A behind the scenes (BTS) look at what goes on during our photoshoots- Mina Test Kitchen (video)

  Posted by - September 21, 2017 - $$ (20-50)

“NOOO CYN! Don’t eat the props!”

That’s what goes through my mind 99% of the time.

Today I’m giving you guys a glance at what really goes on behind the scenes at one of our photoshoots.

On this particular day, we were shooting at Mina Test Kitchen. If you guys haven’t heard of MTK-  think of it as an R&D lab for Michael Mina and his amazing team of chefs.

Seriously though, it’s genius. He keeps things INTERESTING. We basically get to try all of Michael Mina’s latest concepts before it becomes a restaurant in a different part of the country.

Some previous concepts include Ayesha Curry’s International Smoke (BBQ) and Postcards From La Costiera (Italian):

Now that’s a-lobsta goodness on a plate 🤤👏#MTKPostcards

A post shared by The MINA Test Kitchen (@minatestkitchen) on

Okay back to the photoshoot. Now full transparency here guys… it’s not all glitz and glam.

I feel like you can’t really tell that from looking at the photos we take, because you can’t see what goes on behind the scenes.

There’s a whole lot of “holding food” but not actually “eating food.”

We’re also standing on chairs and getting a decent arm workout.

But besides the physical aspect, there’s also the mental side.

I’m constantly trying to find different angles, playing with shadows, and looking for new inspiration with each photo. My style of photography is always evolving (<–I might turn this into whole separate post? Let me know if you guys are interested in learning about my thought process when I take photos for clients).

Anyways, here’s a little behind-the-scenes video on our last shoot at Mina Test Kitchen:

So here I am…. Hungry. It’s been 3 hours. And I’m feeling like I’m about to roll over and DIE of starvation. I know, I know. I’m totally being dramatic.

Usually I can contain myself (because I’m a professional, duh). This new concept though… the food is UNREAL.

Mi Almita is a collaboration between Michael Mina and with James Beard Award-Winning Chef Hugo Ortega.

For $39, you get 5 COURSES. I mean, that’s almost like finding a rent controlled apartment in a new high-rise building in San Francisco.

Our task for the day was to shoot their whole menu. Think: authentic flavors, trio of ceviche, little neck clams, house-made Mexican-style chocolate… and need I say more?

If you want to try the best tacos I’ve ever had, ditch the taco shops in the Mission. And come here for $3 Taco Tuesdays.

Which BTW… won BEST TACO at this year’s Taco Knockdown at Eat Drink SF.

And this photo? Our friend Ashley had to “hold” it and “pretend” to eat it 10 times.

So there you have it! If you guys enjoyed the video, please give it a thumbs UP and subscribe. I’ll be creating more weekly vlogs for you guys! Let me know below what you’d like to see more of.

PS: If you haven’t made plans to visit Mi Almita yet…. do it ASAP! Their tables get booked up fast.



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  • symmi February 2, 2018 - 5:01 pm Reply

    Love this post! Thanks so much for being such a. source of inspiration!

    • CynEats February 10, 2018 - 11:11 am Reply

      Thanks girl! Just checked out your site too. Love it! :)

  • Crystal November 14, 2017 - 10:13 pm Reply

    I just went there this past week with my BF and everything was delicious. It’s extremely affordable too! I think they have a new menu out now. They didn’t have the chocolate dessert anymore :(

    • CynEats November 15, 2017 - 1:10 pm Reply

      Glad you hear you guys had a great time! And yes, they change their menu often :)

  • Anita Cohen November 6, 2017 - 1:19 pm Reply

    All this food looks amazing! Do you know how long this concept will last?

    • CynEats November 7, 2017 - 11:08 am Reply

      It will go through December!

  • Veronica T September 22, 2017 - 10:31 am Reply

    Can you do one on what you actually eat in a day?

    • CynEats September 30, 2017 - 12:03 pm Reply

      Yes! That’s a great one. Stay tuned :)

  • Hang September 22, 2017 - 7:12 am Reply

    Ugh your blog is making me so hungry. I can’t wait to try this place.

    • CynEats September 23, 2017 - 8:17 pm Reply

      It’s a must try :) You’ll love it!

  • Casey September 21, 2017 - 11:07 pm Reply

    I want to know how you got started! Where did you learn your photography skills? Did you take a class? Thanks!

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