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Company Branding


Food Cart Deliciousness at XDelica Dumplings

We had the pleasure of meeting Sean and Leeann a few weeks ago to talk about food photos and drawings of one of my favorite things to eat in the whole entire world — dumplings. With fillings like beef with potato curry and even cheese, things at Mark's Carts food courtyard just got even more enticing. 

My dumpling illustration will be used for their logo and branding.

My dumpling illustration will be used for their logo and branding.

XDelica Dumplings is all about quick, handmade and top quality ingredients coupled with delicious sides like pickled salads, sweet sausage and seasonal soups.

Tomorrow's opening day and we can't wait to try their daily combo or any of the rotating dumpling specials. Hope you're hungry because this is the first dumpling joint in the area and we're certain it's going to knock your socks off!



Taste of Ann Arbor + Restaurant Week 2014

Over the last two and a half years, Nick has become the photographer that people trust for gooey, decadent, in-your-face food photos. So when we started thinking about who we wanted to partner with this upcoming season, it made sense to work with Main Street Area Association. Maura Thomson not only oversees the bustling Restaurant Weeks (twice a year in January and June) but she also manages the logistics for Taste of Ann Arbor, a street fair that brings in thousands of people for a daylong food fest.

We're so excited to be a sponsor and the official photographer during both of these events. You'll see Nick out and about capturing the hullabaloo of the dinners and festivities as well as all the scrumptious photos on their website of the participating restaurants. We'll be working closely with chefs and owners to represent their succulent offerings from their limited menus so you know what to look forward to.

Nick will get to use the portable light set-up he created himself (more on that in a later blog) and we can share some our food styling secrets with you along the way!

When you see us out and about, stop and say hello and pose for a photo. (We'll try not to take it while you're stuffing a slider in your face). It's going to be a whirlwind Spring so check back for lots of details on the shoots and food styling!

If you're a restaurant owner or you know of a restaurant in need of professional food styling and photos, contact us now through June 2014 for a special Food Month photo shoot. 




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!



TEDxUofM: Against the Grain

This past Saturday was the University of Michigan's TEDx event at the Power Center. An offshoot of a TED conference, the event included speakers in the areas of medicine, arts, and technology. I was approached by the student group Ask Big Questions to listen to lunch room conversations and illustrate their connection to one another.

This was easier said than done with ten different conversations going on simultaneously. I spent a few minutes at each table listening to attendee opinions on such themes as Conformity, Identity, Sustainability and Collegiate Expectations. There were so many ideas and questions tossed out but I tried to capture the most important ones. 

Here are a few snapshots of the 8 x 4 foot whiteboard illustration in the lobby of the Power Center. 

During snack break, the crowd of 800 attendees gathered around and I got to hear some feedback from the viewers. My youngest admirer was a ten year old kid who wanted to join in and draw too—so cool! I love hearing people's thoughts on what they find entertaining because after all, that's what graphic recording is all about—bringing information in a fun and memorable way. 

Graphic recording for TEDxUM at the Power Center in Ann Arbor

Graphic recording for TEDxUM at the Power Center in Ann Arbor

And for those that are curious, because I get this question pretty often, I do everything freehand. I practice font types that I think will fit the occasion prior to the event and reference the sheet when I'm short on technique. 

Thanks to everyone that supported and attended TEDx and a special thanks to Masha and JoHanna at Ask Big Questions. See you next time!



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.



Graphic Recording: Illustrating Verbal Thoughts

Last week I was approached by a medical start up group at the University of Michigan for my illustration skills. They had a work retreat and wanted it to be recorded real-time on a whiteboard. I had seen some really spectacular examples of graphic recording on youtube but never thought I would get to do it myself. I got my first taste of it yesterday and now I'm hooked! 

Much like mural work I've done in the past, it's challenging and physical. Unlike a mural where I get to take my time to measure, sketch and take my time, illustrating a talk or presentation is very different in that I have to synthesize the information immediately and make it consumable in a visually interesting way. 

Graphic recording and mind mapping for a medical conference at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Graphic recording and mind mapping for a medical conference at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

It took me a little time to get started but the ideas were flying and I got some great illustrative ideas down. See for yourself. 

If you have a work, group or corporate retreat you need graphic recording for, shoot me an email




Recent Project: Chalkboard Drawing at Sweetwaters

What was a digital idea, turned into a reality this past week at one of our favorite hang outs, Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea. They have multiple locations and this is their Ypsilanti one right across from Eastern University's campus.

After measuring everything out, I created each font type by hand. It was a lot of work but the five or so hours flew by. Check it out when you're in the 'hood. It should be up through the new year!




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.




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! 



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. 



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!  



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.