Notcutts: The Simply C recipe for food photography success

When garden centre brand Notcutts asked me to capture the look – and taste – of their restaurant’s seasonal menu, I was more than happy to oblige. With the snow turning to slush outside, and overcast skies forecast for the foreseeable future, I knew it would be an exciting challenge to achieve the summertime ‘feel’ they needed for some of these images. Read on to see how I turned a dreary winter afternoon into a perfect summer’s day.

The client: A local garden centre with a national presence

Notcutts’ origins may be here in Suffolk, but business has bloomed over the years for this family-owned Garden Centre chain. Their seeds have spread far and wide, with nineteen centres now established all over the UK.

They very much believe in high quality consistency for a brilliant customer experience: No matter which centre you visit, be it Norwich or Worksop, Maidstone or Ashton Park, you can always expect to be welcomed by the same enticing, quality menu homemade where possible using great ingredients

The challenge: Bringing their summer dining menu to life… in winter

Notcutts required tantalising and mouth-watering imagery that would capture how delicious and tempting their restaurant’s food and drink was. These images would then be used on social, email and brochure marketing, alongside in-shop hoardings, to attract hungry and thirsty visitors.

Of course, some of these would be done out of season, meaning I would need to reach into my bag of tricks to ensure everything could look natural and summary. Which, as it happens, is exactly the kind of challenge I love.

The Simply C solution

Anyone who knows me or my work will be aware that I Simply love natural light. Sunlight has the power to elevate and transform photography… if you know how to use it effectively, of course. Though natural light was in short supply, I knew I could still make this project work.

How? I Simply scheduled the shoot around the sun’s timetable. This gave us a small window to achieve the best shots, so I worked closely with the Notcutts team to make sure everything would be ready. The kitchen team were brilliant, and as agreed, they brought out a steady stream of dishes and drinks. With everyone on the same page, this process worked like clockwork. Before I knew it, the shots were in the bag.

I think the ability to build relationships with clients is one of the most important skills you can bring to a job like this. When the process is collaborative, there’s less chance of delays and confusion. And that ultimately means the photoshoot can be completed on time, meaning less expense for the client.

The result

Check out the images, and see for yourself. This is an early taste of what promises to be a fabulous seasonal menu at Notcutts. And no one but us will ever know that some of these pictures were taken during a cold and dingy winter’s day.

Even better for Notcutts, each image will be pulling multiple duties, elevating their socials, email marketing and glossy brochures. Oh, and appearing blown up, on-site, at locations all over the country.

Hungry for success? Getting next season’s food or product photography updated right now will put a spring in your marketing step like nothing else. Drop me a line, and let’s discuss how I can help you.

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