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester. And man o man-  Talk about a busy place! There were a lot of folks involved with making these extraordinary cakes. And there are lots of folks ordering fun treats as well. They make really really wonderful cup cakes and other treats. So after a show, spend a little time at Sweet and have yourself a yummy dessert!

Sweets cakes

Sweets cakes

Morbid Enterprises has fun new products for their 2011 line up. We got to photograph a bunch of them recently and if you are looking forward to Halloween – you may enjoy adding one of these to your parties… It was a really cool challenge to photograph these labels that glow in the dark.

Glowing Kiss of Death Label

Glowing Kiss of Death Label

Kiss of death Wine Bottle Label

Kiss of death Wine Bottle Label

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