It’s so exciting to be apart of a great community of women photographers working in the commercial field. I met Keren Sachs when she was at Offset and was wonderful to work with. She recently started TheLuupe which I’m so happy to be apart of! They recently featured me on their blog. You can see the whole interview here! https://theluupe.com/blog/2019/08/27/felicia-perretti-breaks-food-photographys-cliches-with-pure-imagination/
A day in the life with Rachel Fontana, strategic communications for Sagamore Spirits. What a job! It was a amazing shoot walking around Manhattan with writer, David Ransom visiting various bars and restaurants where the whiskey can be found. Coming up on their 2 year anniversary the spirit has gained national recognition as well as winning the best rye whiskey at the San Francisco world spirits competition! I’m not a whiskey drinker but Rachel introduced me to their signature whiskey in a cocktail recipe and was blown away. Another unique trait to the brand is the attention to detail in the making of their bottle. They are proud to be born in Maryland and designed the bottle with state representation in mind.
See more here:
Experience the Distillery:
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.”…
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: email@example.com
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/
Putting a video together isn’t simply picking up a video camera and shooting. Just like in still photography you sketch out the idea and start to visualize what you want. With a storyboard you sketch out how each scene will develop. Even if it’s 2-3 second clip, what is going into that visual? Also like shooting any production what’s most important is the planning and communicating it to the team. The more organized and planned you are for the day of the shoot everything will go smoother and no time or money is wasted!
Making a storyboard can be sketched out anyway, but usually it’s a number of rectangles(where you draw your vision) followed by lines or an area to write your specific notes on the action, if there’s script, lighting, and camera angle. You can sketch literally by hand or composite stock photos together or magazine clippings. Get creative! The rectangles ideally would fit the 16:9 ratio as video. I usually use the program Keynote, it’s a simple software that you can change and edit with by using text and images.
Despite the crazy snow we had the shoot must go on! Reynard; a great restaurant in Brooklyn below the Wythe Hotel, and steps from The Brooklyn Brewery. I got to work with the new chef Christina Lecki who worked under April Bloomfield in the past. The kitchen has an amazing wood-fired hearth perfect for photo backdrops. Chef Lecki is really experimenting with simple, meaningful dishes packed with honest flavors. Keeping it simple I feel is always best and not going crazy with 100 ingredients for a dish. We were there capturing all her new dishes which are seasonal. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so there was quite the array of food. My personal favorite was the Socca dish. Runner up was the bone broth soup poured table side. Delicious! Especially with the snow falling outside. The plates were made by Jono Pandolfi which had some weight and earthiness to them, tying in great with the food palate. If you haven’t been here in the past make sure to stop by soon!
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.
This was exciting news to find out I won The Culinary Trust Award for Food Photography That Makes a Difference for 2017! IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) is the food industry community you need to be apart of. First started by Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and Anne Willan in the mid 70’s. This organization has evolved into bigger and better offerings with today including people in the food industry beyond chefs. The photography aspect of IACP is very important to me because it’s my specialty; food and beverage. The opportunities to network and get my work noticed like entering their contest is very valuable for me. My personal series I did on chicken processing was so unique I had to enter it in this years contest. It was exciting news when I heard I was a nominee for my category!
You can see the full series from this shoot on my past blog post here: http://www.perrettiphotography.com/perrettiphotography/2016/10/6/personal-series-from-the-farm-chicken-slaughter
See all nominees for categories here: http://www.iacp.com/awards/food-photography-awards/2017-food-photography-styling-finalists/
The holidays are an exciting time with the music, snow, gift shopping, and seasonal cocktails. It was exciting when a friend and photo editor reached out to me for a project for Village Voice! Myself and food stylist Jill Keller got to go around to 6 different bars in New York photographing 6 signature drinks the bar and bartenders worked on. Also it was great to reference if you wanted to try and make it at home for yourself. Each bar was very unique and fun to check out. I think my personal favorite was Miracle On 9th Street pop up bar by Nico de Soto. The bar was decorated like my grandma’s house around the holidays. There were so many nostalgic Christmas decorations. The drinks were served in these cute cups that looked like Santa. It was really exciting because after the story ran Bon Appetit Magazine was also doing coverage of the bar! Nico was doing live demo of making the drinks. I got to work with talented food stylists Jill Keller and we hopped around town going to each bar. It was fun!
Bermuda as they would say was Bermudaful! Any vacation or excuse to get away and relax is a good one. When going into a foreign country I like to keep an open mind and open schedule and really just let the culture guide me. Bermuda is a British territory in the North Atlantic. There is a distinct blend of British and American culture. Everyone on the island is friendly, and everyone knows each other. There was no language barrier, and with everyone being helpful and kind it was a easy place to get around. What I was looking forward to other than the amazing views was the food. Fish is a big competent to the island which makes sense. It was only natural to have their amazing fish chowder. Another great fish dish I had was the local famous fish sandwich from Fish and Tings. Wow! I could not finish this. There were a handful of places on the island that did make this sandwich but I’m glad I went with Fish and Tings because they also had amazing jerk chicken. The fish sandwich traditionally is made with coco bread and filled to the gills (pun intended) with fried fresh fish. Also on the sandwich was lettuce, tomato, and tarter sauce. Yum!
Overall the food and restaurants were great. I also had dinner at the Pickled Onion and Hog Penny. As far as I had British food I would have to say Hog Penny was the best. I had an amazing yorkshire pudding dinner which really hit the spot after all my rum drinking! haha. The local Gosling’s Rum was great in Eggnog and the signature rum swizzle. Another big drink on the island was the dark and stormy.
There were plenty of places and food I did not get to try but you can only fit in so much when you do have the time. So I will certainly be planning a trip back and if you haven’t been I highly recommend it. Did I mention it’s only about a 2 hour flight?!
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.
Where did we leave off? Oh yes! Amazing food…
Other than chocolates, condiments, and cheese the snack food options were extensive. Personally if I really need to snack or have something savory it has to be a type of cracker or chip. Popcorn is hard for me to eat unless it’s at the movies so this review is certainly a personal preference. At the end of one of the aisles a big bright display of Way Better Snacks was calling my name. The bright neon display and modern design of these chips was really cool. Their actual branding on their bags was very easy to read and nicely put together. What made this a top pick for me was their choice of ingredients. They sprout their own seeds and make this great cracker base of flax, quinoa, and chia. At the show I tried their sweet potato chip and it was so good! Also this brand sold a sriracha flavor. They provided me with a media kit on a really cool USB reiterating their branding.
Something else I came across that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before was canned chicken! Not chicken of the sea…tuna but actual canned chicken! For me I eat healthy and have a pretty consistence diet. Beside eating tuna fish, chicken is up there in my meals. What deters me from making chicken is the whole process of making it. I get boneless skinless chicken breasts and pan sear or bake when I want. I have to grease the pan and then make dishes to wash. Or I will buy a rotisserie chicken then have to separate from the bones wasting some food and still making a mess. The canned chicken is just as easy and opening a can of tuna. I was able to try the chicken and it tasted fresh. The brand is called Wild Planet and the sales person said they carry it at Whole Foods. I’ll have to look for this next time, also she gave me some coupons. Other products they make is canned tuna, sardines, but canned chicken was pretty unique.
On a different food note, there was a modest chef and his team making jambalaya and sampling it. Wow! I was blown away! It was jarred and on it said “As Seen on Food Network Best Thing I Ever Ate” They weren’t kidding. I haven’t had too much jambalaya in my life but this stuff was amazing and easy to prep. The product was called Raz’z Foods.
Other notable moments from this year’s Fancy Food Show was the intense soccer game between Spain and Italy. For a couple hours during the show everyone seemed to forget about it and just watch the game. It was quite comical to see. In the end Italy won! Sunday night was the opening night for the show and with that they had a great party. There was music, passed appetizers, open bar, and more food! haha.
Another great year at the Fancy Food Show in New York City. Once again I was overwhelmed with the innovative food and beverages that came out. There is a real passion for food from the people that come out to this event. It’s not just about getting your product noticed but being excited to share what you have created and to make a difference. The quantity of vendors are hard to cover closely over just 3 days. You certainly have to go in with a plan on what your looking for and what to accomplish.
I feel my first takeaways or what I noticed overall at the event was the several different types of chocolate vendors. There’s nothing wrong with chocolate but there was a lot of show for that this year! Another condiment I noticed that still is very popular but has more varieties of it is Sriracha. The one brand that stood out to me the most was the local New York Bushwick Kitchen brands. I remember them from last year and their booth and packaging are very easy to read. Less is more I always think. I tried their Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha which had a great flavor and texture! It wasn’t a smooth sauce which was unique in a good way. Another brand of sauce that I really liked and is also a newer brand at the show was Fix Hot Sauce. They had a Sriracha sauce that was really amazing! I see this brand going far.
There were plenty more condiments I came across and was in abundance just like the chocolate. Last year’s big condiment; Sir Kensington was featuring their new vegan mayo this year called Fabanaise. It was made with the juice aquafaba which you find in cans of chickpeas.
When it came to branding that stood out, and bonus if it was really tasty Slap Ya Mama Cajun products took the gold. I couldn’t stop laughing to myself about that name. The way it sounded and with it’s southern personality was just funny! I tried their Cajun pepper sauce which was so flavorful and perfect spicy. The sales guy told me, if you had a little butter you have your perfect buffalo sauce, and he was right. I was able to take home some seasoning packets, can’t wait to use those. Other brands and booths did jump out. There are so many vendors who have to have something unique about your product to catch my eye. One product that had classy and well designed packaging was Suckerpunch. The mix of color and old world illustration looked really nice. They were sampling some of their pickles which were really good. A cocktail mix Bittermilk also had some impressive design. Same idea of the old world look but with a modern approach. The mixtures were good, I sampled their Tom Collins. An extension of the brand that was also there and had good design was their brand Tippleman’s.
Another big showmanship at the event was gingerbeer. Who would of thought, I feel every year there are a couple more companies there selling gingerbeer. It’s all very good and could be the new soda before we know it. Of the several gingerbeers I saw and tried I will have to mention Top Note. They recently re-did their branding which was well thought out. The color schemes was interesting but worked well. The product itself was very tasty too.
This show has a lot to cover, I just mentioned some of the US offerings above. Their international reach is another overwhelming factor. I have a little more to say and will have in another post.
How was your Memorial Day weekend? What type of grilling did you tackle? For us we did a nice dry rub spare rib recipe. Color is always important and using the right amount of paprika really makes a difference. These were also on the spicy side, a nice change up from the usual BBQ sauce rub.
-1/2 cup turbino sugar
-1/4 cup normal paprika
-1/4 cup smoked paprika
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon pepper
-1 tablespoon onion powder
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1/2 teaspoon ground thyme heaping
-1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaves sparingly
-yellow mustard rubbed on base of meat (makes the seasoning stick!)
*Let it soak overnight in fridge
-Baked 300 degrees 3 hours cover in foil
- Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes
Working as a commercial photographer in such a competitive world today setting yourself apart can be a challenge. When talking with other photographers and always being asked what do you do to separate yourself from the noise, I feel it’s your personal work that can really make a difference. Myself like many other photographers always have a running list of personal projects they are working on or would like to start. These are the sole vision of yourself that no one else can replicate! For me I love finding the humor in food and practicing lighting setups that I normally don’t work within to add a challenge and to see something different. With this personal project Transformation it was just that. I shot this idea a few years back and it still continues to draw new viewers in and enjoy looking at the series. It’s really exciting to see a project like this gain so much traction since shooting it and continuing to get myself and my work noticed.
APA is a great photo organization I belong to and they really showed an interest in my personal project, so much that they wanted to feature it! I was so excited to hear this I wasted no time coordinating for an interview and getting the photos to their designer. These moments really make what I do enjoyable and couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
If your just getting into the business I have to say stay hungry and shoot often!
Link to the online publication Spring Issue of APA Proof Sheet: https://issuu.com/apany/docs/proof-sheet_spring2016_single
Photo Organization APA: http://www.apany.com/
If anyone knows me, they know I have an appreciation for good beer. Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, NY has a variety of some of the best beers in the country. I knew of their brews before they became famous with the Game of Thrones specialty beer they put together. HBO came to them with the idea to create beer for the show! I’ve been in contact with the brewery before about working together, and finally the timing was right. Ommegang had recently redesigned their labels and needed updating for their brochure. There are about 8-9 beers that were re-done that needed to be photographed and paired with a food entree that spoke to the beer as well as their restaurant at the brewery. We planned the shoot around half of that because some were more of a priority than others. It was great working with these guys because of the creative freedom in the food styling and final recipes as well as the general prop direction. The shots had to have a rustic feel and clean background if they needed to run text over them. The main purpose for these shots was to update their brochure so vertical shots were needed. Working with my team and the designer from the brewery was a lot of fun and the day went smooth. In the video I included just a couple of my favorite final shots.
*That cheese and meat spread was something! :)