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’m not a crazy drinking girl; at least since I turned 21… A Dry January has been a thing for a little while and I’m sure people were doing it before the internet came around. Dry January is essentially putting down the alcoholic drinks for 1 month. January seems to be the best time to do it, after the holidays, it’s a new year and a new you! Why not start it off healthy. That’s exactly how I feel and being a health nut anyway it made sense.
There are plenty of articles out there that explain it’s roots and benefits, one being here: https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/alcohol-dry-january-fd.html
My personal goals and journey though January have been positive and I do feel I see a difference. One thing that stands out for me is my skin/face isn’t so red, and dry. Alcohol actually dehydrates your skin! I don’t feel bloated in the morning. Sometimes I would after drinking with dinner. Sleep is a big plus for me! I do like my sleep and being healthy a good night sleep is a must. Not drinking improves it even more for me. I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night if I had a drink and be impossible to fall back asleep. Overall the month of dry is something I don’t mind and enjoy. I don’t drink a lot in the first place but this yearly routine centers me and gets me ready for the rest of 2018. After doing this in the past I’ve really curbed my drinking and stick to it with just a couple drinks on the weekends.
Are you ready? Pick any month and just keep note of how you feel and interact with people.
Get the latest issue of Imbibe magazine and see the exciting story on Dr. Patrick McGovern; U Penn’s director of bimolecular archaeology project. Using his knowledge and experience in extracting various ingredients used in drink residues all the way to King Tut’s Tomb! Patrick and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery got to work together on the amazing project and had created the beer we love today Midas Touch. Since the creation of this beer it has won various awards in tasting competitions nationwide. PICKUP A COPY TODAY. Article written by Joshua M. Bernstein.
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/
This idea between myself and fiance Joe has been tossed around for awhile; In what capacity can we work together? We are both commercial photographers specializing in different fields people automatically would assume, "You guys should combine forces and work together!" That is not something we wanted to do. I run my business and have my clients and so does Joe. Ignoring the fact though that we are together and in the same business wasn't going to work forever. We have been able to meet on this idea of working on a blog together! We both have passions for food, drink, and travel and both of us touch on this personally and professionally so it seemed to be a good platform to get started!
After a long couple days of brainstorming we were able to come up with the very creative and catchy blog The Pictured Kitchen
This has been live for about a week and we have a supporting Instagram handle @thepicturedkitchen which we are excited to populate with our personal journeys, recipes, drink tips and tricks! If you have anything you would like to contribute or comment on we would love to hear from you.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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! :)
For this shoot I wanted the wine to feel very sophisticated and moody. How I created this image was I had a main light streaking in from the far left side of set just to hit the background burlap. From there I was able to angle my off camera mirrors and reflective paper in front to spot light individual labels. For the right side of frame I wanted a clean strip of light so I had my large 3x4 softbox just hitting some of the bottles and panning the head toward the back of set for less light to hit it. Working with the mirrors and reflective papers for shoots is always fun and experimental. I have so many different cuts and a handful of colors to work with. It can really add a level of mystery to the light.
This was fun to photograph and also very challenging because it involved so much ice! I could see myself revisiting this shoot and re-doing it now knowing the difficulty of shooting so much ice at one time and it all looking good.
The history of the mint julep is interesting but the presentation to me is what really sparked my interest. The stainless steel cup and bright grouping of fresh mint drew my eye in. After doing research and reading about the drink it was almost like a slushy for adults which I think any adult would be OK with.
1 tablespoon Mint Simple Syrup
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) bourbon
1 (4-inch) cocktail straw or coffee stirrer
1 fresh mint sprig
Powdered sugar (optional)
2015 is coming to an end. I continue to grow and learn as a photographer and business owner. There are many things I can say about this past year and where I see myself in the future, however I always like to turn to inspirational quotes by successors I’ve learned from who just say it so much better. Let’s raise a glass and cheers to 2016!
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney