We love Tracy Benjamin.
Her deadpan sass, love of graphic design, Trader Joe’s recipe hacks and friday hit lists are just a small part of what makes her website Shutterbean an enjoyable place to kick up your feet on the internets. Not only is Tracy keeping hungry readers inspired in the kitchen, she’s got an uncanny way of effortlessly pulling together a table and taking photos that make you feel like you’ve just walked through her front door for a chilled mason jar cocktail on the back deck.
Make no mistake, where things might seem thrown together, this woman is a planner. A strategic and organized style hound that we couldn’t wait to put to the test with this latest edition of You Got Served – she passed with grace and even lit some cupcakes on fire. Obviously.
You got served..by Tracy Benjamin.
The Rules: ~Subject must choose and work with at least two items and one textile from the mystery box ~Location and surface area up to the discretion of the subject ~One additional textile, prop, and food/botanicals can be selected from the subject’s personal collection
Do you have a routine or game plan when it comes to styling with props for your photos?
I’ve never really thought of my process because it mostly seems haphazard; I make quite a mess while I’m working. I guess I’m more of a spur of the moment prop stylist. The one thing that I always do is take an overview shot of my ingredients in a recipe. It’s a way for me to mentally prepare for the in process shots I take before I do a final completed recipe shot. Other than that, I don’t spend a lot of time on styling because I sometimes find the pressure can turn me off from the process. It’s hard to BE everything (photographer, chef, stylist) and DO everything at once! I grab a few things to work with and if it doesn’t inspire me and get me excited, I take a break, regroup and think about what I don’t like in the frame and then go at it again.
What’s your Serving Style? Brand new/on trend, unique vintage originals, particular colors?
I always refer to the color wheel when styling. And a few questions go through my head before I set up my final beauty shot: What’s going to make an image pop? What colors spur the appetite? It’s also important for me to put the food I make in a context. Who is eating this? How is it eaten? Where does someone eat this? These questions are what dictate my styling for each recipe. As far as items go, I love using white plates & small shallow bowls as a blank canvas for the food. If I want to bring in color & graphics into the frame, I do so with textiles, but I try to make sure they don’t overwhelm the frame. I also style by adding text to my photos so I try to create some negative space in the frame that’s suited for graphic design on the final image.
Do you have a favorite piece in your collection? What’s the story behind it?
I have these little white dishes that I love. Joy has a few of them too. Not only are they a perfect dish to put small ingredients in for an ingredient shot, but whenever we both use them in our food photos it’s a little nod to each other. Like… remember that time we got these little dishes and how fun that was? If I told you how they got them, you wouldn’t believe me.
If you could get a hold of any item for your kitchen or tabletop, what do you currently have your eye on?
I really want a old picnic table for my backyard. Benches & all! That’s my styling DREAM.
Above photo: Tracy Benjamin
If you could express your personal style in 3 emojis, what would they be?
black square emoji white square emoji picture perfect emoji
Picture perfect, indeed.
Each scattered crumb seems carefree, but really is meticulously in place. We respect a girl who knows just how she likes things, especially when they always end up looking this good. And one who owns her own mini blow torch for that matter.
Oh and hey Tracy? We would actually like to know the story on how you got those little white dishes….do tell.
Want more You Got Served!?
Check out the full on-going series and stay tuned for the next two subjects who whip up some dynamic style from prop box #004 over the next two weeks.
All photos, unless noted taken by Kristin Guy