Fresh Mexican Grill: Salsarita’s

Often times, the studio team is just buzz-buzz-buzzing along, so it’s refreshing to take a moment to sit down and reflect on the mouth-watering work we have been creating. In November we had the pleasure of working with fresh-mex grill, Salsarita’s.

Before shooting, Kyle and I took a lunch time field trip out to the Salsarita’s location in Mt. Juliet, TN to investigate. Our findings… we can wholly confirm, the chips are indeed addictive. And don’t get us started on the hand-mashed guacamole, it’s soo good – you can see the beautiful big chunks of avocado and you can taste that it was freshly hand-mashed. Much like the name suggests, they know a thing or two about making a mean salsa variety, too.

When you’re working with fresh ingredients (and we can’t leave out those addictive tortilla chips, haha), the dynamic food styling duo that is Teresa Blackburn and Whitney Kemp, and have room to creatively play on set, well, it makes our jobs that much more fun and easy to create the fresh, natural and authentic imagery the client (and customer) are craving.

– Emily













Food Photographer • Kyle Dreier  |  Food Stylists • Teresa Blackburn & Whitney Kemp |  Prop Stylist • Emily Pierce


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For The Dogs

We’ve been asked to do pet food in the past. Hey, “food photography” doesn’t mean it’s just people food. When local entrepreneur John Burke of Okra and Molly reached out to us to update his photography, we couldn’t resist. We’re all animal lovers here…some dogs, some cats (Lord help them) and even a chinchilla.

Okra and Molly is a special occasion dog cake company. These cakes are made with dog friendly, nutritious ingredients. John’s heart goes into to these neat little creations to help celebrate man’s best friend.

Here is a small sampling of images we produced for Okra and Molly. (Special thanks to our pet models Logan, Barney and Bella.)

Treat your best friend. Visit Okra and Molly.

– Kyle

Okra and Molly Dog Cakes

Okra and Molly Dog Cakes

Okra and Molly Dog Cakes

Okra and Molly Dog Cakes

Okra and Molly Dog Cakes

Food Photography by Kyle Dreier | Prop Styling by Emily Pierce

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Turkey & Dressing

In between productions we set aside blocks of time to work on our own projects—play days with some focus but still plenty of room for serendipity. You may have seen earlier posts about our ampersand series. As I recover from two full blown Thanksgiving meals I thought I’d share some Thanksgiving related work we did here in the studio recently…yet another “&” food inspired session…”turkey & dressing”.

Not to digress too much, but I did encounter some debate during one Thanksgiving meal about what we call “dressing” and “stuffing.” I guess I’m kinda technical in my position on the subject as I consider “stuffing” what is cooked inside (stuffed into) the turkey. “Dressing”, to me, is what is served with or along side a roasted turkey.

A big thanks to Sara Rounsavall for her food styling excellence, Emily Pierce for prop wrangling and styling, Erica O’Rock for producing and John Love for assisting. I’m thankful for all the talents we bring into each shoot.

– Kyle

carrots and pumpkin pie

blood orange and pumpkin

turkey and dressing ampersand

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Thanksgiving Prep

Thanksgiving is approaching. Winter is coming.

And for this reason, my mind has turned to comfort foods. Warm, gooey, comfort foods.

We just had the privilege of wrapping up a shoot that utilized a lot of texture, contrast, dark and vibrant tones: all the things I think of when I imagine my impending food-fueled winter hibernation. And while we can’t show those images yet, I did dig through our archives to find some images that I felt represented the foods and moods that this type of year brings. These images also provided a lot of inspiration for me as I have recently been volunteered to host Thanksgiving for the first time ever (and might be mildly stressing out about it).

On our shoot this past week, I kept finding myself drawn to the props table to peruse the many warm and unconventional plateware we had… thinking of ways it could be used in one’s own home. I love being able to do this on shoots. Often, we have a prop stylist with a specific creative direction that they’ve been given for each shoot; and they always show up with wonderful goodies that I would have never thought to use for the types of food we are shooting… or would have ever been able to find on my own to be honest. They know the places to look around town and the people to get in touch with to find those odds and ends that you often see in our photos. Needless to say, I got many ideas for my Thanksgiving table and the coming winter months.

I also spent some time on our shoot getting ideas from the food stylists for Thanksgiving. Not recipes specifically, but a lot of tips and tricks that they offered to help take stress off of the actual day. Things I can prepare and make in advance, the best types of foods to make if you want something that can sit for a bit while other things are being made, etc.

It is so nice to have a team of people around that provide great inspiration. It actually got me excited about hosting Thanksgiving and excited about putting all those comfort foods I’ve been dreaming of into a realistic plan (and soon into my stomach). Now, I’m going to dream up the perfect tablescape (and add to my list of plate ware, florals and accents I need to go buy) in order to create the perfect moody, cold-weather, but warm vibes atmosphere.

– Erica

Cinnamon Rolls

Rustic Lamb

Three Soups

Fruit Cake

Food Photography by Kyle Dreier  |  Styling Contributors Sara Rounsavall, Hannah Messinger & Teresa Blackburn

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Teamwork (and woodwork)

You’ve likely heard me say it takes a team to do what we do here at the studio. I’m often referring to the people on set; eg. food stylists, prop stylists, producer, photo assistants…the list goes on. We also get a lot of help outside the studio to make each production go smoothly.

Years ago I stumbled upon Woodstock, a small little wood reclaiming shop just down the road from us here. Now they are a sizable go-to for wonderful reclaimed wood needs here in Nashville. They’ve always been super helpful and very generous—even though we’re not a big client for them.

We recently took some time with them in and around their workspace to capture a few of the Woodstock team in action. See below. Also see some examples of their wood in our food photography photos below.

– Kyle

Woodstock Lumber Nashville

Woodstock Lumber Nashville

Woodstock Lumber Nashville

Woodstock Lumber Nashville

Woodstock Lumber Nashville

kyle dreier nashville food photographer

kyle dreier nashville food photographer

kyle dreier nashville food photographer

Food Photography by Kyle Dreier  |  Styling Contributors Teresa Blackburn & Whitney Kemp

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How I’m Losing All My Music

This morning I was talking to a friend of mine about a new single release by a French electronic band who hasn’t released an album since 2011. This band has a special place in my heart. I have seen them twice. Once in New York City; where my friend Neil and I flew to NYC, landed at 11am, toured New York all day until the concert, which started at 12 a.m. (Yes. Midnight.) Then we flew back home at 7 a.m. that same morning. I didn’t pack a bag and didn’t sleep for over 24 hours. The second time was in Atlanta and this time I went with Neil and my other buddy, John. It’s become a fun tradition between the three of us and we plan on seeing them on their next tour.

Anyway, I was talking to my friend John about the new single and I realized it had probably been a year since I listened to, or even thought to listen to, this band. How could that be? Really, a whole year? There are so many fun memories associated with this band… how could I have forgotten about them? So I started thinking about why that happened and I figured it out. Music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, etc.

Music streaming services have completely stalled the preservation of music for me. Don’t get me wrong, having access to essentially any song you want to hear is amazing most of the time, but for preserving music it is a disaster. I used to have an iPod packed full of music. To find a song I wanted, I would have to scroll through my endless library and see each artist as they went by. That process resulted in seeing the names of bands I hadn’t listened to in a long time. It would reinvigorate my love for them. There were so many times when I’d have a song in mind, but halfway down my artist list, I’d have a “Woah! I haven’t listened to this in forever.” moment.

With streaming services I have a song in mind and I go straight to it. Having the ability to do that is making the shelf life of artists and songs extremely short. In a year, I may not be able to remember the name of the song or even the name of the artist for a jam I blasted in my car 5 times a day during the summer of 2016. Another negative side effect of this is that I’m losing so many memories. My iTunes might as well be a giant home movie. You know when you hear a song and you’re immediately transported back to an amazing time and place. That used to happen all the time! Now it only happens in reverse. I have to somehow get to the memory first, which rarely happens, then search for the song. It’s a lot easier when you have a way to trigger the memory. We are living in a time where instant gratification is the norm. It’s great that I have every song at my fingertips, but what am I losing by not owning a hard copy or seeing it in my iTunes library everyday? The more I think about it the more I feel like I’m losing a lot.

Now living in the past in general is not a great thing to do, so I’m not saying cancel your memberships and daydream all day about being in high school, haha. I am just saying maybe revisit your vinyl, cd, and tape collections or your iTunes account every so often to remember some amazing artists, songs and memories just so you don’t lose them.

On this note, I’m thankful to say we have access to both “current” and “past” musical libraries in our studio. We’ve got Pandora streaming via touchscreen technology for when we just want to tap into a certain work mood on set, and on the flip side, we have started a record collection (and encourage clients, visitors, agencies to bring their favorites to spin on set!) for when we want to spin some vinyl and connect deliberately with an era from each of our lives.

– John

John & the jams

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