Emily Puente, along with her husband Steven, is the creative force behind Huddl Studio, known for their delicious brand photography, bold use of colour and playful aesthetic.
From her kitchen turned photography studio, the California native creates incredible imagery and stop motion animations, frequently spending hours meticulously manipulating every frame of her animation. The outcome of this dedication to her work is an impressive portfolio of imaginative videos that deliver personality and playfulness to the brands she collaborates with.
Emily is a generous and helpful creator who routinely posts tutorials and behind-the-scenes insights to her work so that others can learn from her techniques. Emily's passion, creativity, and happiness are contagious, and you can't help but be inspired if you watch her videos!
If you want to learn brand photography you’ll find that Emily's tutorials are motivating and useful for photographers of all skill levels, and she covers a wide range of topics, from creative product styling setups to perfectly composed culinary art and stop motions. Due to popular demand, Emily and Steven have created a Patreon tutorial series that delves even further into their methods and techniques.
We were honoured to have a chat with Emily to find out more about their creative journey so far and how she creates her fun-filled and captivating content.
Hey Emily! We'd love to find out how you got started as a photographer stop motion artist?
My photography journey with my husband, Steven, started in 2011. We became wedding photographers in 2011, and shot hundreds of weddings from 2011 - 2020. When the pandemic hit in 2020, all of our events for the year were canceled, and Steven had the idea that we should pivot to product photography. So we jumped into the world of product photography in the fall of 2020, and then I discovered stop motion in February 2021. I instantly feel in love with stop motion! Steven and I stopped shooting weddings because we love product photography and stop motion so much!
What is it like working as a creative duo with your husband Steven?
Working together has been such an amazing journey. We have different strengths, and they compliment each other in really helpful ways. We push each other out of our comfort zones, and catch each other when the other needs help. Steven is really thorough, organized, and will absolutely learn anything he sets his mind to. His strengths have pushed us to excel at certain skills that are really technical. I have a passion to jump in and try things, without much fear of failure, which has also pushed us to excel in new fields that we didn’t know were possible. Because we put our skills together, I’m really proud of where we’ve landed. We’ve certainly learned a lot along the way, especially how to communicate well in demanding situations.
What are some things people might not know about you?
Emily often shares monthly personal projects where she practices her creative craft, tries new techniques and most importantly has fun. Source: @huddlstudio
What equipment do you currently use to produce your images and video?
We use a Sony a7iii with a 50mm lens for almost all of our projects. We also use a 90mm macro for some shoots. We use Flashpoint FV150 continuous lights for the majority of our shoots. We use C-Stands galore in our studio, because they are so versatile. I shoot a lot of flat lays, so we use a C-Stand with a grip arm to rig our camera for a sturdy flat lay shot.
Do you have a favourite lighting setup?
We use artificial continuous lighting for most of our shoots. (We use strobes for some projects.) Continuous lighting is really amazing when creating stop motion videos, because the lighting remains consistent through the entire video.
Emily often shares her artifical lighting set up with her 100k followers on Instagram. Source: @huddlstudio
What is your best advice to share with aspiring photographers?
Oooooh can I pick two things? The first thing I would say is: Make mistakes. When you jump in and make mistakes, you will learn and grow, and your skills will improve. Don’t worry if your work isn’t perfect right now. Make art that you enjoy creating, make art that brings you joy, and when you make a mistake, learn from that and improve next time! The second thing I would recommend is more practical: If you can only focus on one technical element at a time, focus on lighting first. Good lighting is the foundation of good photography and good stop motion. If your skills are amazing, but you have bad lighting, your art won’t shine in quite the same way. But if you have amazing lighting, and your other techniques are more simple, your photos can still shine as your other skills grow!
Your behind the scenes are very popular, any advice for creatives wanting to produce this type of content?
Sharing behind the scenes content is such a win-win! It helps other people grow in their skills, and it can help your account grow as well. Don’t forget to share the things that seem simple to you. You may not think something is worth explaining because it’s something you do 20 times a day, but there is probably someone at the very beginning of their journey scrolling by that would love to see even the most basic behind the scenes. And of course, if you are hoping to grow your account, be consistent! Get into a rhythm that is sustainable for you. I personally use a mount from Moment brand that is always set up on a C-Stand in my studio, so it takes under 2 second for me to pop my phone on and start shooting behind the scenes content. If you set up an easy way for yourself to shoot behind the scenes, you will do it more often, and people will start to know they can rely on your for great content.
One of Emily’s signature styles is the bursting stop motion and she is always open to sharing how she does it. Source: @huddlstudio
How do you keep learning and evolving your skills?
As I shared above, I think making mistakes is a great way to learn and keep evolving. If I want to try something new, I like to work on a personal project where I can practice without the pressure of getting it perfect for a client. Working on personal projects (as time allows of course) is really great for me to stay inspired and work on the skills that I am passionate about learning.
When I first jumped into the world of stop motion, it was because I came across Colette Peri’s Instagram page. She was (and is) such an inspiration to me! In 2021, I took her business course about pitching to brands, and it was just what I needed!
Which other creators do you admire and find inspiring?
What are your three favourite props to use?
1. I use a lot of ingredients in our work, and I love working with lemons. They are messy to work with (so I love my vinyl backdrops) but the pop of colour and fun patterns is so worth it!
2. I love creating water shots, so an acrylic tray with water is another favourite prop!
3. I love using leaves or plants, especially for summer shots. They are so great to add to the foreground of a photo, but still keeps the focus on the photo on the product. They are also so great for creating interesting shadows.
What is next for Huddl Studio?
We recently launched a Patreon page where we share even more in depth tutorials. Each month, we take our patrons inside the studio and share every step of a project from lighting, to styling, shooting, and editing. We will be focusing on our Patreon a lot as we move forward. We will, of course, continue to work with clients and create amazing photos and stop motion videos in our studio. We are continuing to hone in on the specific types of projects we feel most passionate about. We’ll continue to share fun and education content on our Instagram, and may jump into another platform soon if we’re feeling ambitious. I am really excited to dive deep into my next stop motion project. My stop motion table is where I feel at home :)
Thank you Emily for giving us an insight into Huddl Studio and inspiring us with your amazing creativity. Visit their website Huddl Studio to see their portfolio of work and I highly recommend following their journey on Instagram. Sign up to their Patreon page if you are keen to try stop motions yourself and learn from one of the best!
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