Color Theory and Food Photography

Working with color and composition in food and product photography.

Do you need to photograph some food or products for your marketing purposes? There are some tried and true methods I use to get mouthwatering images easy on the eyes, but I also like to research methods and to keep learning new things, so I stay inspired and varied in my creative output.

One YouTuber who I really like for tips and tricks related to food photography is The Bite Shot. Joanie Simon approaches food photography as an artist and has wonderful ideas that produce great results. I watched her video “Using Color Theory in Food Photography.” In this video, she talks about Josef Albers, of the BAUHAUS movement, and refers so some ideas in his book “The Interaction of Color.”

I had some bags of Big Pete’s Treats Lemon Cookies to photograph with some cut up lemons, so I decided to do some shots using a purple paper to give the image some design elements. It’s a very basic idea that complementary colors are pleasing to the eye, but Albers via Simon helps us to understand why this technique works. When you overlay two colors the color of the ground is subtracted from the color on top, causing the color to move in that direction in the way it looks. If I had used a green paper or orange paper it would have affected the appearance of the yellow. Since there is no purple in yellow, the yellow retains its hue even on top of a colorful ground.

The thing about color is that it is an endless way to experiment with your photography. Being intentional with color helps to understand how it works.

Try to create a photograph with two colors only. How did you balance the colors? What was the mood you were going for? Try different color combinations and see how it changes the way we read color.

Also, check out my latest podcast “Massage the Messenger,” HERE: http://bit.ly/Massage_the_Messenger

Rhythm of Days

You always heard older people talking about how fast time moves, but it wasn’t until you actually had experienced enough years to feel it for yourself that this mysterious element of time began to take shape: acceleration. My dad used to share an explanation for it. He thought that you always feel the same age internally and can remember what it was like to be younger, so the more time passes the faster it seems to go. It’s mostly an effect of the conflict between knowing that a lot of time has passed and feeling that it was just yesterday. He has a rare capacity for memory, though. He can remember slight plot details and character points from novels he read twenty years ago. When I stop to remember things that vividly stand out in my memory, like the earthquake of 1989, it doesn’t feel like yesterday, at all. For me, it feels like a different lifetime.JJT.blog.30.March.2016-6JJT.blog.30.March.2016-2JJT.blog.30.March.2016-3JJT.blog.30.March.2016-4JJT.blog.30.March.2016-5JJT.blog.30.March.2016-7JJT.blog.30.March.2016-10JJT.blog.30.March.2016-8JJT.blog.30.March.2016-11JJT.blog.30.March.2016-12JJT.blog.30.March.2016-16JJT.blog.30.March.2016-18JJT.blog.30.March.2016-21JJT.blog.30.March.2016-22JJT.blog.30.March.2016-25JJT.blog.30.March.2016-24JJT.blog.30.March.2016

Be Merry

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One of the most impressive economic developments I’ve witnessed during my time on the west coast is the boom of the craft beer industry. I’ve seen it grow right before my eyes and in the lives of my loved ones. My sister Emily and I went to school at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. That’s where she got the craft-beer bug. I, too, developed a love for quality beer in the great Northwest, but Emily saw a business opportunity. I don’t know how she got her chutzpah, but she got a lot of it. After working as the only female engineer in her department at Qualcomm, she started an organic brewery (Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing) in Santa Cruz in 2005. Since then, a proliferation of micro-breweries has emerged along the west coast. What started in Portland took root in San Diego and has bourgeoned into a serious industry, here in Santa Cruz, too. This beer is a Pineapple Sculpin by Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits. This small brewery recently was bought by Constellation Brands (makers of Corona and Modelo) for over a billion dollars. It’s official: micro-brewing is big business. The rise in the popularity of craft beer has opened up business opportunities in other sectors, too. Larry Ingram has two BBQ joints that offer an amazing selection of beers. Taking trips each week to San Diego, Ingram prides himself on providing the cutting edge of the craft brew world.

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Gary Irving in his natural environment: the studio. Don’t be fooled by his adventure-machine (the ultimate van for exploring): he’s not all safaris and mud-flaps. This guy has compelling ideas about art, too. He’s a technical wizard who does things with Photoshop that make people scratch their heads with a dazed-by-jealousy smile. It has been a real treat to work with Gary while he is creating a masterful series depicting the Seven Sins as things we have done to the environment. Making art today would seem pretty hollow and shallow without considering our global contexts. Climate changes, nuclear proliferations, genetic modifications: there are plenty of concerns facing every human, and every living thing for that matter. Gary has a vision and it is a dark one but one that is full of intelligence and wit. For anything to change, we need first to face the problems confronting our times and that is what Irving is attempting in this series: it is a self-portrait of humanity’s vices on the edge of the brink.

 

 

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Great food makes for great living. Felton is not famous for much. Fame isn’t the point in Felton. Feltonians are more concerned with living than being seen, generally, and that means working hard, taking care of family, staying humble and being close to the daily works and wonders of the natural world. Mountain folk are teachers, farmers, healers, arborists, bakers, jazzercise enthusiasts, watercolorists, mud-shoveling, horse-loving, leaf-raking, pie-baking, jeans and t-shirt wearing folks who are the salt of the earth, the water in the river, the roots on the bank. The Cremer House, in this great but humble town, is doing something special: it’s feeding the people of Felton and the Santa Cruz Mountains with cutting edge fine dining. Now, this truly is the best of worlds. Living in the serene and sublime mountains and having access to Pan Seared Arctic Char with Moroccan spice couscous, melted leaks and yogurt dill sauce is not a bad thing.

 

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Back to BBQ! The West Side of Santa Cruz is loving Mission St. BBQ. Finally, there is a great BBQ joint close to home for those of us on this side of the river. The Ingram family is serious about smoked meat and we are the lucky beneficiaries.

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A sense of humor helps to deal with the challenges we face every day. Medical cannabis helps a lot of people to manage their stresses and to medicate their ailments. Since Prop 215 passed in California, patients have been able to procure high quality cannabis. At Therapeutic Healthcare, the bud-tenders are friendly, knowledgable, and fun.

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Harliss Mofoin’ Sweetwater came through and sang some mean and dirty down low blues at Aptos St. His sax player was possessed. The foursome played with the energy of a herd of buffalo.

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Passion for Photography

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Nandi visited last weekend and we did a photo shoot together. She’s a passionate photographer who wants to work in the music industry photographing bands on tour and musicians’ portraits. It was cool to get to know her and to work side by side.

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We were filming Tazy at the Lane and then popped up the stairs just in time to see this. The sun was setting, but first it lit up these Cypresses and we both had to stop to get a shot.

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Then there was this. What a sunset. This particular spot has a lot of stunning sunsets, but this was an amazing one even for here.

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Nandi and I were stoked on the sunset!

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BBQ at Mission St: standard. Always friendly faces there.

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Al Frisby was playing at Mision St. Good times. He’s a soulful and funny entertainer with a great collection of instruments and stories.

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Chip invited me to photograph the last day of this garden. What a beautiful bunch of flowers. The organic methods Chip is using are working really well.

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Affirming the Good

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Portraits are an engine of artistic production. In the past, only the powerful were able to afford having an artist make a portrait of them. Today, with cell phones and selfie sticks, there’s a lava flow of portraiture erupting with volcanic intensity. More people have been both photographer and subject than ever before. Portraiture is a force.

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Social media is driven by portraits. A big percentage of the photos that are made every day are of people. From the covers of magazines to the profiles of social media platforms, good photos of people are more in demand than ever before.

We want to help you to look great. We want to show your friends how confident, happy, and interesting you are, these days. We want to show your clients or employers how on top of the game you are. We want to show your love how attractive you are. We want to show the world your beauty, shining from the inside.

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Portraiture is a great way to affirm the good in others. We want to bring out the best in you.

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Dancing Uphill

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I invented a dance. It started with my assistant. Last year, I grew busy enough to require help. I was lucky enough to have a colleague at Sleepless Media, Jennifer Gallagher, introduce me to her daughter. Now, Jackie helps me run my day-to-day operations: editing photos, assisting on shoots, and providing administrative support. Together, we update various social media accounts with fresh and original content that we create.

 

 

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One of my favorite things about doing social media was enhanced when I hired an assistant: it’s a lot of fun. Like all creative work, it is also competitive and difficult. Some people may not take social media seriously, but if you want a business to pay you to provide them with social media marketing, then being as professional as possible is key.

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Part of that means keeping a vital connection to the material. It means renewing and retaining a spirit of joy in the work. When we represent a business, we make the case that they are the best choice in their category. In order to express this claim clearly, we need to have creative flow happening in our work. As an artist/writer/thinker/maker/seller, I have a lot of experience being able to consistently find inspiration and that is partly because of the techniques I’ve developed over time to stay fresh, tuned up, and ready to be creative.

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Social Media Marketing requires a lot of work, including: photography, editing, research, and writing. A good deal of this activity happens in the studio in a typical office space environment. Lots of sitting at a computer doesn’t necessarily lead to creative flow or great ideas. When I was working on my own, I would use skateboarding to keep me feeling creatively awake, but this El Niño season has kept the roads pretty wet, so I wasn’t able to get enough time in to satisfy my desire for balance. This plus having an assistant who is now also spending a lot of time at a computer and the ever-present need to come up with new marketing strategies led me to invent a dance.

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The dance is based on a physical therapy exercise: the lunge. It is a walking lunge in four parts that goes to a four count rhythm. I named it the Time Slap in honor of my friend Shawn Barney Barron, who passed away last May. He called time lapse photography time slap and so the dance is a way to honor, remember, and to heal. Barney was a great break-dancer. He was also a great marketer.

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The dance, as well as being a daily practice that increases creativity, is a marketing technique. We are recording ourselves doing the dance in various places in public with the goal of reaching the Ellen show to perform our dance and to talk about our marketing ideas. Artists who have some facility with multimedia are well equipped to provide social media marketing for small businesses. Social media are channels you can use effectively to reach relevant audiences.

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Solving Interesting Problems

Yesterday (Monday morning) the day after Valentine’s Day, I woke up at 4:45am as has become my habit. Lemon water drank, coffee brewed, I sat down at the laptop and woke it up with a gesture. Immediately, in my Facebook Timeline, I saw a video that drew my attention. It was a clip from an episode of the television show Nature. This one was following a group of Innuit hunters through the process of building an igloo and going beneath the sea ice during the low portion of a King Tide to hunt for mussels. Watching these people attune themselves to the rhythm of natural cycles in a life and death dance with time inspired me. That’s the kind of thing I like to view: different ways of being that leads to imagining the lives of others.

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Just after sunrise this chunky little barrel kegged through. Photographing the inside of waves, the flares and flashes of light, keeps me connected to the ocean and draws me out to the coastline each morning for sunrise.

Then, wanting something to listen to while I edited photos, I went to Timothy Ferris’ podcast and clicked on his interview with Seth Godin. Timothy Ferris is a self-help guru who is interesting and worth the listen. I always learn cool new things from his podcasts, so they are a go-to edifying source of background noise when I’m working. It’s definitely more than just entertainment, as he is constantly asking questions geared to find actionable takeaways in an effort to always provide value to his followers. Ferris does it right. He’s interested and so he’s interesting.

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We visited Chris LaVeque yesterday at El Salchichero to photograph this awesome Udon in a bowl made by Dark Horse Pottery. He’s doing R&D for his upcoming Matambre Restaurant.

He had high praise for Seth Godin and I was ready to like him too, but upon listening I grew more compelled by the minute. Funny and self aware, Godin is a fount of wisdom and useful advice. He’s the kind of guy you’d be lucky to have as a friend. Non-threatening, but entirely badass, he’s a ninja of thoughtfulness. Out of all of the cool things they discussed in this podcast, however, the one that stuck out the most was about parenting. Godin, in answering Ferris’ question about what advice he might have for parents, said: “Busy is a trap. Busy is a myth. If you spend two hours a day without an electronic device, looking your kid in the eye, talking to them, and solving interesting problems, then you will raise a different kid than someone who doesn’t do that.” Such a simple idea, but profoundly true.

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Last night, I took Ollie to Aptos St. BBQ for dessert and to listen to some live music. She’s learning a few songs, hereself, and it was fun to see Billie on stage singing “Natalie” with the Broken Shades. Live music makes the world a sweeter place.

How we spend our time is the most important decision we make on a daily basis. Carving out two hours a day to spend with your kid solving interesting problems is the most important investment you could possibly make as a parent. The intricacies and nuances of parenting are so varied and important, but spending time is the foundation.

The Megaphone and the Whistle: social media marketing

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Social Media Marketing in 2016 is a new world for businesses in Santa Cruz. Things are evolving both regionally and globally to make it possible for some exciting opportunities to emerge here, today. We have incorporated the Internet into our lives through smart phones, tablets and apps more fully than ever before. The Internet is currently our passport to the larger world. How does it look and feel for your business to be a part of this increasingly connected world? What are the consequences of participating in social media marketing or not?

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One of the main changes the Internet has brought to US American culture if not to global culture as a whole, is the transformation of privacy and publicity. A shift in the form of public and private spheres has taken place. What are privacy and publicity in the digital age? Who has them, how much privacy and publicity can be obtained, and at what cost? How has this shift in the accessibility of public/ private spheres changed our culture? How has this transformation affected your ways of living and your views of culture?

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Privacy has never been a quotient that was given equally to all people. Neither is publicity.

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The ability to keep things private or to broadcast them publicly has always depended upon a subject’s ability to hide or disclose things from and to the public at will. This ability, to keep things concealed or to circulate them, is a form of power. Control of self-representation is key to successful social media marketing. This is the power of social media, generally: you get to tell your own story. Other digital services like Yelp often frustrate business owners who feel victimized by the sometimes wildly erratic criticisms users post on these review sites. Being proactive about your social media marketing is the most effective way of building the image of your business the way you want it to be viewed.

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Exposure: this is the number one change the Internet has facilitated in the world. Social Media Marketing gives you the power to control your business’ exposure.

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It is easier to expose things in the digital age, for good or bad. On the one hand you have crowd-sourcing projects giving exposure to the creative ideas of eco-activists and entrepreneurs, and you also have activist groups like the #BlackLivesMatter movement exposing the frequency of police brutality against disempowered people. Whether it is something you want to promote into greater being or something you want to eradicate from the face of the earth, the Internet has become a forum for public debate. Social Media is a megaphone and a whistle.

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Topics that are trending are the ones that matter to people, but people are not always driven by a love of accuracy or adherence to reality. As a result, being right is not the most important thing: being part of the conversation is.

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Why certain things trend is another question and is full of mysterious processes. On the one hand, you have some sort of indication of group consciousness.

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It was another great week for Jackiemacro as well. Continuing her daily posts she’s kicking ass on Instagram and is starting a new series that will be shown as prints at the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery in June 2016.

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