Viewing entries in


November 2014

In the interest of saving time and filling everyone in on the things we have coming up, I'm loading our last e-blast content here. Enjoy! 

Hello! This is the first e-mail we've sent to this lovely list of people since opening our studio. As many of you know, we had the fortune of stumbling upon a perfect little storefront in downtown Ypsilanti about seven weeks ago. Yes, just seven weeks ago! 

It has an open storefront space (for photographing), an office (for art and design consulting) and dressing room/dining nook. We snatched it up and never looked back. 

And since then, some incredible things have happened. 

  1. We attended our first First Fridays Ypsilanti just earlier this month, a circuit of venues with music, art, food, happenings on the first Friday of each tolerable un-wintery month. (There's a short break after the upcoming December 5th event). You grab a map and check out all the cool places that are hosting exhibits and offering specials. It's unique, surprising and wonderful fun for the family.
  2. Our studio opened on 11/11! Even though we're not a retail space selling wares, it was a bit of a hectic day - little sleep and lots of anxiety - about all good things! It seems the years of accumulating furniture were for this space. We just didn't know it. 9 S. Washington is a pretty sweet little spot on a corridor of downtown Ypsi that seems to literally be activating (as someone called it) day by day right before our very eyes. 
  3. On 11/20, three days after we photographed this set up, it was featured in the digital version of the New York Times. In the print version there are both styled photos we took for Skandicrush, this wonderful subscription service that sends monthly boxes filled with beautiful home wares. We're so lucky to be partnered with talented entrepreneurs with such vision. 
  4. That same night we celebrated our opening with friends and locals. It was a riot. Some of the photos can be found on our Facebook page.
  5. Nick has been really involved with Ypsilanti families and students over the last year. He worked on a photography assignment that allowed him to capture almost every family in a housing community and it moved everyone involved. That's how we came up with the idea to offer $10 Holiday Family Portraits on 11/29 Small Business Saturday. There's no reason a family shouldn't have a professional photo. We want to make these important things accessible and fun for everyone. Spread the word and the cheer! Come in with friends, family, students, colleagues...or just by yourself. All the details are here. (Pompom backdrop included)
  6. Once again, we are so excited to support Art Around Town, the business enterprise benefitting participating Ypsilanti Public School art programming. We'll be selling art through preview sales on:
  • First Fridays, Dec. 5th from 5-9 pm **We'll also be offering $20 holiday portraits that evening!**
  • Auction preview and art sale on Friday, Dec. 12th from 5-9 pm
  • Winter Auction on Saturday, Dec. 13th from 6-9 pm. Prints, paintings and sculpture will be sale and we play auctioneer! Bring the family and battle over works of art!

We didn't know what we were missing until we had the studio. Now that we do, we're thrilled to share our ideas, aesthetics and fun times with all of you. You're always welcome here. 

Be well and have a very Happy Thanksgiving! 
Yen and Nick Azzaro



Dunc's Mill: Truly Handcrafted Premium Rum

It's been a really big summer for us, work and play-wise. We just returned from a road trip to Vermont for a family reunion on my aunt and uncle's property. Besides the log cabin they built with friends and various "huts" and buildings sprinkled throughout the mountains, the distillery where my uncle produces his rum is about 100 yards from the house.

Dunc's Mill is not only a premium product that we've been able to enjoy occasionally, (it has exclusive distribution along the east coast), everything about it is truly handmade, from the steeped elderflower in simple syrup for the Elderflower Rum to the carefully poured wax to seal each bottle.

We had the opportunity to drink some very special reserve rum (not for sale) and bring it to market where we watched my uncle interacting with the public, educating them about the process and ingredients. There are three rums: Elderflower, Maple and Backwoods Reserve. We recommend the Mayflower, 1 part Elderflower, 1 part Maple, splash of soda and a lime wedge.

We are proud to count Dunc's Mill as our latest client. We'll be producing marketing materials and photography. If you're ever traveling through Vermont, shoot him an email and tell my uncle we sent you. It's a truly magical experience. Cheers.



"Just Shoot it on White"

We had always gotten a good amount of requests for a "white background" but lately even more so. It's certainly not easier to achieve than an environmental background. On the contrary, it takes a lot of effort and expertise. (Try to take a photo with your phone or point and shoot and achieve a perfectly white background indoors with no graininess).

Nick's a magician when it comes to getting a seamless white result because he puts a lot into the pre-production, and not so much in post. Minus a little adjustment here and there and an overall cleaning of any "dust", he does little cutting out in Photoshop. What you see is pretty much what was there. He does after all, carry an arsenal of tools and secrets with him — everything from glass panes, black aluminum foil, white boards, rolls of paper, and more.

It's not so glamorous or pretty when you pull back.

But he knows how to get the job done.*

There are various levels of "white" so we always ask if you want a shadow, a gradation, or pure stark white.

If you're looking for a product, food or portrait shoot, give us a call (734-929-2498) or email and we'd love to talk to you about the (endless) possibilities. 

*Products are screenshots and do not show the quality of original digital photos.



Some Bitchin' Photos: Bronston's Bitchin' Bronzer Tanning Oil

Via a networking mixer and a late, late dinner, Nick and I started hanging out with Nic, the talented and multi-faceted owner of Nolas Underground Salon. (He used to be in charge of teams in the Air Force canine unit for special assignments all over the world. 'Nuff said)! 

He's been concocting his own recipe of oil goodness over the last ten years and recently launched the concept into a full fledged business with product, it's almost good enough to eat. (I've been using oil on my face and hair for a while now, and I feel like I met him at an opportune time).  With ten essential oils including lavender, patchouli and mint, this coconut base lasted for hours on my skin and made it feel softer than my baby's bottom. 

Bronston's Bitchin' Bronzer is 16 ounces of pure, all-natural, tanning oil. Nic is NOT recommending you go out and crisp yourself. On the contrary, he's all about using the product responsibly and sensibly with tons of education to share with his clients. The sun and oil have been used for thousands of years for their healing, therapeutic qualities. We can all agree that we've been missing some Vitamin D this record-breaking winter, so what better way to get some than through healthy, non-petroleum, non-toxic products? 

For now, you can purchase this handcrafted goodness at Nolas (and make appointments with Nic and his equally talented partner Dani) and later it'll be available at southeastern Michigan vendors. Be on the look out for more campaign images as we go on this bitchin' ride with them!



Shots at Two James Spirits

Damn the snow for making me late last Friday because I was anxious to get to Two James Spirits, the first distillery in Detroit since Prohibition. Distilled and bottled right in the heart of the city, Peter Bailey and Dave Landrum are the founders of this small but incredibly high-quality operation. 


Besides a few merchandise pieces I was there to shoot the bottled products, their 28 Island Vodka, Grass Widow Bourbon and Old Cockney Gin. 


And the tasting room with generous hours.


And the unique space at Michigan Avenue and 17th Street, overlooking the train station and down the street from Slow's Bar-B-Q.


If you find yourself looking for an experience and product unlike any other, visit Two James Sprits for yourself.



Pop-In for a Pop-Up: The Coolest Thing We've Done Up Til Now

Nick and I have been pondering over this idea for a while — a pop-up event. There are pop-up galleries, food stands, so why not a photo session? When we started talking about venues, we thought of lots of places to rent for the day. But what if, instead of paying a retail space, we could make a donation to one of the places that we love the most with the coolest people we work with? 826michigan and their Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair was a no-brainer!

From their literacy programs to after-school tutoring sessions to the professionally bound student books they publish, we are so proud to work with them on a regular basis. 

If you're not familiar with a pop-up, here are some questions you might have for us. And since we're kind of feeling it out too, we're open to suggestions. 

Q: How long is the photo session?

A: Great question! We ask that when parents call or email, they anticipate booking an hour, even though the approximate shoot time is 20 minutes. (We schedule three kids an hour but you get your own session time). That way if you're running late or your kid's feeling just a little shy that day, your time won't run out before we get some incredible photos.

Q: Do you offer prints?

A: Right now, no. The image files we send to you (less than 72 hours later) are high resolution and ready to print, share and post to your heart's content!

Q: How many kids can I have in a session?

A: Up to 2 is what we'll have lighting and backdrops for that day. If you're interested in booking a session for more than 2 people, we're always happy to accommodate. Simply make an appointment. 

Q: Can I (the parent) be in the photo shoot too? 

A: Yes! Please feel free to hop in for a few or for many of the photos. 

Q: What age is recommended?

A: 6 months and up. The reason for this is that we prefer models that can hold their own, or rather, sit up on their own. They make for the most active and precious photos, don't you think?

Q: What is the refund policy?

A: Because of the fundraising nature of this event, we cannot offer refunds. The packages however, are transferable. If you have to give up your slot, give your friend or family member your name and show up with the receipt. It's that simple!

Q: Can we show up without an appointment? 

A: We hope to take walk ins if not all spaces are filled, but there are only a handful to begin with. We will be updating our Facebook and Twitter feeds that day so be on the look out!

Q: When is the next Pop-In for a Pop-Up? 

A: Right now we're working on something for Spring 2014. If you have a venue or a suggestion on where you'd like to see one pop up, let us know! 

We hope to see you at the event! Onward robots!




Serving up Magic Water at the (espresso) bar

When we heard about the (espresso) bar's new website, we were excited to capture the photos. With its laid back atmosphere (the lower level of a house steps from Kerrytown and Farmers Market) and simple, yet fundamental menu choices, it's one of our favorite places to relax and enjoy an espresso.

Sandy, the owner, goes out of his way to offer each customer an authentic experience with immediate water as you sit down and drinks, like filter coffee or hot tea, brought to your table. 

Some drinks, like the latte and cortado, are as enjoyable to look at as they are to drink.

Of course there's always espresso. The one below is from a coffee from El Salvador called El Borbollon, located near the Santa Ana volcano. It's 100% Red Bourbon variety.

Drinks are available to-go as well AND you have your choice of paper or glass - genius!

Lastly, if you're a die hard summer person who's not frightened by a few very early fall-like days then the iced coffee and iced tea are for you.

To schedule a meeting to talk about how we can make your food pop through styling and great photography, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email us. 



Local Beauty: Keeki Pure & Simple

We were introduced to Keeki Pure & Simple from our friends at zoey + joey.  All their products are super kid-friendly pthalate, paraben, gluten and petroleum free. Incredible, right? And to top it off, everything's made right here in Michigan and over 90% of their raw ingredients are from the USA. 

Nick shot their products for an upcoming spot on Hautelook, a part of Nordstrom's. (We'll send out a reminder when they launch!) We're so thrilled that more people will be learning about this fantastic company. Their products including water-based nail polishes, sunscreen, lip balm and yummy smelling lotions are high quality and you feel great about using them. Here are a few of the highlights from our photo shoot at their corporate office this week.

Yay for Keeki! 




Teen Model Search Winners at zoey + joey

We always have a fun time when we're working with zoey + joey, the family-friendly kid and teen salon. There's no other option like it in the area with their all natural, vegan products, video games and children's programming, free coffee for parents and custom Mini Coopers for the little ones. You can even book and change your appointments online any time of day. The past couple months, they held a Teen Model Search to find models for their new back-to-school and teen salon ad campaigns, which we create along with capturing photos. 


Early this past Tuesday (the only day the salon is closed), we met Julian, Celine and Parker, the three photogenic winners. They received a year's worth of haircuts, their photographs taken in the new teen salon for the ads and a professional portrait with Nick. It took a little while for the sleepy eyed kids to get warmed up, but once they did we got some awesome shots. 

Here are some examples of the editorial style photos they were awarded with. You can book your own session with us here

Congratulations to the winners and look out this Fall for the ads in publications all over town!  



Designer Profile: Nicole Kammo, Winner of Crate & Barrel's Designer Custom Challenge

We met Nicole back when I painted the mural for the Herman Miller sale at Three Chairs Co. Now, she's offering her years of interior and architectural design skills through her company, Nicole Kammo+Design. She's always been a great supporter of our work and we're thrilled to hear about her wonderful news!

Nicole submitted one of the winning entries of the Designer Custom Challenge at Crate & Barrel. Her chair is going to be mass produced and sold on their website, catalog and in stores this Fall! Congratulations, Nicole!

N photographed her head shot which will be used for promotion and publicity. 

Check out more of Nicole's architectural and design projects on her website

If you need a head shot, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email



Artist Profile: Kelly Ventura for Crate & Barrel

Kelly and I met in Book Arts when we attended art school years ago. I always remembered her pieces for being subtle and thoughtfully brilliant. We crossed paths again in Chicago when she was showing her incredible fiber pieces at the gallery where I worked and at The Renegade Craft Fair. Now we're all back in the Ann Arbor area and Kelly is a full time product and surface designer. We were so thrilled to hear that a line of her illustrations had been picked up by Crate & Barrel to be reproduced for their Spring 2014 art print lineCongratulations, Kelly!

N captured some great shots of her working in the studio in preparation to send to C&B for their artist profile.


 Kelly works largely in watercolor and pen. She has a beautiful signature style that's whimsical and saturated with color.


See more of Kelly's work at and her Minted site. We can't wait for her collection to come out next spring - look out for it!

To have your works of art or yourself captured in the studio, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email us at