For a photographer, becoming a director is more than just making still images move. It is about telling the stories frame by frame and being able to do so through a singular vision. Being able to adapt and inhabit both spaces is not easy, but Dan Goldberg drew from his mentors, his experiences, and his passion for sharing a meal to make his still stories come to life. For his debut director’s reel, he draws from all those same influences to tell a powerful visual story in the same thoughtful way as his photography does.
What do you think people will be surprised to know about your director’s reel?
People might be surprised that this is not just a food reel but an intersection of food, travel, and nature. This reel is all of my passions combined — a calling card to my motion work, paying homage to my mentor and uncle Terry Heffernan, who I assisted early on in my career. Each day we would drive the windy coastal roads from his house in Napa to his San Francisco studio, talking non-stop about our love for food, travel, photography, and nature.
What is your approach to directing?
I approach directing the same way as photography — frame by frame composing and lighting each frame to tell a thoughtful story. I’m always thinking about the final edit and how it’s going to cut together.
Does being a director help your photography? and vice versa?
Yes, directing helps me loosen up as a photographer; I collaborate more than I would as a sole photographer. Because I started my career as a photographer, I still approach directing like still photography, so working on bigger jobs, and because of the traditional communication channels, it takes some adjustment. As a photographer, I don’t have a problem doing what it takes to get the job done. As a director, I have to step back and rely on each department, which has been a great muscle to exercise.
When editing the reel, what did you want it to communicate?
This reel is a love letter to my career to date, sharing the work of some of my favorite clients. I wanted to start and end with scenes of gathering as that is the philosophy that drives my vision.
I worked closely with my editor on this video. Since he was the DP on a lot of the work in the reel, he was very familiar with the footage. I love the collaboration with editors who can see something that I don’t. We complement each other and make it better.
Follow Dan on Instagram for more imagery and motion, capturing gatherings and the camaraderie, food, and beauty that comes with it.