When it comes to fine food product photography and display on the shelf there’s no one better way to learn from than a master. And Allison Goh, founder of IMEHLY’S creative studio and services, has earned this status by overseeing projects for clients like Guinness, Ricola, The Tea Nomad and much more.
“The story of the business or the actual product is crucial
in determining how the fine food product display is set up.
The display to me is the medium to showcase the business
or the product.” – Allison Goh
Allison, how did you end up setting up IMEHLY as a service, how did it all start for you?
I did a degree in Biomedical Science at University and started out working as a Medical Scientist back in Perth, Western Australia for a period of five years before making a move to Singapore.
Even with a full-time day job, I had always enjoyed experimenting with styling and photography in my spare time. I would start creating “projects” on my black dining table back in Perth. I would use anything and everything I could find around the house to create that styled shots. I posted these “home styled shots” on my Instagram and started getting requests from various brands and businesses to produce styled images for their social media platforms/websites. With the full-time job, I was doing this as a side hobby but since moving to Singapore, the volume of requests have gone up and I’ve started working with bigger brands and businesses including Le Creuset, Casio, Ricola, and Swisse.
I took a lot of comfort and gained some confidence in working for these brands and realised there was a market for professionally styled services in the digital world. I registered IMEHLY in late 2016 and have been blessed to work with various interesting brands all over the world since.
We see a lot of great food products out there that want to differentiate themselves and are looking for tips when it comes to their product photography. What high-level advice would you give them?
Always, always, always shoot in natural light! Be inspired from as many sources as possible (i.e. other photographers and stylists) – this helps to ensure that your own style is constantly evolving from the influence of other photographers or stylists.
What tools or space do you normally use to get to an excellent food photoshoot?
Again, natural light is key so I would conduct the photo shoot in a space where there is plenty of natural light. In terms of tools, I find using Pinterest and Instagram most helpful when conceptualising my shoot.
Any other tips for our readers when it comes to photography?
Study your products in detail and do heaps of planning before the actual shoot. It is important to have a strong vision and concept before commencing the shoot.
Don’t ever stop learning. Instagram and Pinterest are great mediums for getting inspiration. I am constantly scrolling through and saving images that inspire me.
Fine food product display is one of the services that you provide to retail clients. Is there a methodology you follow in order to create the perfect display?
I don’t actually don’t have a specific methodology other than to ensure I understand the vendor/business owner’s vision before conceptualising the display – in this regard, communication I think is very important. I also try to adopt the “less is more” principle and ensure that the overall display is “clean” and fresh and strongly captures the brief provided to me.
And less of a methodology but again, getting inspiration from various sources is very important.
What role does the story of the store or the fine food product play in the placement of it at the shelf if any?
The story of the business or the actual product (food or otherwise) is crucial in determining how the display is set up. The display to me is the medium to showcase the business or the product and I aim, through the props used the arrangements adopted and the concept of the overall display to enhance the message of the business to potential customers and passer-bys.
What are some of the tips that you would give to people who read this article about displaying their food product at an event or retail space?
Using props that supplement or enhance the main product is I think a very good way to display a food product. The various colours of the props and background will also go towards creating the desired mood of the business or product. Finally, keeping it clean and orderly goes a long way to ensure that the product is the “hero” of the display.
If you could choose one fine food product that inspires you to work with what would that be and why?
It would have to be chocolate and I’ve actually worked on a project for a dessert bar/chocolatier previously. There is a variety of ways to style chocolate (for example in liquid form or in solid form). The props that I can use to supplement chocolate is also very diverse (for example, cacao beans, milk, glassware, homewares to put the chocolate into). And as you might have already guessed from my various Instagram posts, I love a dark/moody product/background to work with!
If one of our readers wants to reach you, what would be the best way to do that?