Sunday, June 27, 2010

June's Top 3

Spending 12 hours in a studio for a photo shoot on the weekend definitely frees up some time to browse the web.  During my browsing I thought it might be interesting to create a monthly column about photographers whose work I admire. 

This month I'm sharing some images of the following photographers:

Olivia Bee - she's only 16 years old and has already shot for Converse!

© Olivia Bee Photography

Sarah Wilmer
© Sarah Wilmer Photography

Richard Jung
© Richard Jung Photography


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Photo Remake

Every month a Seattle-based photographer and photo blogger named Lara Ferroni invites fans to participate in her "Photo Remake" Flickr challenge.  I've been checking out the site for a while, having participated in a few of the challenges.  This month's challenge invites participants to shoot our interpretation of a fruity, crumbly muffin that Lara shot.  It doesn't have to be exactly the same and she encourages folks to make it their own.  You just have to make sure you're showing the crumbly texture and the fruit inside.

I chose to shoot a glazed cranberry orange muffin.  I like the brightness and simplicity of Lara's shot but wanted to pair my muffin with some cooler tones so I used some robin's egg blue craft paper that I taped to a chair.  Since we're in the middle of "June gloom," I didn't have much light and the background turned out a lot darker which I actually really liked.

Anyway, here are the two shots for comparison.  If you're interested in Lara's photographer and/or her food  photography blog, check her out at:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Food Fanatic

A few months ago, I was invited to participate in a Weekend Food Styling Workshop led by two food stylists I've worked with and an LA food photographer.  Denise Vivaldo and Cindie Flannigan are industry veterans who've done everything from catered to the stars, consulted on cookbooks and styled commercial food shoots and tv shows.  Their partner in crime was local food photographer Matt Armendariz.  Food bloggers may be familiar with his ever popular blog called Matt Bites.

The workshop was a boot camp of sorts that focused on how foodies can make the most of their blogs by learning how to prepare and style food for the camera.  The first day focused on styling techniques and the second day was devoted to shooting our chosen recipe.  There were about a dozen participants with interesting backgrounds - the former Bon Appetit food editor, a few caterers, a photographer and even a food scientist.

I learned some great techniques and secrets to styling and it was great fun to peruse the photographer's amazing stash of props.  Matt had every color and kind of dish, pot, linen, napkin, spoon, cutting board and knick-knack you could imagine.  I was in heaven.

I decided to keep in simple and bake some scallion biscuits from a recipe I found in Gourmet Magazine.  Some of the other participants were a bit more ambitious and chose more complicated recipes like baked salmon, salads with edible flowers, sushi, etc.

I wanted to keep the image rustic as I imagined these biscuits would be served on an old farm table accompanied by thick slices of bacon and fried eggs.   Anyway, so here's the recipe along with a photo of what I shot on Day 2.  I've also included links to the stylists and photographer in case you're interested in their work or future classes.

Scallion Biscuits
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Scant teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add scallions and 3/4 cup milk and stir with a fork just until a dough forms.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 6 to 8 times, then pat into an 8-inch square (1/2 inch thick). Cut into 16 (2-inch) squares and transfer to a buttered baking sheet, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Brush with remaining tablespoon milk, then bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

 **I found that cutting the dough into 16 squares resulted in very small (and not particularly photogenic) rocks, so I cut them into about 8-10 larger biscuits.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


A week or so ago I had the pleasure of meeting an agent named Sarah Snider with National Geographic who represents the Magazine's assignment photographers. They have a separate division that now assigns documentary photographers to work on a range of editorial and even commercial projects. As an art buyer, one of our responsibilities is to review photographer's portfolios and find talent who might be appropriate for an upcoming project.

National Geographic has been one of my favorite magazines since I was a child so you can imagine my excitement when I booked the meeting. My parents subscribed to the Magazine for years and we still have copies stashed away in the attic nooks.

I saw several amazing books but was particularly moved by a photographer named Joel Sartore and a book he created called Rare. It's an up-close and personal collection of fascinating endangered species portraits. You'll be astounded by the array of plants and animals, many of which I never knew existed.

Check out the video and the link to the book on

Friday, June 11, 2010

Release 2.0

Yes, it's been a while since I blogged. I started a new job working as an art buyer at Deutsch back in December and it's been non-stop ever since. It's a pretty cool gig and I get the opportunity to work with a number of big clients like VW, PlayStation, Fresh & Easy, HTC, Anthem and California Milk. Throw in a concussion from a bike accident and well, you know, time flies.

Now that things are cooling down while the weather heats up, what better time to relaunch my blog with a new look and some fresh content. I'll still be focusing on things I like but my goal is to post more often and cover a wider range of topics.

So sit back, relax, grab yourself a cup of tea and enjoy what's to come.