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Mar 11, 2022

Always Hungry! One Photographer Two Restaurants...

Reading Time: 5 minutes


Hi! I’m Kris, OCUS’s community builder. I recently spent my day with one of our most experienced photographers and wanted to share how much I learned and how good it felt to go on the field. Read on for more!

One of my main goals as a community builder is to create a strong relationship between photographers, videographers, and OCUS. And for me, the best way to do so is to get my hands dirty and get out into the field. That’s why as soon as my second week hit, I reached out to Robin Clouet, one of our most active photographers here in Paris, and arranged to tag along with him during his next OCUS photoshoot. This first experience was incredibly much so that I actually decided to shadow him during a second photoshoot he had later in the day.

Being new to this role, I really wanted to get a feel of what a typical workday looks like for our photographers and learn more about their day-to-day. I don’t know about you, but for me, building a strong community comes with understanding what the people we work with actually do on the field!

Here’s how it went...First stop: Sam Thaï

This restaurant is part of a Thai chain with several restaurants in Paris. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a hiccup and when I arrived at the given address, Robin gave me a shout and let me know that there was a mixup and that the address was adjusted on our platform!

Although this wasn’t a massive change it added a bit of disruption to my day and gave me insight into the challenges faced by our community! I did think it was weird when I googled it the previous day and saw no sign of a restaurant on the “street view”, but I’d figured the owners had booked a studio or a specific venue for the photoshoot.

Dishes from Sam Thai restaurant

Regardless, we were now on our way to the correct location and were warmly welcomed by the restaurant owner when we got there. Loved the vibe!! The place had a warm modern decoration and cozy atmosphere where we immediately felt at ease.

Now it was time for the action! The restaurant gave entire freedom to Robin to work his magic...which I’ve come to learn is not always the case! In fact, Robin explained to me that restaurants sometimes direct him a little too heavily which he finds rather disrespectful and inappropriate. In my opinion, I would have to agree!

I could tell right away that Robin was experienced. He was super efficient with his setup and evaluating the environment for how to best go about this shoot. I was so impressed, it only took him 8 minutes, can you believe that?!

Photographer on set at Sam Thai restaurant

I played paparazzi and snapped a couple of the scenes while he worked. As soon as Robin was ready to rock, the freshly cooked dishes came out, one after the other, and it didn’t take long until every meal was served. In only an hour BOOM it was completed! But sometimes it’s not so speedy. Robin mentioned that often the speed of the shoot often is determined by the speed at which meals are served.

Overall, it was an awesome first experience on set and great to watch a professional photographer in his element! I learned a few tips and tricks along the way couldn’t help but take some photos myself!

There’s no secret: with the right instructor and a good technique, you’ll succeed to take the right pics whatever is the context!

After he was done, Robin went over every picture and noted down the name of each dish to ease the next steps in the process. This was the ideal first experience for me!! Everything went smoothly and Sam Thai was so kind!

Next stop: Barepa

We took a quick trip from Thailand to Venezuela (metaphorically) and landed at Barepa, a Venezuelan street food restaurant in the trendy Batignolles neighborhood. The owner welcomed us and was super prepared with all the food ready to go for the photoshoot. Robin was happy about this!! Sometimes the restaurant is unsure of the schedule and refuses for it to take place, even though the photographer is already there! This is something the community team and I are working on eliminating completely!!

Right off the bat, Robin and Barepa’s own jumped into discussions about the best way to shoot the dishes. The package only included 5 images and 1 hero, so everything needed to be organized to perfection. Plus, the restaurant was quite cozy with not a lot of extra space. To accommodate, Robin decided to optimize the light by using a reflection board.

Photographer on set

I thought an hour at Sam Thai was fast...this one took ONLY 25 mins! Man oh man Robin was quick! Here, Robin explained how he works in tight spaces and highly recommended we provide training for all of our photographers to optimize space. I thought this was an awesome idea to be implemented soon.

What I learned from this experience

Getting to know Robin and how he worked really helped me to better grasp what it means to be a member of OCUS’s community. It was great to leave my desk for a day, and enjoy being out and about, but also to start to create relationships with our photographers and restaurant owners! 

This experience allowed me to realize that OCUS has formed a real community, and to build an even stronger one, I’m encouraging everyone at OCUS (from intern to CEO) to go out and spend a day with photographers and videographers in our network!

It's the human ties that bring life to the OCUS community!