Want to turn some quality time with your family into a stylish lifestyle shoot like they do in the magazines?  We worked with Mike and Ryan who love making pizza together to show you how.  (Feel free to substitute your favorite – preferably messy – dish!)

Father and Son Stretch Pizza Dough

Props and Wardrobe
Lighting and composition always play a role in a photo shoot, but much of the final look comes courtesy of the props and wardrobe.  We started by having a look around the kitchen at what should stay and what should go.  Decluttering is just as important as the props you bring to the table.  The blender was not necessary for our pizza story and the paper towels were distractingly white.  Once we had a simpler backdrop, we moved in a bowl of fruit for a pop of color and balanced what was already there.  We had our models stand in to help us determine where to arrange background objects.

Now the real styling began!  Our props included all the yummy ingredients, measuring cups and spoons, and a fresh set of dish towels to compliment the kitchen’s color scheme.  We wanted the attention to go to our father and son and their pizza creation so we went with soft solids for their wardrobe and a casual look to convey that ‘at home’ feeling.  With that in mind, we pulled several shirts and took more test shots with them in the kitchen wearing a few of our top picks to see what looked best.  We finally landed on a simple butter cream shirt on dad, a sky blue tee on Ryan, and some khaki shorts on both of them.  Go with what works for your story like maybe whites & brights for decorating cupcakes.

Hair and makeup is super easy on guys.  A little front flip in Ryan’s hair and some powder to reduce shine on our guys and we were set. Oh wait… did I say shine?  Ryan actually still had the remnants of a shiner, courtesy of a misdirected baseball at little league practice!  After a touch of expertly applied cover up I breathed a sigh of relief thinking about all the time saved in Photoshop!  I can’t tell, can you?

Father and Son Making Pizza

Tell a Story
Once you have all the elements in place, it’s time to play!  Have your family take their time and exaggerate the process so you get your shot.  Our pizza dough was actually thrown up a couple times too many and got pretty thin.  Mike was able to squish it all on the pizza stone though and none of us tasted the wrinkles.  If you’re willing, how about a spontaneous flour fight?  Okay it was a little messy (there was a fine sprinkle of flour all over) but so much fun.  Ryan couldn’t get enough and we were all laughing.  Nothing a broom and wet wash cloth couldn’t take care of…  Remember fresh ingredients and home cooked food are very photogenic too!  Get some close-ups.  Lighting tip:  use only daylight or off camera flash.

Father and Son Throw Pizza Dough

Father and Son have Flour Fight

The Food
If you’re Italian American like this family, making pizza may come naturally.  When I asked dad for his recipe it was all up there in his head.  For the rest of us here are some directions…

Mike’s Easy as Pie Bread Maker Pizza

4.25 cups flour
1.5 cups warm water
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp active dry yeast
marinara sauce
fresh mozzarella
your favorite pizza toppings

Makes 1 very large pizza or 2 medium pizzas.

Homemade Bread Maker Pizza

Add all the ingredients to the bread pan of your bread maker and process according to the manufacturer’s dough setting.  Meanwhile, preheat a pizza stone in your oven at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Prepare your favorite pizza toppings.  When the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, remove the dough from the pan to a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough several times then form it into an oval and cover with plastic wrap or a towel.  Let it rest for 10 minutes.  Roll and stretch the dough into a 14-inch circle and place it onto your heated pizza stone.  Spoon on your favorite homemade marinara sauce and sprinkle on a generous portion of freshly grated mozzarella.  Add any toppings you like.  Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom and the top is bubbly.  Remove your pizza from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes (that will allow the crust to stay crisp).  Once cool, make slices with your pizza wheel and dig in!

So what are you going to cook up?

Leila is a NYC kids lifestyle photographer who writes a monthly blog called Foto Shui – make your photos flow. Contributions by Jo-Ann DiLorenzo.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *