Three storytelling images showing behind the scenes in a craft bakery

Case Study – Business storytelling photography with Joe’s Bakery

Sector: Food and Drink

Background and the client  

Joe’s Bakery, a traditional craft bakery based in Bristol are well known locally with a great location on a busy high street. The market is competitive and they face stiff competition from the supermarkets, convenience stores and high street delis who’ve all upped their game over recent years. So Joe’s Bakery needed to refresh their look and connect with their audience with a new website and visual content for social media.

With a team of in-house specialists, their baking skills are unquestionable. What they lack is the time, skill and experience to create the content to tell their story.

The brief

Joe’s Bakery had chosen a website designer to work with. During the planning stage a visually engaging website with bespoke photography was considered the best approach to bring the story of Joe’s Bakery to life.

A bakery had stood on site for 150 years, and the client wanted to capture the sense of tradition, as well as showing the business as it is today.

Once the website framework had been agreed, the designer brought Nick Cole Photography on board to meet the client and capture the storytelling photography for the website.

Meeting the client’s unique needs

The process of creating a bespoke website and photography was new to the team at Joe’s Bakery. Nonetheless, they had certain unique requirements: A baker’s day begins at around 2am. Afternoon shoots weren’t an option, because by that time, all of the ‘back of house’ work would be done; there would simply be no ‘behind the scenes’ baking action to capture!

The photography schedule had to be flexible.  Arriving on-site at 6.30am, Nick was ready to capture the bakery in its true light. By working around the bakery hours, he could capture the authenticity and bring the bakery to life.

Business storytelling photography with a baker cutting freshly proven artisan bread just before baking

Overcoming the challenges

All projects throw up their own set of challenges. Here are a few that came up and the approach Nick took to solve them.

Reluctant models – often when a team is being photographed, some people are more forward than others! It took a while for some to feel comfortable in front of the camera. A little encouragement and the nerves abated. It led to some warm, engaging shots which capture the ‘friendly’ spirit of the customer-facing side of the business. The photos of the bakers, add a ‘human’ element to a side of the business the public doesn’t usually see. By upholding a ‘business as usual’ approach, rather than going for staged photos, the imagery is authentic.

Setting – Joe’s is a retail bakery – it’s definitely not the enormous empty kitchen you see Nadia baking in! People were moving around constantly, there were hot ovens to beware of, customers were coming and going. Nick had to operate in closely confined spaces, work at pace, capture what was needed and be mindful he was in the client’s space.

COVID restrictions – there was also the added complication of the COVID-19 protocols. With Perspex screens around the serving area, photographing staff behind the counter was exceptionally tricky. Nick had to maintain a safe distance whether shooting in the bakery or in the shop alongside customers. The restrictions only added to the creative problem solving deployed by Nick.

The result

The benefit of working with a professional photographer is not only their ability to photograph great images. It’s also their knowledge of how to manage the post-production process. By turning some photos black and white, Nick could train the eye on action within the shot.

This approach created a set of images the web designer could combine with the copy and the website design to authentically bring the story of Joe’s Bakery to life.

Young baker pushing a rack of freshly baked rolls at Joe's Bakery, Bristol
Overhead photos of rustic artisan breads made by Joes Bakery, Bristol.
Business storytelling photography with a baker sprinkling proven rolls with flour
Freshly backed continental olive breads with a golden finish

Working with Nick has been fantastic!

We’re re in the process of updating our website and Nick came highly recommended. This experience was a first for us a company and we were unsure what to expect. Nick spent a lot of time communicating and explaining what would happen.   

The whole process from first contact to receiving our final images has been such a smooth and stress free experience.

The day of the shoot went without any problems and Nick did fantastically well to work in and around a very fast paced environment of a bakery.

The shots he’s captured are amazing!! Would highly recommend.

Jenny Rogers, Joe’s Bakery

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Business storytelling photography with a baker removing a large artisan bread from the oven
View of a baker through a baking rack at Joes Bakery, Bristol.
Bakers moulding and shaping a sour dough into a basket