Drinks and Desserts, but mostly Drinks

We recently produced the photography for this Ruby Tuesday drink and dessert menu. I love these projects—I get to work with a wonder client and a super crew—food and drink styling by Whitney Kemp and Teresa Blackburn and retouching by Tony Richardson just to name a few. We shot this in studio with the goal of making it look as though it were out on location at a Ruby Tuesday restaurant and bar.

Ruby Tuesday Drink and Dessert Menu - Drink Photography

Ruby Tuesday Drink and Dessert Menu - Drink Photography

Ruby Tuesday Drink and Dessert Menu - Drink Photography

Ruby Tuesday Drink and Dessert Menu - Drink Photography

Ruby Tuesday Drink and Dessert Menu - Drink Photography

Ruby Tuesday Drink and Dessert Menu - Drink Photography

Ruby Tuesday Drink and Dessert Menu - Drink Photography

Ruby Tuesday Drink and Dessert Menu - Drink Photography

Ruby Tuesday Drink and Dessert Menu - Food Photography

I suppose this is where I should insert some clever quip about “happy hour” or the “drinks on me”…but I’ve got nothin’. I need to brush up on my puns or find someone to write my material.
–Kyle

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Last Week’s Highs and Lows

My wife introduced our family to a little dinner-time game to engage our boys around the dinner table…us boys don’t offer much talking on our own. Around the table each of us waits our turn and gives our “high” and “low” for the day. During the school year our boys have the predictable standard answers—High? “Recess”. Low? Insert any school subject here…usually Math. I remember having similar answers when I was in elementary school and my parents would ask what my favorite part of my day was, except my answer was usually “lunch.” Go figure. Even as an adult (I use that term loosely) I find it difficult to come up with answers for my high and low. So today I’m trying to at least identify a high and a low for the week. Who knows, maybe I’ll get better at this and make it a regular thing here.

I’ll start with the Low since that’s usually easier for me to think of.

This week’s Low?

Trying (AKA not succeeding) to get a rouge router to communicate with the network printers in my office. Why does 192.168.0.1 refuse to communicate with 192.168.0.103? Why don’t they just give these devises friendly names like Ronnie Router and Patricia Printer so they can all shake hands and get along? I don’t care if it’s a DHCP issue. Just stop the bickering and work together.

This week’s High(s)?

1. Having my boys assist me on a small food photography shoot. I was doing a simple little food product test for a comp and thought the boys would enjoy seeing how things work on a photo shoot. Yes, I had a 10 year old Digital Tech, an 8 year old Grip and a 6 year old Camera Operator. What I found really funny was how quickly they picked up on their specific responsibilities and took ownership. It was quite a fun little exercise—and yes, I paid them—they earned it. They were even providing some useful art direction. I think it might be time to officially be scared that they could end up in the creative business. Oh, did I mention our test shot was cheesecake? Another high!

New York Cheesecake with Cherry Pie Filling Topping

2. Walking into my somewhat usual coffee spot (Frothy Monkey) only to be greeted by loud construction noises which are counter to peace I was going there for. I know this sounds like a “low” but hang with me here. As I walked into construction zone Frothy I did a complete u-turn without missing a step and proceeded back to my car taking a maiden voyage to a new (to me) coffee spot down the street in the 12-South area where they make a mean frozen Chai. Portland Brew.

3. Going to the Dollar Movie in Greenhills to see The Adventures of Tintin with Amy and the boys. Wow, what a fun, creative, well done, captivating movie.

4. Enjoying a late night at the park with the family, sitting on a blanket, listening to the Kadillacs and watching fireworks on the 4th of July.

Well, that was a fun exercise. I didn’t anticipate having so many things to share. Perhaps it’s the Double Mocha I had that’s turned me in to a Chatty Cathy this morning. Add Double Mocha to the Highs list.

-Kyle

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Pondering Pie Week

There’s no better time for pie than summer. Well, summer and fall. Make that summer, fall and spring, …and winter, too. Yes, for me pie is welcome year-round…it deserves equal rights. Long live pies! Long live pies!! …sorry…got carried away there. Where was I? Oh, yes, Pie. Anytime. Good. (Just so you know, I’m not opposed to pumpkin pie in May or April or any other month.) But today, being that summer is well upon us with record temperatures here in Tennessee my mind is particularly fixated on summer-esque pies—like apple pie and cherry pie.

Apple Pie

One summer after my junior year at Baylor I lived with my Grandma Dreier in Hesston, Kansas. It had been a tough year at school for me but for my Grandmother she was about to embark on her first summer without my Grandpa Dreier, and summer without Grandpa meant the days of fishing, gardening and visiting local community events wouldn’t be the same for her. So, it was just the two of us for the summer. While the usual G. O. U. S. (garden of unusual size) wasn’t going to make a showing this year the cherry tree in the back was going forward without Grandpa with its annual production—and producing it was.

Grandma Dreier was a pie maker. Not professionally (that distinction would be for Aunt Joan) but she approached her pies with great intention and dedication. Before the holidays in anticipation of the whole family coming (eighteen or so of us) she would do a trial run on baking her pies. She was all about making sure she still had it—and had it she did—making the perfect crust and filling, baking to perfection and then testing the results, and that’s where I exercised my talent—eating. Yes, I was often the beneficiary of these pie trials as I would arrive days before the rest of the family.

Cherry Pie

But, back to summer with Grandma Dreier…she taught me how to make pies. I had a pretty good working knowledge as my mom is a great pie maker as well, but being in-residence with a pie maker of Grandma’s caliber was a bit like learning by emersion. I have very fond memories of learning the hints and tips she had acquired over the years of her making pies.

Now, this week with the 4th of July here already and with NPR declaring this “Pie Week” I’m happy to say that pie is still very much a part of my life…both personally and professionally. Just last week food stylist Teresa Blackburn and I had our own pie happening in preparing a number of pie photographs for a retail packaging client. We ended up with a little extra time to do some personal work with the beautiful pies she had created.

Cherry Pie

When asked “What’s the best time for pie?” my answer is “Now!” And, when asked what my favorite kind of pie is, I can only respond with an enthusiastic “Yes, please!” The only question left to be answered is… with all this talk of pie does cake get jealous? Cake shall get its fair turn. Soon. Very soon.

-Kyle

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Southfork Ranch and Food Photography

What’s a guy like me doing speaking at a women’s photography conference? Well, I’ll be talking about food photography, of course. I get to return to Dallas and spend the day with a fabulous group of speakers at the prestigious Southfork Ranch—where JR got shot in the 1980’s TV show “Dallas.”

I Heart Faces Photography Conference for Women is a day-long event on October 6 with sessions from business practices to photo editing to crafting—all encouraging attendees to Dream Big.

I’ll be leading a session aptly named “Delicious Lighting” where we’ll explore how to see and control light to make great food photography. We’ll talk tools and tricks—and I’ll even sneak in a few food styling techniques as well.

Registration begins May 18. Visit workshop.iheartfaces.com to get more info.

It’ll be fun. I look forward to seeing you there…I’ll be the guy wearing cowboy boots.

-Kyle

ps. I Heart Faces is “an award winning photography website with weekly photo challenges, tutorials, tips & lots of fun! We welcome all levels of photographers, bloggers and moms with cameras.

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Banana Split Art

Food Stylist Whitney Kemp and I embarked on another food art adventure with this Jackson Pollock inspired banana split. Hershey’s Chocolate, Strawberry and Caramel Syrups offered some fun surprises and colors…and they played amazingly well together.

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - 1

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - 2

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - 3

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - 4

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - 5

Here are a couple of details images from the banana split art.

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - Detail 1

Banana Split Art - Food Photography Styling - Detail 2

You can see our earlier Jackson Pollock inspired Hot Dog art where ketchup and mustard provide some interesting interactions.

Stay tuned for what comes next—no one knows, not even Whitney or me.

– Kyle

ps. See more of Whitney’s food styling work here.

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Sunny Side Up and More Bacon

I’m a huge fan of breakfast for dinner. Given the opportunity I like to monopolize the kitchen and transform into a short-order cook. I wish I had a cape. I’m not sure how my kids will one day descibe their dad whipping up french toast, waffles, pancakes, eggs, bacon…and serving it up for dinner. Let me clarify, not all of those at once—that’s simply the spectrum of possibilities.

All the options are great, but there’s something comforting to me about a straightforward eggs and bacon breakfast…er,uh…dinner. Oh heck, breakfast for lunch is good, too. Let’s not get too rigid about when we can have this dynamic combo.

So, herein are a couple of images I did as a part of a new look I’ve been developing. I’m not going to get into the technical aspects of these images but will say that I am enjoying some of the surprises that emerge in the shadows. That reminds me of something a friend of mine (who is a gaffer) said once “We don’t make light, we make shadows.” Yes, I agree. It’s the shadows that make things interesting. On set, we call it “drama” and often ask for more.

So, here’s to more drama! …and breakfast for dinner!

Eggs and Bacon in Pan

Eggs and Bacon on Plate

What about you? What’s for dinner?

– Kyle

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