5/09/2013 12:08:00 PM

Day in the Life: Ha Lam, Photographer for Whole Foods

Those of us who love taking photos of food know how complicated it can be to get the right shot. Meet Ha Lam, the national projects photographer for Whole Foods, who lives for the snap of her camera. Lam travels quite a bit for her job, to various Whole Foods stores as well as around the country and world, taking artful frames of food. But what does she do on a day-to-day basis back in good old Austin? Here’s a typical day for Lam.


7:00 – 9:00 Morning routine. Cappuccino, breakfast and take my dog, Finch, for a walk. Ride my Vespa to the studio.

9:00 – 10:00 Head into the studio and meet with the food stylist to go over the shoot schedule for the day. Typically a day shoot will have a theme such as recipes for Mother’s Day or heirloom tomatoes. We talk about how much time she'll need to prep for the day and when she thinks we'll be able to get started depending on what kind of stuff we are shooting that day.

10:00 – 11:00 Talk to the studio manager about pre-production for upcoming location shoot. Go over options for next offsite shoot. We have 2 large offsite shoots each year to generate seasonal imagery for both the winter and summer. It's a bit of a production and involves stylists and staff from out of town, so the planning needs to start well in advance. For example, the planning for holiday photos start now, and the shoot will be in June or July. When you see cozy winter entertaining images in the store for the holidays they were probably shot in a house somewhere around Austin in the middle of the summer.

11:00 – 12:00 Edit and do post on images shot last week in Detroit for our online magazine, Dark Rye. I shot four different stories about revitalization and cool creative things happening there. I also shot the overall feel of the city to bridge the stores and tie them together. Detroit in evening light is really beautiful.

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch, usually something grabbed from the store downstairs. My go-to lunch in the store when I'm in a hurry and is the sandwich and soup combo from the sandwich venue.

1:00 – 4:00 Shoot six or seven different recipes with our food stylist and recipe content editor. The shooting goes pretty fast, but we try to make them all look individually interesting and different. Each recipe image will end up on the Whole Foods website to illustrate recipe instructions.

4:00 – 5:00 Catch up on administrative stuff for the day: email, phone calls, meeting planning, etc.

5:00 – 6:00 Head over to Redbird Pilates for class.

6:00 – 7:00 Head home and take my Finch for a long walk, grab a shower.

7:00 – 8:00 Dinner. Typically something like Vietnamese preserved lime soup with duck, shiitakes and bamboo shoots. But midweek I'll cheat and sub the duck for a smoked turkey leg for speed and smokiness. I can eat soup at anytime of day or in any weather.

8:00 –10:00 Work on some painting projects.

10:00 Some mindless TV and wind down.

1 comment :

  1. Ha rules! Professional, talented, funny as hell and a real artist. I'm super lucky to work with her.

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