In the 30 years that I’ve been in the advertising/photography business, the industry has seen many changes, some good and some bad. Change in the industry has meant change in my own business, and T. J. Hine Photography has been fortunate to have had great clients over these years.
I started in the business when I first moved to Chicago soon after college. I got a job at one of the largest catalog studios in the world, Kranzten Studios, in March 1981. I began as an assistant and moved up to junior photographer within six months, working on catalogs such as Sears, Montgomery Wards, Spiegel, and a plethora of smaller ones.
I got an opportunity to work for famed food photographer, Dennis DuBiel, in September 1983. There I learned a great deal about this specialty, and it started my passion to shoot food, although it would be some years before I could break into the food advertising circles on my own.
I freelanced with the catalog studios and assisted many advertising photographers, honing my skills by taking in tips and tricks from everyone. In 1987, I met David Pazdernik, owner of Pazdernik and Co., on the softball field. His regular shooter was heading to New York to pursue his dream of fashion, and David was looking for a replacement. I fit the bill. We did small ad jobs, inserts, and small catalogs for clients such as Sears, WTTW, Reliable Home Office, and a golden opportunity, Playboy Catalog.
Being a longtime catalog shooter, I had no problem photographing the non-clothing items; however, I had not done a lot of model shots. But it looked to be fun, so I jumped right in. I enjoyed the experience, but my passion was still to get into food photography.
My relationship with Pazdernik led to my first studio in fall 1988, sharing space with famed background artist Doug Funkhouser. (This is not counting the months that I shot in my apartment basement!) With a studio, I started to get editorial work, picking up trade magazines like Bakery Magazine, Prepared Foods, Dairy Products, Modern Baking, Packaging Digest, Packaging World, and others. I’m proud to say that several of the front covers I shot won awards for their publishers.
I was introduced to stylist Christianne Ingegno, and we began working on food shoots for Food Product Design. Then we met Dan Stricevic of Stricevic and O’Connor, and my food photography business finally materialized. We worked on clients such as Keebler, Edlong, and the National Dairy Board.
Through the years, I’ve worked for such familiar names as Zenith, Nightingale-Conant, International Harvester, and Facets Multimedia among others, but my big break came in 1999 when food packager Shurfine International hired me to shoot a redesign for an entire food line. This led to an 18-month photo shoot. Near the end of the job, Shurfine was bought by Topco Inc., and I had the opportunity to work on multiple brands, producing some award-winning packaging for them.
I was shooting for my good client, Karlin Foods, at about the time I was switching from film to digital. I convinced owner Mitch Karlin to look at shooting digitally. He was convinced, and we never looked back. This changeover was in the spring of 2001, and I have not shot a sheet of film since.
My love for cookbooks got a kick in the pants in 2005 when I started working for Wiley Publishing, publishers of the “Cooking for Dummies” series. I have shot 20 cookbooks and counting. I also produced two promo cookbooks with stylist and recipe developer Lisa Bishop. I’ll write more on those later.
Today we have added a great group to our client list, including Bar-S, Land O’Frost, Taylor Farms, and some small mom and pop businesses. Hine Photography continues to grow, offering our clients great value, timely production, and beautiful photographs.
Any questions or comments please feel free to add.