CASE STUDY: Home Electronics

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Creative Direction: Big Leo prop stylist Ed Gallagher and I collaborated on a project to showcase some of the sleekest and stylish electronics for the home. With the creative freedom and the ability to use some of the top brands in electronics, as well as decor from Home Goods, the resulting images showcase that functionality and beauty can co-exist. 


Crew: Prop Stylist

Featured Brands: Sonos, Amazon, Sony, Audio Technica, Tivoli Audio, Home Goods

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CASE STUDY: Solar System

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Client: Personal Project

Creative direction: My frequent collaborator, the food stylist Kristin Stangl, had a thought: What if we used food to represent the Solar System? That question inspired our self-directed series of images. We researched each planet and the sun, using food and cooking techniques to capture characteristics like temperature, topography and atmosphere. We show the sun as a golden disc of caramelized sugar. Venus, with its volcanic landscape and average temperature of more than 800°F, is represented with a French onion soup topped with molten cheese. Earth is an arrangement of salt-baked fish and lettuces to depict its surface of water and land. We both loved researching and creating this personal project. 

Crew: Food stylist Kristin Stangl


CASE STUDY: Culture Magazine- Doughnuts & Cheese

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Client: Culture magazine

Creative direction: Donuts and cheese might not seem like natural partners, but the editorial team from Culture magazine celebrated this unexpected (and unexpectedly delicious!) combination. For their annual pairings issue, I worked with the magazine’s editor and outside design firm Red Herring to capture different cheese pairings, including jam, wine, honey—and, yes, donuts! We also shot a layout that featured hand lettering created with honey. I love working with clients who are passionate about what they do, and the Culture team are such enthusiastic collaborators. 

Crew: Culture magazine editor, Red Herring (agency) art director, food stylist, cheesemonger


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CASE STUDY: Anne of Green Gables

Client: Quarto Publishing

Creative direction: L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables” is a classic of children’s literature, with its depiction of the heroine’s life on Prince Edward Island in the early 20th century. For this reissue of “The Anne of Green Gables Coobkook,” written by Montgomery’s granddaughter, we re-created the era and setting of Anne’s story. We photographed the 25 recipes, all inspired by foods mentioned in Montgomery’s beloved book, on location in a circa-1900s home in Upstate New York. An inspiration board guided our choices of vintage wallpapers, linens, tea service and other props — the shoot was a delightful step back in time. 

Crew: Quarto art director, food stylist, food stylist assistant, photo assistant

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CASE STUDY: Tyson Tastemakers


Client: Tyson Tastemakers brand

Creative direction: It was exciting for me to be in on the ground floor of a totally new brand from Tyson. Tastemakers is a line of prepared meal kits sold in retail stores and through Amazon. Because the brand competes with meal-delivery services, we wanted the images to look professional, yet approachable. Over a multi-day shoot in Chicago, I produced a series of three different types of images: straightforward product shots on white seamless, finished dishes in table settings, and groupings of ingredients and dishes on a marble background. Working with the agency and client teams, I created images that show the consumer what the cooked meal looks like in an appetizing, engaging way.  

Crew: VML: account team, creative director, producer. Tyson: brand manager & associate brand manager. Photo: digital tech, prop stylist, prop assistant, food stylist, food stylist assistant, producer, production coordinator


CASE STUDY: Jimmy Dean

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Client: Jimmy Dean

Creative direction: This project for Jimmy Dean had two components: a library of recipe photos and a series of product shots. I worked closely with the creative teams from agencies VML and Ogilvy and from the client in studios in Chicago and New York. We developed a contemporary, casual look for the recipes, using texture, color and carefully placed fresh elements to give a warm and inviting feel. For the product series, we placed the items in a sunny kitchen setting, as if they’d just been unpacked from a grocery bag. 

Crew: Creative teams from VML, Ogilvy and the client; food stylist, food stylist assistant; prop stylist, prop stylist assistant; photo assistant


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CASE STUDY:

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Client: Wine Spectator

Creative direction: I loved that this editorial shoot let me explore a different visual style. I worked with the team from Wine Spectator and chef Victor Flores on the cover and feature package for the magazine’s tequila issue. In fact, the style was also a departure for the magazine, which usually spotlights bottles against a white background; instead, the textured blue backdrop for the cover makes the whole scene almost look painted. For the article spotlighting Chef Flores’s recipes, we referenced cookbooks and food magazines from the 1970s. The photos feature lots of bold color, stylized propping, strong light and deep shadows to evoke a lavish holiday meal in the chef’s native Mexico. 

Crew: Prop stylist, prop stylist assistant, Wine Spectator photo director and editor, chef Victor Flores and his assistant


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CASE STUDY: Color


Client: Personal project

Creative direction: I’m constantly looking to explore new creative directions, play with different looks and develop new styles for my photography — it’s part of my life as a creative person. Food stylist Julia Choi and I had fun producing this series of color studies based on Pantone’s 2017 color forecast. Inspired by hues like Flame, Yarrow and Greenery (Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year), we assembled a group of images showcasing bold colors, simple props, natural light and deep shadows. We created a bit of movement in each image — drizzling honey, scattered crumbs — to give the work a dynamic quality. The project offered a great opportunity to test ideas and techniques that Julia and I can bring to our client work.

Crew: food stylist


CASE STUDY: Gregory's Coffee

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Client: Gregory's Coffee

Creative direction: We wanted these photos to make you feel like you’re standing in a Gregory’s Coffee store: surrounded by sights, enticing aromas and activity. We created a full library of images for the company’s new website and mobile app, shooting in one of their cafés, in Gregory’s roasting facility and bakery. My visual approach sparked from the brand’s black logo and “rural industrial” interior aesthetic; I used dark backgrounds and high contrast to make the coffee drinks and baked goods really pop. Shooting on location with real employees brought a vibrant energy to the images, making Gregory’s feel like “the place to be.

Crew: Prop stylist, food stylist, photo assistant



CASE STUDY: Black and White


Client: Personal project

Creative direction: After working on a number of client projects involving bold color, I wanted to experiment with black and white. Master food stylist Charlotte Omnès and I collaborated on this series: We gathered interesting food products and kitchen tools, and assembled them into vignettes based on a whimsical or eye-catching central object. We created distinctive groupings of food and objects that reminded us of classical still life paintings. As you can tell we were heavily inspired by Irving Penn. Each shot has a theme, like “Hunter-Gatherer,” which includes bones, plants, quail eggs and other unexpected items.

I always wondered why there isn’t much BW food photography out there, and after I finished this personal project, I understand why! Light, shadow and arrangement are especially challenging when you’re working in black and white. Explorations like this allow me to sharpen my skills and expand my capabilities.

 

Crew: food stylist Charlotte Omnès