AdChat DFW recently caught up with up with Noonday Pictures to interview ML Nelson, CEO/Owner and their newest food director addition, Rob Fiocca, Rob is a Toronto based photographer and director with an exceptional eye for beauty. With a career that spans over 20 years, his creative and commercial print work has garnered international awards, and his reputation has kept his client list stocked with advertising agencies such as Leo Burnett, JWT, Ogilvy and Y&R creating work for brands such as Kraft, Williams Sonoma, and Nestle, to name a few.
We found out that Rob approaches his food shoots quite differently than most food shooters, from more of a storytelling perspective that captures and holds the viewers attention. Not an easy accomplishment as many a creative director knows.
Check out our interview…
AdChat DFW: Rob, you’ve got a lot of sizzle and pop in your work, without giving away trade secrets. what are some tricks you used for your “Sizzle Reel”?
Rob: There were really no tricks. The “Sizzle Reel” was a collaboration between an agency, my team and I. It consisted of coming up with a concept, figuring out what we were going to do and then how we’re going to do it. When it came to the shoot day, we had some time to explore and ended up coming up with some of the imagery that you see on the reel.
AdChat DFW: Beyond the sizzle reel, how do you approach any given shoot?
Rob: It’s really a process. From a philosophical standpoint I think anytime we’re given a script largely thescriptis there. Then it’s our job or the director’s job to break it down and figure out how it’s going to come to life. We strive to make it look coherent, have the message come across while making it as interesting to watch as possible. You have an idea and then break it down scene by scene, shot by shot, so there is continuity from one shot to the other, it all works together.
I don’t know about other directors, but I find my brain needs to be free when I’m thinking about this. Before the shoot, I find when I start writing my ideas down…which is often at 11:00 at night sitting in bed when I do my best thinking and writing I’ll write something and think it sounds interesting, and then think maybe the next shot should have that because the transition will follow into it nicely. It’s a process of digging deep to make sure you have that fluidity and flow.
AdChat DFW: Rob, you have shot for dozens of top agencies and corporations and have won many photography awards. After all that, do you still feel like you learn from every shoot?
Rob: Absolutely. More now than ever. Photography is one thing. I don’t feel I learn as much from the world of advertising photography anymore because I’ve done so much of it. But in terms of directing, every shoot I’m on is a learning experience. Even if it’s just reiterating what I know is the best way to do it, every shoot is valuable because every job is different, with different crew and clients. Every time I do a spot I feel I get better each time.
AdChat DFW: M.L. what have you learned from the way Rob shoots food, if anything?
ML: What I would say is when I observe Rob’s work, I see two things. One I see a continuity factor from shot to shot. Often some directors shoot a bunch of shots in a random way and typically nobody knows the difference. Seeing Rob’s work, it is obvious to me that it’s not random. He has a plan with continuity and sequence, kind of like storytelling. That makes it more engaging which is key to holding someone’s attention. Another thing I love is Rob uses a lot of wide-angle lenses and that gets him close to the product for a bigger-than-life look and feel. Not many guys do that. Other shooters typically use a longer lens and they’re more like observers. But Rob and his camera are in the action which I believe it engages the viewer more. It’s very hard to grab a viewer’s attention and even harder to hold their attention. I think the way that he photographs food and tell stories, he does exactly that. I love it.
AdChat DFW: Obviously M.L. you must be excited to have Rob on the Noonday roster.
ML: Absolutely. I’ll tell you this, I chased after Rob for a year telling him about our great state of Texas. I sent him and an email and wrote “You’re not from Texas but Texas loves you anyway.”
Rob: He said Texas was the promised land.
ML: We couldn’t be more excited. He is a huge talent. To have him at Noonday and in Texas and the Southwest, it’s going to be a big plus for agencies and brands in this part of the country.
Rob: I’m also equally excited. I can’t wait to collaborate with Noonday, the future looks very bright.
AdChat DFW: Rob I read that you like to cook.
Rob: It’s definitely a passion of mine. I wouldn’t say that I’m a great cook, but I love cooking. I’d rather eat at home than eat out at restaurant. The sort of comfort of your home, having a glass of wine while you’re cooking, all that is a wonderful thing and it makes me happy. And if you have a big family like mine, everyone can contribute, especially with cleaning up.
Watch “Sizzle Reel”…