KFC Restaurants recently opened a new concept store in Louisville, Kentucky called KFC eleven. (The “eleven” being a tribute to the 11 herbs and spices in KFC’s original recipe chicken). The new store has a distinctly modern look, and is far from the red and white color palette made popular by Colonel Sanders.
The new concept required a new direction for the photography as well. KFC eleven’s creative agency, (Creative Alliance) asked us to help them create the visual feel for this new brand.
We started by reviewing the brands’ positioning, and talking with the creative team about their vision. We then did an “exploratory” shoot, where we worked to refine our ideas about how the photography and food styling should look. No cooks, no clients, just creatives.
To make the images appear authentic, we chose to shoot in the style familiar to our target audience, creating images that looked as if they could have been shot using a camera phone or Instagram. We wanted them to feel like something you might see on a restaurant’s Facebook page. (In fact that is where most of our images are being used — in social media). We then shared those images with our client to gain consensus and schedule the actual shoot.
This style of photography seems to be gaining ground and clients look to express their brand in a way that is relevant, but still keep control of their brand’s image.
During the shoot, we were given almost complete freedom to explore and experiment with different camera angles and lighting techniques, since the goal of the assignment was to create a series of images that appeared to be the work of several, (mostly amateur), photographers. We used natural light as well as strobe to create the final images. It may sound easy, but keeping the look of a brand consistent, while at the same time trying to showcase different styles of photography can be quite challenging.
Fortunately the client gave us space to work through our ideas, and just as importantly, they gave us space to fail! When a client is standing right behind you, failing can be embarrassing and something to be avoided, but failure is a part of the process and often leads to better solutions. For this project, the client and art director spent most of their time in another part of the studio until we asked them to come to set and review what we had done.
The final images are being used in a variety of ways, both in store and out of store, because the marketing of this new brand has been as radical as the concept. Redefining the look for one of the world’s most iconic brands has been a very challenging and rewarding process.
P.S. Here’s a tour of my food photography studio.
About the author: Teri Campbell is the Creative Lead at Teri Studios, and author of the book “Food Photography & Lighting: A Commercial Photographer’s Guide to Creating Irresistible Images“. Teri is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). He also sits on the advisory board for Antonelli College. When not in the studio, Teri is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events like the International Conference on Food Styling & Photography, PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo and the FoodPhoto Festival in Tarragona Spain.