Case Study :: Rancho Llano Seco

Rancho Llano Seco is a rising force in the foodie universe.  Even if you've never heard of them, if you love good food you have probably eaten their product:  They are on the menu at Bay Area institutions such as Chez Panise and Zuni Cafe, among others.  I have been a fan of theirs since first meeting the owner Charlie back in 2010.  So you can imagine that when he called me to talk about a promotional shoot, I wanted to do everything in my power to make it happen.

Clipping fresh bay for dinner from the Rancho's garden.

Clipping fresh bay for dinner from the Rancho's garden.

The first step was to determine what their visual needs actually were.  Talking with Olivia from Fare Resources, we decided that the main thing to focus on was product shots of their heirloom beans line and packaged meats.  I knew that these products would present a challenge in the studio due to their odd shapes and packaging.  Before driving out to the Valley from our home in Oakland, I loaded up on studio lighting widgets like mirrors, cardboard and black and white foam core.

The second discussion we had was about how the photos were to be used.  What are they hoping to communicate with these images, and what is the desired actionable result (if any)?  An image that will be featured in a large magazine add or billboard can (and should) be composed differently than one destined for someone's mobile Facebook app, website or business card.  Olivia and Charlie decided these images would primarily be used for social media and the website.  In addition to product photography LB Studio was asked to shoot the preparation of a meal using Llano Seco products.  After we got the licensing nailed down, I headed out to start making some pictures.

Our work is appearing on Llano Seco's social media, such as this recent post promoting their hams for Easter.

Our work is appearing on Llano Seco's social media, such as this recent post promoting their hams for Easter.

That first evening Charlie made a very nice meal with their heirloom beans, sausage and smoked hams.  I photographed the entire process and helped advise for the best looking meal possible.  The stone soup was finished in a fire pit, Argentinian asadero style 

Stone soup in an open fire pit at the Rancho.

Stone soup in an open fire pit at the Rancho.

The next day I spent with all of the packages of heirloom beans, smoked meats and sausages.  Working with natural window light manipulated by mirrors, white boards and black boards, we were able to create a commercial look that is both rustic and clean.   It was also very important to me that we tell a food story with these product shots, so I included fresh produce and herbs from the Rancho to help bring the beans to life and place them in the context of a meal you want to eat.

 

The final image of their heirloom Black-Eyed Peas, dressed up with garlic and oregano from the garden.

The final image of their heirloom Black-Eyed Peas, dressed up with garlic and oregano from the garden.

Our work continues to appear in Llano Seco's social media campaigns and website, something we are immensely proud of.  We can only hope to do justice to their amazing products, and it is a pleasure and honor to have that opportunity.  Thank you!

 

Nathan & Colleen

Founders and owners, LB-Studio