Behind the Scenes
Sunday, April 6, 2008
I get emails and comments all the time asking how I do the photographs for Candy Blog. So I thought I’d show you my home studio (yes, I cleaned up for the photo).
I store most of these underneath the table, which means that they’re always readily available.
The Tac ‘n Stick is indispensable stuff. I used to have a bunch of yellow stuff (I don’t know what brand) but switched when I found the white/gray stuff at the drug store a few months ago, since it blends in better with the background.
It’s completely moldable. I pull out little bits for propping up chocolate eggs or roll out a teensy string to put behind spherical candies like malted milk balls. I have a large wad of it on an old votive candle on both the base to keep it from slipping and on the face of it to stick the back of packages to, this gets them to sit up straight.
It’s probably the best $2 you can invest in your tools.
I also have a bunch of props and prop-em-ups sitting around. I have little glass vases, a selection of brandy snifters, wine glasses and ramekins. They don’t make it into the shots very often, but sometimes I like to play.
I usually keep a few small dishes ready too. As I’m photographing, as you may have observed, I take a bite out of a lot of things. I usually just set the rest aside on a plate or put it back in the package to finish later. But there’s usually a dish of leftover items for my reviews that I munch on later that day or the next.
Stay tuned for a tutorial on getting that white background look in photos.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Each day a the All Candy Expo I balanced my sense of discretion with each candy booth’s generosity.
I think the candy companies won.
Each attendee was given a small bag to put their samples in on the floor. The same bag was used each day and it was about the size of a shoe box for some nice women’s dress shoes. Basically, not too big.
Many booths had “eat it here” samples, little cups or sections of their products for sampling. I generally didn’t eat much while on the floor of the show, so I didn’t go for those often. (I couldn’t bring them home, they didn’t have the ingredients and nutrition info on them.)
I was pretty picky about what I picked up, but often when I’d get into conversations with the candy purveyors, they’d offer me full sized samples. A 6 ounce bag of some new gummi spiders, a stack of six 3.5 ounce chocolate bars, a 5 ounce bag of delicious dark chocolate coated toffee almonds or a half a dozen full-sized Ritter Sport bars. It adds up. So somewhere around the middle of the morning my bag would be full and probably weigh about five pounds. I had a benefit over most attendees, somewhere to stash the contents of my bag. I’d go to the press room and empty it out and leave it with my other stuff (my jacket, etc.) and go back out onto the floor.
At the end of the day I’d be hoofing it back to the hotel with 15 or so pounds of candy along with a sampling of press kits which are also heavy in their own right.
So with a little math you can tell where this is going. At the end of the show I had at least 45 pounds of candy, probably closer to 55 pounds (if you include the press kits, which as I said in my defense, are heavy).
I planned well, or at least I thought. I brought one large suitcase to Chicago. I packed my 8 days worth of clothes (I was heading to visit family in the Midwest when I was done) and another smaller, collapsible suitcase in the bottom. I had my laptop messenger bag and a purse. Once back at the hotel I tried to pack all my stuff. It all technically fit, but I was concerned that the large bag was going to be over the weight limit. If figured if I could carry the large suitcase down the three flights of stairs to the lobby, it couldn’t be that heavy. Certainly not over 50 pounds.
I got to the airport dragging things behind me (may I thank the fellow who invented the wheel at this moment?) I found that I was correct ... my luggage weight 101.5 pounds. However, the large bag was 61 pounds and the little one was over 39. (The good news, apparently, is that I can carry 61 pounds down three flights of stairs!)
Luckily the nice agent at American Airlines said I could take a moment and transfer some things around instead of charging me for being overweight (that’d be $50). She even helped me by pointing out the items she thought were heaviest. I stuffed some of the heavier things into my carry on and in the end each of my bags was balanced at 47 pounds each. (Yes, I was now toting an additional seven pounds in my carry ons.) I thanked the ticket agent for her patience and help and gave her a full-sized Hershey’s Cacao Reserve nibby bar. This was when she told me that she only worked part time for American Airlines. Her day job was as a dental hygienist. She said she would have given me a toothbrush if she had one on her!
At my brother’s (where the guest room is sadly on the third floor, but happily he carries my bags up for me) I took all my candy out and organized it and repacked it, using a bathroom scale to make sure that each bag was 45 pounds. I left plenty of chocolate and candy there, too. I gave my mother three full sized dark bars plus a box of Russell Stover Private Reserve chocolates that I just wasn’t going to get to review anytime soon (but I’ll go buy at some point). I left only a few things at my brothers ... sadly I didn’t find his new perfect candy bar for him at the Expo. He was a Snickers Cruncher fan. I’ll have to keep working on it.
It took about three days after I got home for the sore shoulders to go away (carry forty pounds on them regularly takes a while to get over). It’s been 10 days since the Expo ended and I can now say that my feet don’t hurt any longer. Maybe next year I won’t walk that mile to and from the convention center and just splurge on a cab.
In case you’re wondering, this is what 50 pounds of candy looks like, all dumped out on my dining room table (which is 50 inches around, by the way).
In case you’re wondering the result of this trip on my weight ... I’ve lost four pounds. Don’t worry, I have a notion of where to find them.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Candy Blog hit the road yesterday to visit Candy Warehouse in Irwindale, CA. The president and founder of the company, Chris, gave me the full tour of their facility and has entrusted me with tasty samples to review in future blog entries.
So, look forward to the following: Trolli Gummi Clown Fish, a lollipop bouquet, gummi and candy sushi, finger lites (a lollipop candy that flashes), pop rocks dips, craniyums pops, chocolate poker chips and mint truffle chocolate cards, Wonka’s new Oompas, gummi sharks and hot peppers (they’re really hot) ... gah! That’s it. I’ve take photos and now I’m going to have to start tasting. I can say already that there’s some great stuff in here.
Read longer report here at la.foodblogging.com.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.