LISA ADAMS

CD: Your work is clean, precise, and graphic (which is fantastic). If you look back to your earliest photographs is there a hint of the precision to come or was it always there?  If it was there, where does it come from? If not, how did it develop?

Spring Cleaning © Lisa Adams

Lisa Adams: That’s such a loaded question!  I think my photographic style has developed over a lifetime.  As a little kid, I grew up with parents who kept a very orderly & neat home…no clutter and everything was always in its place.

They weren’t obsessive about it, its just how they lived & I was very influenced by that sense of order.  As a teenager, I tried to live in chaos, but I just couldn’t do it.  I realized I liked order and specifically liked creating order. I’ve always gotten immense pleasure out of creating an arrangement of objects that feels visually “right”, whether its on set or on my coffee table.

CD: What drew you to studio shooting and photographing food?

Salmon © Lisa Adams

Lisa Adams: My first job out of college was assisting a product shooter who worked in association with a fashion/lifestyle shooter.  After watching them both at work, I knew I was much better suited working with the crazy tyrant product shooter (he liked to throw things).  I couldn’t really handle all of the waiting around for talent to be done with hair, makeup, and wardrobe and FINALLY come out on set.

I was fascinated with lighting and how the look of a simple object or fruit could be so radically transformed with different lighting setups.

Food photography is edible product photography, plus the added benefit of working with a really talented food stylist.

CD: You live and work outside of the major markets and have an incredible studio. Are you from Charlotte?  How do you balance what is important to your career and to your life?

Green Peas © Lisa Adams

Lisa Adams: I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, and moved to Charlotte right after college.  I completed an internship here and then worked as an assistant for several years for a variety of product/still life shooters.

I was so young and naive when I went out on my own, which turned out to be beneficial, as I had few expectations, and the idea of failure never even occurred to me. I’m very fortunate to have had a small measure of success and am grateful to have clients that value my work and are willing to travel to Charlotte. My family & I enjoy Charlotte; its proximity to the coast and mountains makes it easy to visit both very often.

Regarding balance:  I’ve gotten better at the balancing act as I’ve gotten older.  The worst time was when my daughter was young…I felt sorta schizophrenic…if I was at home with her I fretted that I wasn’t at work, and if at work I fretted that I wasn’t home with her.  I’ve learned that being happy with myself is what allows me to be the best (insert any role here…photographer, wife, mother, friend) I can be.

CD: You bio mentions that you love to photograph mushrooms, but can’t stand to eat them.  I am the same way about cucumbers, but can’t even stand the sight or smell of them.  I would not be able to photograph them.  How did you come to terms with photographing foods that your dislike?

Octopus © Lisa Adams

Lisa Adams: Oh, I absolutely love the way the underside of a mushroom cap looks with all those perfectly alined gills…just don’t make me eat it!

And, mushrooms are nothing compared to those slimy, stinky little octopus…thought the permeating smell of them was gonna make me vom….but just look at this little guy, perfectly round suction cups, the graceful curve to his tentacles and he has those amazing little freckles all over his body. He’s a great example of “Phi/Golden Ratio”.  My accosted sense of smell pales in comparison to the intrinsic beauty of this little creature.

CD: Tell me about your choice of gear and how that helps you accomplish your vision. I am interested in how you built your team and how you collaborate with clients if they are not on set?

Tins © Lisa Adams

Lisa Adams: I shoot with Sinar P2′s outfitted with Multi-shot capable Hasselblad CF-39 backs.  If I must, I also shoot with a Hasselblad H3D-31.

Love all of the control available with a 4×5.  I’ve always shot large format…it’s my preferred.

Clients love the live video available with the Phocus software, they can see everything as it’s happening, it’s a great collaborative tool!

Even more important than equipment, team is crucial and everyone contributes to the fun and success of the shoot.

Over the years I’ve developed an amazing team of creatives I can call on, from food stylists to prop builders, producers, animal wranglers, assistants, digital techs, etc.

You ask about collaborating with clients if they are not on set.  We do occasionally work virtually with clients but of course we prefer their actual presence…it’s just more fun to personally interact.

But, if being on the shoot isn’t possible, technology makes it fairly easy to work virtually as long as the CD/AD is available to respond immediately as soon as we start sending images.

CD: What advice would you give a young photographer about to embark on a career in commercial photography?

Lisa Adams: Assist with a variety of photographers, concentrate on the type of work that impassions you, then just go for it…be fearless…test, test, and test some more…listen more, talk less…..and learn good business skills before you step out of the nest.

Incredibly talented photographers who don’t know how to run a business will become incredibly talented photographers without a business.

What’s in Lisa Adams’s bag?

I shoot with SinarP2‘s outfitted with Multi-shot capable Hasselblad CF-39 backs.  If I must, I also shoot with a Hasselblad H3D-31.

Love all of the control available with a 4×5.  I’ve always shot large format…its my preferred.

Clients love the live video available with the Phocus software, they can see everything as its happening, its a great collaborative tool!

Even more important than equipment, team is crucial and everyone contributes to the fun and success of the shoot.

Over the years I’ve developed an amazing team of creatives I can call on, from food stylist to prop builders, producers, animal wranglers, assistants, digital techs etc.

You ask about collaborating with clients if they are not on set.  We do occasionally work virtually with clients but of course we prefer their actual presence…its just more fun to personally interact.

But, if being on the shoot isn’t possible, technology makes it fairly easy to work virtually as long as the CD/AD is available to respond immediately as soon as we start sending images.

© Lisa Adams

Lisa Adams's obsession with detail, passion for lighting, and unique color palette are the defining attributes of her work. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, her clients pursue her talent to create rich and impactful still life, food, and home interior images. Lisa's Website

Lisa Adams's obsession with detail, passion for lighting, and unique color palette are the defining attributes of her work. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, her clients pursue her talent to create rich and impactful still life, food, and home interior images.

Lisa's Website

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