How to photograph a cookbook

My "studio", Saluang Nai, Chiang Mai: If you've ever been curious about what's involved in shooting the images for a cookbook, here are some inside tips gathered from my recent experience -- after all, I'm pretty sure this is how everybody else does it:

1. Find a friend who runs a successful restaurant and who also believes that you have the skills to photograph his cookbook.

2. Set up an impromptu open-air studio an antique house in a beautiful corner of rural northern Thailand (pictured above).

3. Attempt to shoot all the photos exclusively in natural light.

4. Realise, only after several days of wasting everybody's time, that during the height of Thailand's rainy season, natural light is a fleeting, inconsistent concept.

5. Hire a photographer's assistant who has a proper studio lighting rig.

6. Learn the basics of studio photography in a matter of days.

7. Wonder at the marvel that is artificial, consistent, controllable light.

8. Quickly begin to feel more like a director than a photographer.

9. Wish for the opportunity to re-direct all of the previously-shot dishes.

10. Wonder, What just happened?