“I’m glad so many commercial clients are looking for work that feels more natural and editorial,” says Austin,TX-based food and lifestyle photographer Jody Horton. “That’s really our strength.” He describes how he and his crew are often called on to create images that feel like “genuine moments.” These range from tiny sets - like a tight shot of a bartender pouring a drink - to larger scenes like dinner parties.
For this quarterly, Horton asked us to focus on his drink work - a specialty that he finds particularly rewarding. “Shooting drinks is much harder than food,” he says, “but that’s what makes it fun”. His editorial work in spirits has earned recognition from APhotoeditor while his commercial work - for clients Jack Daniels and Shiner - has earned honors from Communication Arts.
Earlier this year Horton opened a natural light studio in a converted warehouse in central Austin. While he says that working there has been a dream, he is equally at home on location. “We have become adept at working with natural light in almost any situation.” Horton explains. “Controlling light for drinks and bottles is especially tricky. Usually I want to give life to the shot with dynamic light, but still control reflections. ” Although he says this process can be “like walking a tight rope” he relishes the challenge.
At the time of this interview Horton and his crew had just returned from a two-day shoot in Louisville, KY for Woodford Reserve. While he describes Woodford as a “dream client,” the project, which involved creating sets on location in a working bar, was not without challenges. “There’s a great deal of problem solving involved with shooting bottles on location.” Horton says. He emphasizes the importance of having a solid team for projects like this. “I think we have a great rhythm together, “ he adds. “Everyone is at their best and the talent most natural if you are having fun. So we try to do serious work while not taking ourselves too seriously.”