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Commercial Photo Work

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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. 

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

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And the tasting room with generous hours.

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

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



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Pop Ups: Behind the Scenes + The Next One at The Espresso Bar!

In December we had a blast with our first pop-up photo event at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair, the awesome storefront with all things robotic and fun. It also serves as a "front" for the literacy, tutoring and publishing nonprofit, 826michigan.

Matt Lauer, one of the amazing volunteers at the Robot Supply and Repair doing what he does: fixin' things.

Matt Lauer, one of the amazing volunteers at the Robot Supply and Repair doing what he does: fixin' things.

We were so thrilled and honored when they agreed to let us hold our pop-up in their writing center and the results were colorful and lively, thanks to some stand in robots (courtesy of our talented friend Dylan Strzynski). 

Photo by Art Azzaro

Photo by Art Azzaro

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Aren't they adorable?!

Which brings us to. . . our next pop up! This time we're partnering with our friends at The Espresso Bar, where highly crafted espresso drinks are doled out by the expert hands of proprietor Sandy Bledsoe. Bring your mom, your dad, your best friend or your crush for a coffee date unlike any other. Once you're settled with your drinks, we'll get you ready for a professional portrait of the two of you.

You don't need to sign up and we're hoping that it'll be a fun-loving day of caffeine and warm fuzzies after this crazy deep freeze we've experienced. And oh, did we mention it's on Valentine's Day? :) See you there!

If you know of a venue or organization that you think would be a great partner, let us know

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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!

 

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Wife Interviews Husband: Getting to Know Nick

We talk about art and photo and business. All. Day. Long.  Sometimes we need to take a moment to stop and appreciate all the incredibly cool things we've worked on. For today's post, I interviewed Nick and asked him a few things about his career and inspirations. Prepare to be surprised. I always am. 

We started the company two years ago this month. Photo from October, 2011.

We started the company two years ago this month. Photo from October, 2011.

Y: Where was your favorite location shoot and why?

N: My favorite location shoot was going to Singapore, although it didn't matter it was Singapore. It was the first time I really left the country and went somewhere that far from home. I was with Sciortino, but felt like I was all by myself. I've gone on other shoots I've really enjoyed, but the excitement of seeing how people on the other side of the world live and seeing how different landscapes can look was really humbling. The funny thing is I almost faked ill to get out of it because I didn't want to leave home...and you.

Y: Who was the most famous person(s) you've been on a shoot with? 

N: The most famous people I've worked with are Brett Favre, Stacy Keech, Louis Farrakhan. 

Y: What do you enjoy shooting the most?

N: I like shooting people that are aware of themselves.

Y: What sets you apart from other photographers in the area?

N: --------silence-------- 

Y: Where do you get your inspiration from for your fine art photos?

N: My work is usually based on something I've seen or experienced. Everything has a story or a control, for lack of a better description. I like my work to say something, whether people understand it or not. None of that "let it happen" bullshit. Photography is about control. Even the stuff that you can't control takes a good amount of control to achieve. 

Y: Who are your influences?

N: Arthur Fellig (Weegee), Chris Marker, Art Azzaro, Arnold Newman, definitely, definitely not ________, Jeff Sciortino, David Bowie, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and many more.

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The Pizza We Couldn't Get In the City: City's Pizza

All the years we lived in Chicago, we never really had a go-to pizza place. We didn't love deep dish and we couldn't find what we came to call a Michigan Pizza. A Michigan Pizza has chewy dough, a crispy yet fluffy crust and toppings on top of the cheese. You'd think these things were easy to come by but time and time again we were disappointed. That is, until we moved back to Ann Arbor. 

We discovered City's Pizza not too long ago and it is by far the best pizza we've had in a long time. Once we started going and noticing how incredibly friendly the entire staff was, we were hooked. Nick went in to their open kitchen to work with owners Brian and Paul on capturing their pizzas as they came piping hot out of the oven. Can't you just see how it oozes yumminess? 

And when we're not in the mood for a pie, we can get delicious BBQ wings.  

Or super cheesy cheese bread.

City's Pizza really does deliver a perfect pizza every time. If you're in the area, you need to try it!

To get some delectable photos for your menu, ads or social networking pages, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email us now.

 

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Jazzy Veggie, Take 2: Delicious Vegetarian Fare

Jazzy Veggie is a staple on Main Street known for their innovative, vegetarian comfort food (many items on the menu are vegan). And in the last couple years they've become the go-to spot for herbivores and omnivores alike. When we worked with Andy a couple years ago, he was offering favorites like sweet potato fries and veggie quinoa burgers. 

As his customers tastes have evolved, so has his ever-growing menu. Behold the beauty of the beet, brown rice and lentil burger! 

 

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Pair it with a salad of quinoa, corn and garlic roasted red pepper with kale on the side.

If you're not up for a quick bite, take the time to savor a full "meatloaf" plate with mashed potatoes and gravy.  

If pizza is more your speed, try the pesto, artichoke, roasted red pepper - hot and crispy right out of the oven.  

End your meal with a sweet apple treat from Achatz Handmade Pie Co. All vegan and all goodness.  

After the shoot, our stomachs were rumbling from the delightful smells. We had a black bean burger and an agave BBQ chicken sandwich. Each was chock full of spices and flavor.

Andy now has a new inventory of images for Facebook, Twitter and his website! Our food styling and lighting expertise makes all the difference for our clients. 

Give us a call or email to set up a free consultation today. 

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A light just went off!

What kind of photographer are you? Are you a food shooter or do you take portraits? If you're a portrait photographer do you take family portraits or editorial photos? 

I get asked these questions fairly often and the best way to answer them is with a simple  "yes". I definitely have preference of subject, but when it comes to making something in front of my lens look good it's the lighting that does all the work. Once you have an understanding of how to work with light, it doesn't matter if your subject is three inches tall or life size, the lighting arrangement will be the same. 

Amelia

Amelia

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Our Favorite Spot in Town: Food photos at Mr. Spots

For almost twenty years now I've been going to Mr. Spots, the home of the Philly cheesesteak (served on an Amoroso bun), hot wings and a phenomenally delicious chicken sandwich steps from UM's campus. I had discovered the place with my best friend during high school and continued to go even after Nick and I moved to Chicago on our visits home. 

We met with owner Keith McKendry (he owns one other Mr. Spots locations with his business partner Tim Wojcik) to talk about what look he wanted for his rotating digital menus, but we already knew the product all too well. We had little trouble highlighting some of our favorites like the Philly Original, waffle fries and chicken fingers.

The food is simply top notch American fare prepared in an immaculate and well-appropriated kitchen. There have been a lot of improvements since their first location (just next door) back in 1986 and it shows. Known for serving up the freshest and hottest food on the strip, athletes including Tom Brady and Charles Woodson have made Mr. Spot's their go-to place on campus and later during their professional careers.

But enough said. We'll let the food speak for itself. 

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.

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Sustainable and Delicious: Pop-up Dinners with Central Provisions

Our calendar's been busy with food shoots and today's post will not disappoint your senses.

We'd been to the The Bar at 327 Braun Court for drinks in the past but we kept hearing about a spectacular pop-up dinner that was taking place there. 

Central Provisions is a weekly occurring dinner on Wednesday evenings, sourcing organic, sustainable and when possible, local ingredients. Nick met the partners and chefs behind the operation Steve Hall and Abby Olitzky, while they whipped up their delectable plates and the results were beautifully tempting. 

The small plate menu changes weekly but here's what they were serving that particular evening: 

Ricotta baked in tomato leaves, crostini, pickled garlic scapes (brinery) 

Fried eggplant and padron peppers, buttermilk, chives

Crispy kale salad, shaved spring vegetables, parmesan, honey lemon vinaigrette

Cherry tomato cobbler, cheddar

Chicken with tarragon cream sauce, carrots, almonds

Summer berry pudding, whipped cream

With such a thoughtfully curated menu, it's no wonder that they're getting rave reviews and building lots of interest among the foodie set in Ann Arbor. To learn more about their ever-changing menu, contact them at centralprovisions@gmail.com

Bon appétit!


 

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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! 

 

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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. 

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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!  

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Food Photos: Mani Osteria and Isalita

We hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th.

While it was generally a quiet and relaxing week, we were busy with a delicious shoot for two prominent restaurants in town. Sister restaurants, Mani Osteria and Isalita were in need of some representation for their websites and we were happy to oblige. Actually, N went in and did all the work and I admired the results while my stomach rumbled. 

Mani opened back in 2011 to a bunch of buzz and was named one of the top 25 Italian restaurants in U.S. last year. It's one of our favorite places to catch a quick bite for lunch meetings or sit down to share a larger meal with friends. Previous diners include Mario Batalli and Bobby Flay. Chef Brendan McCall worked with owner Adam Baru to create a menu that pairs the traditional with innovative Italian flavors. With such dishes as their Taglietelle with Carbonera and bacon and Shrimp Spiedini served with lemon, pickled chili and mint, it's not difficult to see why they're one of the most exciting restaurants in the area. 

Isalita opened next door earlier this year and the reviews have been phenomenal. Lots of delish taco options like pulled pork and salmon ceviche complement fresh guacamole and refreshing drinks. 

Are we making you hungry yet?   Look on and we swear, you can almost smell the wonderful aromas. 

For more information about our food styling and photography, shoot us an email.  

 

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