Last November I photographed Proper Sake for Nashville Lifestyles. Proper Sake is Tennessee's first Sake brewery. Proper Sake is owned by Byron Stithem. It has a great location in the Pie Town neighborhood of Nashville. He is located just feet away from City Winery and Tennessee Brew Works. The creative brief for this assignment was pretty simple. The magazine needed photos of the interior of the restaurant, the sake, and if time permitted some shots for Byron. We were able to capture all of the options that the magazine wanted with time to spare.
One of the coolest things about the location is that Byron and one of his friends did all of the design for the bar, tables, chairs, and woodwork in the space. It is awesome to see a business owner that is this involved in every decision.
In addition to being the business owner is also the head brewer. He hand crafts each batch. He has some really cool projects in the works. Byron has been working on his sake recipe for over 10 years now. He did not just hop in to the game. He as been very deilberate about his operation and it shows.
During the shoot Byron and I discovered that we actually went to college together. We are both Belmont University Alumni.
My process for shooting editorial is simple. I try to photograph real authentic moments in time. I try to use the surroundings and existing light to give the story a sense of place. Editorial photography is about relationships. The relationship of the people and things to the place they are in and to each other. My relationship with the space is also key. I like to augment the light to make things look as natural as possible. My mind set here was to create 1 epic here shot of a sake bottle, capture 1 great interior shot of the bar, and to get one shot of Byron.
When you are photographing at a sake distillery the most important thing is the sake! The packaging design is perfect and tells a great story. I got to sample the sake as well and it was excellent.
Editorial shoots at breweries and restaurants are always my favorite. It allows me to go to some of the best spots in town and work with some awesome people. Photography is always about relationships. Sharing a meal or a drink with someone is always a special occasion and the bonds that are formed by food and drink are the strongest.
Nick Bumgardner is a Food and Beverage photographer based in Nashville, TN.