It was great to be featured on Shutterstock’s lastest post about running a photography business. “It’s time to take your freelance opportunities to the next level. Check out tips from thirteen industry pros on how they run a successful photography business.”…
What a fun project to see grow from beginning to when it hit shelves! When I get to work with new clients on packaging it’s really my favorite thing to do! You get to shoot the product and immediately see it in the design layout through tethering the camera and see the project come to life. It’s really great when the product is of high quality and taste; which of course this was! It’s a new product line Gorton’s was working on. Delicious allergy-friendly recipes and quality of fish. It’s a step away from their traditional cut and styled fish you may be custom to seeing in stores. This had a more authentic approach in the styling and props. We got to use bright light that created more shadow and depth, the packaging was overhead, and the fish fillets we used were broken open showing the meaty fish flakes inside. Yum! The three types of fish were beer battered cod, black bean crusted haddock (personal favorite), and a citrus ginger salmon. They all had a crust to them and side sauce used to drizzle over top. Make sure to find this in the freezer section next time your shopping. Check out the B.T.S. from the shoot!
See their website too! http://www.hooklineandsavor.com
Make sure to read their story! http://www.hooklineandsavor.com/about.html
Get comfortable because marketing isn’t going anywhere. Beyond that you always want to be pushing the boundaries with your work. You cannot get complacent in this business or you will drown. I don’t want to scare anyone but you have to be on your toes always seeing what’s new out there, what you can be doing better or different. I feel that’s part of the fun! It keeps things exciting and it makes for a fulfilling career. This industry is full of changes so keeping an eye and ear out for it will only prepare you. I look to continue to grow and add to my business. Always be networking with new prospects, and enjoy the ride!
I’ve been doing this for close to 10 years. To some that’s a long time, and to a lot, I’m just getting started. Either way you can learn a lot personally and professionally working for yourself. In the photography business you have to be prepared for a lot of loses and learn from mistakes. For every “No” you will get that YES! It’s a very hilly battle with competition, slow periods, and even insanely busy times. For all the chaos you still need a plan. Without a plan or goal in mind you will just be spinning wheels.
For the success I’ve had, It comes from my commitment to shooting new work and marketing myself to the right audience. Companies like Agency Access, FOUND, and Yodelist don’t make this stuff up when they always tell us to market ourselves. It’s actually true and it works! When I talk to photo students in college marketing is always my favorite subject to talk about. In school you are learning the craft and becoming skillful in taking pictures, but how are you going to present that to the world? That’s where marketing starts. Before I even get into specifics (which there is not 1 answer for) CONSISTENCY IS KING. If you think your going to do it, you might forget about it in a month, then 6 months goes by, “wait what did I forget to do?” Maybe you got busy, or lazy, who cares, you have to do it or nothing in the long run will happen for your business.
Let’s step back and honestly think about this, who markets? Why? Easy example: Coca Cola. Everyone knows who they are and what they are about. How do we know? Because they are always marketing their product! I bet even more than before because soda sales are going down. Coca Cola has been a staple product for decades and you don’t see them slowing down in their marketing. They want their product on the top of your mind without any hesitation. When you hear soda what’s the first brand that comes to mind? Maybe Pepsi.. But then Coca Cola! hahaha! Consistent marketing will grow your business.
For myself I have come up with a marketing plan that I analyze every year. This is no secret and anyone can do it, it’s just who can do it consistently. I have my plan broken down by month and I list out my To-Do’s for the month. I make phone calls, I send an e-newsletter, I post to social media, I test shoot or update my website, I update my blog, I check out my LinkedIn page, I send out a printed promo piece, and a couple other things here and there. I don’t send an email or printed promo every month. I take into consideration my marketing financials as well as my audience’s email space and know they don’t want an email from me every month! You have to find the balance of keeping your work at the top of their mind but not to over reach and annoy them. Having the marketing plan written out helps keep you on track. With all the above itemized out over the course of 12 months I print it out and tape it right to my door in my office. It’s there to remind me what I need to do for the month. This works for me, but I know some people need more than that to remind them. Put reminders on your phone or computer, whatever works for you. Also what I have on my marketing plan might not apply to you. It comes back to your audience and how they like to see new work or to be followed up with. Whatever that plan may be 1 really great rule of thumb is to have at least 3 modes of marketing outreach.
When your new to business the funds might not be flying in so being budget conscience with marketing at first is fine. Social media is free, so is Facebook, and LinkedIn. Printed promos, and e-newsletters will have a cost. If your still on your family phone plan then make some phone calls to potential clients. Any questions? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any food that encompasses the style of Italian cuisine I’m all ears and appetite. It was great to work again with New Jersey Monthly on their July feature for Osteria Radici in Allentown, NJ. Owners Randy and Ally were great to work during the photo shoot. The dishes we got to photograph each had their own personality and flavor that was amazing to see. It was great to see their different plate ware and table dressings to incorporate into the photographs. Also the interior had a warm welcome. Check this place out!! You can read the article and see more of my photos here:
This past shoot for Finlandia Cheese was so much fun. When your given the freedom to create the best sandwich using quality cheese the possibilities are endless. We got to spend the day making tasty heroic sandwiches using a variety of Finlandia’s new line of pre-sliced cheeses. They had great varieties and of course swiss! Working with Lisa Russell at her new studio was a great experience. The kitchen to shooting space is seamless. We had Apple TV wireless connection to show the shots large as we were shooting. Also the cool thing about the space is it’s inside center city Philadelphia’s String Theory School. We had high school students who are currently majoring in broadcast come in throughout the day to see what we do. The students were engaged and anxious to watch us work. It’s really nice when you can create work and give back to students at the same time. So rewarding!
Beautiful design is the first thought that comes to mind looking at the new line of Ketel One Vodka Botanicals coming out. The illustrations of floral and fruit bordering the bottle remind me of Marie Antoniette and her beautiful, lavish parties. It was so fun to work with the Ketel One team and agency to create outdoor scenes with a freshly made cocktail. Sourcing mint, fresh fruit, and flowers in January seemed like a difficult feat but I was confident with my team we would get it all and the best quality. In addition to the environmental shots we did some simple on white product shots for them to be able to use on different platforms. Can’t wait to see these in stores! https://www.ketelone.com/vodkas/peach-orange-blossom-botanical/
I try not to geek out when it comes to celebrity chefs, especially now when everyone is on some type of food show BUT to meet and work with chef Michael Symon was awesome. I was hired for a magazine to capture the new Italian restaurant by Michael Symon called Angeline at the Borgata Casino. The Borgata is probably one of the most well known and visited casinos in Atlantic City with great stores and restaurants within. This new restaurant the locals have been waiting and raving about to open! Whenever Michael would come by the restaurant to talk with front and back of house staff, fans of his would line the windows looking in trying to grab a picture of him.
When I visited they had already been open and had quite the momentum of customers. We stuck around that day for when they did open for dinner to grab photos and literally there was a line down the hall waiting to get in! I’ve never seen that before. I don’t blame them, the Italian fare I photographed and tried was top notch. The lasagna was perfect with its layers of meat and sauce, the artichoke heart appetizer was so tasty, the mozzarella was the freshest, the list can go on. Working with Michael was great, he was down to earth and a good honest cook. We captured some lifestyle shots of him slicing meat, and some environmental portraits of him in one of the dining rooms.
The staff of Borgata that helped with the shoot were very welcoming and clearly took hospitality seriously. I highly recommend checking out the Borgata casino if you’ve never been. Even if you don’t gamble go for the stores and stay for the food.
Chestnuts roasting on a open fire might work for some but the oven works just as good. I’ll get into that in a minute but first want to talk about these unique treats. Weeks leading up to Thanksgiving the holidays start filling our heads and seasonal dishes filling our stomachs. A favorite past time treat are roasted chestnuts. To some this seems like a foreign food and only know of it by the famous Nat King Cole melody but chestnuts and the trees they come from date back to the 1900’s in the United States. The American Chestnut Foundation in the early 1980’s wanted to revive the nut in all its glory especially since a terrible fungus earlier destroyed a large amount of the forests containing these trees.
Around the holidays in the US you can find street vendors roasting the chestnuts and selling by the bag. This method of using chestnuts is also vastly popular in Europe!
How I roast chestnuts is I start with the flat side down on a cutting board and make an “X” slit through the skin of the nut. Then I briefly soak the nuts in hot water then drain and dry. Once they are dried I toss the nuts with melted butter, salt, pepper, and sage. I lay them out on a foil lined cookie sheet gathering the edges to create a large opening around the chestnuts. I roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 35 minutes. The skin where you made the “X” should be peeling back. Once removed from the oven let rest till you can touch them and peel back the skin. You want to eat the meaty, buttery inside of the nut.
These nuts can go bad so when shopping for them make sure the skin doesn’t have blemishes. An ideal nut is a vibrant chestnut color, and smooth.
This was such a fun day and everything went smoothly. I can’t stress enough how important pre production to a photo shoot really is. The more planning, communicating with agency, client, and team the better the day will go. We finished our shoot on time if not a little early! Also it’s really nice when you have two amazing assistants on hand. This shoot for Stevia In The Raw was highlighting their newly designed packaging for print ads across many popular food magazines in addition some very tasty recipes using the product. The hero shot was really cool because we worked with Hinge; a 2D/3D animation studio in Portland that created a really cute gingerbread man character that they placed in my photograph for the final!
For the recipes they were all amazing, but I think my personal favorite was the chocolate espresso pizzelles. The expresso buttercream sandwiched between the two pizzelles was so good! Luckily Lisa my stylist made extras, haha! Lisa did a fantastic job creating the other recipes as well. She made the gingerbread butterscotch trifle cups that created these beautiful layers. The grand finale recipe was the chocolate peppermint truffle tart. She had sourced spearmint leaves fresh from a garden that topped the tart so perfectly. It made it picture perfect! Make sure to keep an eye out for my Stevia In The Raw shots and take a minute to see our B.T.S. video.
It was great to be back at Le Bus Bakery! A long time favorite client of mine needed some new photography for new brochures AND they have grown so much since I’ve seen them. Their facilities have amazing new oven equipment expanding their capabilities on creating fresh bread. They have always had a variety of artisan breads from loaves to macaroons, and burger buns. The talent in their bakery is unreal! No wonder they have such a large spread of clients to the restaurant industry and right to consumers. If you make it out to the King of Prussia area make sure to stop at their outlet store. Yum!
It was a fun day packed with shooting their fresh bread working with their marketing department seeing their newly designed brochure and taking shots to help fill their needs. After we finished with shooting their products we got to visit the updated bakery where they have all their new bakery equipment, updated loading dock, and packaging area which overall makes production smoother, quicker, and easier for the bakery employees. Still putting out that quality hand rolled dough. It’s really great to see.
Here’s a re-cap from my recent shoot at The Standard in the East Village. This bar was gorgeous and just steps from The Cooper Union, another site to see. It’s always great when working with The Village Voice because they really let you be creative with the subject matter for their stories. This was a fun shoot with bartender Natasha Sofia mixing the drink “No Problem” from the menu. I’m not a huge mixed cocktail drinker but if you can mask the taste of the alcohol i’m good to go! Also what I loved about this drink was the garnish. The vibrant slice of orange dipped in a red salt really completed this drink. Read the whole story here: http://www.villagevoice.com/2017/05/17/mezcals-moment/
Right after Easter weekend I was on a flight to sunny Tampa, Florida for a week shoot at the new Features Gastropub inside the Riverview movie theater apart of Goodrich Quality Theaters out of the midwest. I was recommend for this job by friend and celebrity chef Brian Duffy. I was so excited for this job, not just because it was in Florida but the concept of the restaurant by Brian had some delicious entrees and beers on tap to try. Something I’ve rarely seen before is they had wine on tap! What?!! I got to work with the local and talented Marlene Forand for the week on executing the dishes and really bringing the ingredients to life. We had fun incorporating the wall signage in the background and making the dishes feel heroic. One of the coolest offerings they had was their Feature Fry Tower. This was stacked high of fries, shaved ham, provolone cheese, bacon, mozzarella and side sauces, yum!! I hope to go back soon and catch a movie in the theater. If you find yourself in the area for vacation make sure and stop by.
This past photo shoot we were doing some new advertising work for Don Julio; a true tequila brand. Having the client there and explain the true authenticity and story behind the brand was really great. The images we captured were really introducing the use of Don Julio tequila with a very popular Mexican drink; the Paloma. It’s a great mix of the Reposado and grapefruit juice. A very refreshing drink on a hot summer day. What was important to the client was getting across the grapefruit in the drink. We tried grapefruit peels and wedges. My food stylist was able to source really pretty grapefruit that weren’t too overbearing in the shot. I was able to enhance the pinkness in the fruit so it didn’t look like an orange. They really like the authenticity in the environment so we added water, condensation, and loose salt.
Food Stylist: Lisa Homa
Prop Stylist: Deb Donahue
With beverage work comes pours and splashes. I’ve found I was lacking some of that in my portfolio and have lost out on projects because I didn’t have that aspect. Getting this integrated into my work was no easy task and there is a lot of trial and error in getting that perfect pour or splash. There are ways to accomplish this type of photography with sound and laser triggers getting it exactly where you want it when you throw your liquid into the air. For my first time I was concentrating on using the right strobe equipment and keeping my setups simple but conceptual that still showcased my creativity but showed an understanding how to get that shot. If you want your pours midair with little to know ghosting on your shots using the Broncolor Scoro’s were the way to go. I used 2-3 heads per shot giving a nice fill light without washing out the clear liquids. Water was the most efficient way to practice and get neat shots midair. I really enjoyed how the final image came out after post processing. The other great thing with Broncolor was I was able to use the Profoto modifiers (personally are better than Broncolors) on Broncolor heads. They had speed rings that could adapt to Profoto softboxes. If you plan to try and capture pours or splashes I’d advise buying tarps from Home Depot and having extra towels because you will make a mess.
It was so exciting to get the call for a new push Aramark was doing for their annual report and other advertising outlets. They wanted something fresh and to really "raise the bar" on their offerings to potiental clients. They are the 2nd largest in the food business in North America and have clients all over in different capacities. We had a day of shooting food items on different surfaces creating unique environments. Debbie Wahl handled the food styling and Lisa Russell did props. The agency creative flew in from California and Aramark came to the shoot. We had a lot of fun and came out with really exciting work! You can see a little B.T.S. below.
I've finally found some time to gather some of my tears and advertising work I've done over the years. It's exciting to go back to some of my older work and see how my current work compares! Can't wait to create more new work for my clients and continue to update my commissioned section. I currently have some projects in the works and plan to add those in the coming months.
Conceptual projects for me come together through daily experiences and things I see that inspire. I really want to develop some unique “mini” series of conceptual shoots that show another side of my capabilities to clients and potential clients. My latest series Condiments really came together nicely. My vision and what I wanted to accomplish with colors, lighting, and camera angle happened exactly the way I envisioned. Constantly practicing the craft can really pay off.
The list of condiments was an ongoing discussion of just using the weirdest condiments in the world, to unique condiments, then to iconic condiments. I have others on the list and if you see any I should photograph I would love to hear your thoughts!
For this particular series I really want to put together a special promotional piece at the end of the year showcasing these images and include a little leave behind that represents the idea.
Just wanted to share a quick recap from a recent shoot for New Jersey Monthly! They asked me to shoot this charming restaurant near Asbury Park, New Jersey called Cave, A Paleo Eatery. I’m always interested in different diet plans people choose to live by and Paleo is certainly one many people know! It was great chatting with Chef Doug Stehle; chef and owner of the restaurant who eats a Paleo diet and runs his restaurant as one. The staff was super friendly and excited to see me there taking photos. The restaurant itself used to be owned by a antique dealer and when it was sold to Doug the previous owner still had some items there for sale. It gave the restaurant a unique feel. Also Doug is a surfer and being near the ocean there was appropriately placed surf boards he owned decorating the restaurant! All the items on his menu were dairy and gluten free. I tasted a couple things from the menu and I have to say their desserts were nothing like I had before. Their brownie was so rich and packed with chocolate it was the best thing I’ve ever had. There was also bacon on top! It probably took me 2 or 3 sittings to actually finish it. Also the chocolate chip cookies were stuffed with chocolate chips and the cookie itself was soft just like a homemade cookie. If you make a trip this way I would certainly stop in for lunch or dinner.