food photography

Fall Update: Odin Gets Bigger, New Website & Portfolios, And…

Odin at 7 Months

What a year it’s been! As you know, my wife and I had our first baby last December. Becoming Odin’s Dad has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  It’s been a slight period of adjustment finding a balance between work and my new family life. So, that’s why I am seriously behind on my blogging. But we’re in a good grove right now and I’ve got lots of cool things to share with you other than photos of my son (he’s pretty cute, huh?).

First Off: A Brand New Website

About a year ago, I embarked on creating a scalable version of my website, optimized for high resolution monitors. It’s taken a while because, well, it’s busy with a baby and running your own business. I also really wanted something unique to me and not just another template. I’d really like to thank WerkPress for helping me with this redesign. I asked for a lot and they delivered. I liked the previous look & feel and this new site is not too far removed from what I had before. What’s improved most are the Portfolio and Work galleries. My photography is all about the details and these super sized images really help show off the quality of the photographs I create.  Plus it makes my food work look life-sized and you just might want to eat your screen.

Voodoo Doughnuts

Secondly: New Portfolios

All of my portfolios have been refreshed: Homes /  Décor, Life (formally lifestyle), Food / Beverage, Architectural. I’ve also added two new portfolios highlighting Travel / Landscape and Workspaces. In the WORK section, I’ve broken out my tearsheets into two separate galleries: One highlighting magazine articles I’ve been published in and the other showcasing advertising assignments for print and web. I’m also highlighting work published in Dwell and Martha Stewart Living. Some  new client work includes a great shoot I did for Northwest Pipe Company creating an image library for their marketing and advertising material. It was such a blast to fly all over the country and shoot lots of sparks, steel, and massively big machines making pipes of shapes and sizes.

Pleasant Grove - Northwest Pipe Company

Finally: Shoots Galore!

It’s been a super busy summer and I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to shoot some really fantastic assignments. Here’s a quick run down and some pics.

Ad shoot for Food in Bloom. Mmmm…. pork. Styled by Kevin Ward.
Food in Bloom

Cover and Feature Story in Portland Bride & Groom (blog post coming soon)
Portland Bride & Groom

Very cool office with a killer view by Risa Boyer Architecture
Goldstar Office

Huge image library shoot of food and restaurant lifestyle for Andina. My assistant and I tried to eat at least a little bit of everything we shot. I was full for days…
Andina Food

Super fun lifestyle shoot for Columbia Credit Union used in their home loan promotions in store, direct mail, and online.
Home Loan Campaign - Columbia Credit Union

Highest of High End – Library House designed by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design and built by The Works.
Library House

Does it get any better than this? Alhambra Kitchen, also by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design.
Alhambra Kitchen

Kick back a few beers and take in a Hillsboro Hops game, courtesy of SRG Partnership
Hillsboro Hops Ballpark - SRG Partnership

This might be the most amazing loft I’ve photographed to date. Designed by Emerick Architects. Blog post coming soon!
Division Loft - Emerick Architects

More work on the way! Just waiting for some things to get published. Subscribe now and stay in the loop!

Ad Campaign For Fleischmann’s Yeast

Here is a Flesischmann’s Yeast ad campaign I shot last year for Olson that’s running right now.

Fleischmann's Yeast - Cornucopia

Fleischmann's Yeast - Fruit & Nut Loaf

Quite a bit of production went into making these two pictures. It started with Art Buyer Mark Pakulski contacting my rep Adam Renfree with these concept sketches:

Fleischmann's Yeast Concepts by Olson

It was then up to me to figure out how to turn these concepts into real photos. Once we confirmed the cornucopia was made out of bread, I immediately thought that I would need a food stylist who could bake and prop.  I called Lucy Neilson and got her thoughts on the sketches. Lucy can bake, but she had never made a cornucopia out of bread. So, instead of having her spend a week figuring it out, we decided it would be more efficient to hire a professional baker to bake the bread and make the cornucopia. My food guru friend, Kevin Ward, recommend Jared Lester of Pearl Bakery and he rocked it. Not only did he make all of the breads perfectly, but he was already using Fleischmann’s Yeast in his breads. The stars truly aligned on this shoot.

I sourced the table tops from World Market and The Rebuilding Center. Lucy brought in props from a variety of stores (West Elm, Williams Sonoma, Ikea) and from of her own personal inventory. We set up and shot everything in-studio at Sandbox PDX. Art Director Emily Hoyne really liked my natural light food work, so I chose that style for lighting. I used some fill cards here and there, but what you see is basically what came out of the camera. Very little retouching was done. I used Canon 5D Mark III with the Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro and shot f/5.6 at around a 1/15th of a second.

This photo shoot is a perfect example of the difference between being good at taking pictures and being a professional photographer. Photography was very small part of what went into this job. I spent about a week getting ready for this shoot (coordinating with the agency, booking studio, prepping my crew, etc). On set, I was responsible for making the shots happen. I directed my assistant, digital tech, food stylist to get the basic composition going. I went back and forth with Emily to get photographs that the client would sign off on. A shoot like this is kind of like a big performance, but you don’t have the option to miss your lines. There was no redo and the clock was ticking. However, with a lot help, I made it happen and everyone was really happy with the end results.

To take someones else’s advertising concept and turn it into reality is not an easy task, but it’s what I love about my job.


Emily Hoyne – Art Director / Olson
Caleb Hudson – Account Supervisor / Olson
Mark Pakulski – Art Buyer / Olson
Lucy Neilson – Food Stylist
Jared Lester – Baker

Twenty Eleven – A Year of Work

I’m a little late for an end of year review, but here it is none the less. Speaking purely from a financial point of view, 2011 was a lot like 2010 in that it was way better than 2009, but not quite as good as 2008. However, the photographs I created in 2011 are some of my best yet and I’ve never had more fun being a photographer. I really feel like my style and approach are starting to gel and I’m looking forward to what 2012 and beyond brings. Here are some of my favorite shots from last year.

Thank you to all my clients for making this year so great. You all are a truly a pleasure to work for and I look forward to many more projects together.

Also, thank you to all the stylists, models, assistants, art directors, photo editors, art buyers, and marketing directors I’ve worked with this year. The success of all these shoots wouldn’t have been possible without your collaboration.

Finally, a special shout out to Justin Tunis and Daniel Cronin for being two excellent go to assistants. Thank you for your hard work, your professionalism on set, and being easy to travel with. I’ll be calling you soon.

Winner! PDN’s Objects of Desire Photo Contest

I am beyond excited to share with you the good news about my first major photo contest win. For the 1st Annual PDN’s Objects of Desire photo contest, I won in the Food & Still Life category for this sizzling shot of bacon. The shot, art directed by Michael Novak, was originally taken for Portland Monthly as part of a breakfast feature story.

This was my first major photo contest win and I am really proud to finally make it.

To see my shot online and the other winners, go to

A Recipe for The Best Sandwich Ever

When I was first getting in to food photography, I reached out to a good friend of mine who is an excellent chef. I wanted to create some new food shots for my portfolio and he wanted to try his hand at food styling. It was a win win scenario and the results look beautiful and taste delicious. For technical details, skip to the bottom of the post. Otherwise, fire up your cast iron skillet and get ready to make the Best Sandwich Ever

Grilled Hanger Steak & Applewood Smoked Shoulder Bacon Sandwich With Frisee & Red Onion Jam
Serves 4. Always seek out the best ingredients possible.
[Read more…] about A Recipe for The Best Sandwich Ever

Best Sandwich Ever (and a website reboot)

It’s that time of year again. Time to refresh the portfolios, website, marketing materials, etc. Keeps it interesting and keeps me busy during this slow time of year. I don’t consider myself to be niche photographer. Rather, I have a style of photography that works well across several genres and I focus on my favorite things: food, architecture, lifestyle, and travel. Each genre compliments one another. Whether it’s the food shot in a restaurant, people acting out life at home, or the hustle and bustle of an airport, everything I photograph relates to how I perceive life and how I capture moments that are real to the viewer. I don’t use a lot of lights. I do use a lot of creativity to make the best of a situation and deliver great photography every single time.

Enough of my blathering on. I’ll let the new portfolios speak for themselves:
Food / Beverage, Home / Interiors, Lifestyle, and Travel.

As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated. Have a great week!

PS: This Hangar Steak sandwich was finely crafted by my good friend and chef / food stylist Kevin Ward. More tasty food shots coming soon with recipes! Get to know him. He’s a great guy!