It was suggested that the cover feature mayoral candidates standing in a bowl of gumbo in acknowledgement of the campaign heating up and to set the stage for the event. Of course, due to jammed schedules, candidates would have limited time and already, little time remained before the publishing deadline. Hoping at least to photograph them together to maintain consistent perspective, I elected to shoot them just inside the door of a garage with natural light plus strobes from the subjects' left.
Day of the shoot; oops, "they can't all make it today...blah, blah, blah" so reschedule and leave everything set for the next afternoon. The next day, all happens on time. Then the gumbo comes with with no time for more than minimal styling--not too tasty either. Not what I expected, the digital kitchen can help. With all my ingredients, I start chopping, stirring and it starts to simmer and smell nice.
Next, peel these guys out of their backgrounds. I had set up a group of old file cabinets to help me recognize where the edge of the bowl might be and where they'd be leaning. I didn't get the bowl I'd expected/asked for, so much of the vision just had to adjust; no room for rice and the shrimp had to be moved, too.
Working on the placement; considering editorial preferences for text, additional graphics and such, I finally accepted the arrangement lower right and started working on incidental detail. Almost finished and the phone rang, "Really?! One more thing—the gentleman in front with glasses won't be attending after all, rearrange." Okay, only one guy at the front rim means more room for that shrimp and the okra. Leave the background separate so the magazine's masthead they can slip in front of the background, but still behind their heads. Okay.
A few little tweaks here and there and they're in a happy hot-tub of gumbo with some fresh yummy, twenty-pound shrimp and huge okra. Tasty, if you can't see behind the curtain...pay no attention!