Catch up with the FPS interest section!

Summer 2016 Visions Newsletter 

Letter From the Editor 

Slivers of sunlight slice through the trees, the air is warm, the fruit is ripe.  Summer is here bringing with it outdoor dining and a mass variety of freshly grown colors.  Our farmers markets are stocked with rainbows of produce and flavors are at their peak!  As food photographers and stylists, outdoor lighting makes for the most natural photos and there are so many subjects to play with - veggie stocked salads, fruity sorbets, BBQ picnic platters and more.

As a food photographer and stylist for New School of Cooking in Culver City, California, I am thrilled that Summer is here.  It means that the chefs and I get to come up with colorful recipes and play with a variety of textures for the blog!  

In this edition of Visions I want to share with you highlights from this year’s conference which took place in Los Angeles, as well as some useful tips for photographing summer produce and great Instagram feeds you should be following.

My personal experience at this year’s conference (my first!) was exceptional.  I was awed by the kindness shared by everyone from the panelists to fellow attendees. Also, the food provided was so tasty (that cocktail party though)!  I was afraid that I would feel like an outsider, but I immediately felt welcomed into this wonderful family!  As a new member of IACP, I am honored to be surrounded by such a dedicated community of professionals.  In this newsletter, I hope to bring you interesting articles, news, and of course, quality images that relate to our artistry.

I gladly invite anyone who would like to contribute an article, Q & A, images or anything else media related to the next newsletter, to contact myself or any other members of the Food Photography & Stylists team.  I will be editing now through next year’s conference and look forward to getting to know as many of you as I can!

Let’s all have a juicy Summer!

Tara Redfield
Marketing Director/Digital Content Creator at New School of Cooking

Setting up the Perfect Photograph: Workshop Recap


Did Setting up the Perfect Photograph, the food photography and stylist workshop at this year’s LA conference slip through your schedule? Didn’t make the conference this year? Don’t worry!  I have worked on a review so it will almost be like you were there.  

Our members in attendance got to experience this workshop with industry professionals and IACP members, Karen Gillingham and Vanessa Stump. Gillingham offered her stylist insight while Stump offered her photography chops. Both are based in Los Angeles and have made fulfilling careers for themselves. Because of their success, they were able to lead participants through a wonderful journey of tips, knowledge and hands on experience.

To make sure the workshop ran smoothly, Gillingham and Stump met ahead of time to do a test shoot and to go over the outline of what they wanted the workshop to include and discussed ideas for the hands on portion of the workshop.

During the workshop, participants got to see how these pros bring food and drink to life on set and in front of the camera (with the help of props and proper lighting), then they got to experiment for themselves.  There were four different subjects to shoot; rhubarb bread pudding, a spring greens salad, a Campari cocktail and a pork roast.  

Each participant was assigned a “job” - art director, client, photographer, food stylist, prop stylist, etc. This way, everyone could see how a shoot comes together as a team. There were plenty of tips to learn!  Participant Christine Gallery was on the team that made a Negroni and her favorite trick she learned was how to spray the glass to create condensation.

“I was amazed at the sheer amount of thought and work that went into the styling session. The hands-on approach was really where I learned the most, and that was where I could really see the experience of the instructors shine through. I would highly recommend having a similar session at the next conference, it was great!” -Christine Gallery

“I think it was a wonderful session and the amount of planning was amazing. We did run over, so my only comment is make it longer! The instructors had so many props for styling, cited lovely examples. It was one of the most planned and informative workshops for photo styling that I have ever attended at IACP.” - Valerie Gleason

“It was great fun collaborating with and roll playing with other IACP members. 
Karen Gillingham and her assistants were so well prepared. I loved the fact she set up four stations for the four shots. Product, props and backgrounds were at our fingertips. The prep that went into this was extremely impressive. To be able to access someone of her experience, face to face was a wonderful experience.” - Cheryl Lace, IACP Food Photographers and Stylists Co-Chair 

As a photographer, Stump’s favorite equipment is her Canon 5D mark III and what she calls her “magic” lens, the Canon EF Macro Lens 100mm F/2.8.  Good to know!

Both instructors wanted participants to walk away feeling inspired and educated.

“I wanted them to have the recognition that food styling is both art and science, both seriously and delightfully.” - Karen Gillingham

“I wanted to be inspiring to the participants in some way hopefully by sharing my path/ story/work.” - Vanessa Stump

They also had some good advice for novice stylists and photographers:

“Assist. Test. Hone kitchen skills. Pay attention to food and art trends.” - Gillingham

“Try to assist someone you respect and that has good business practices. Be a good, honest, trust-worthy person, show up when you say you are going to show up and deliver what you say you will deliver. Be nice to everyone - the world is small!” -Stump

Thanks to these amazing teachers, our IACP members learned a lot while having fun, nothing beats that!  

If you would like to see more workshops like this at next year’s conference, contact IACP CEO Martha Holmberg at

For more information about Karen Gillingham please visit
For more information about Vanessa Stump please visit

Seasonal Photography Tips and Tricks with the Co-founders of Edible Communities: Tracy Ryder & Carole Topalian


Q: Can you tell us a little about your backgrounds and what inspired you to start the whole Edible empire?

 A: We owned a graphic design and marketing firm where we did a lot of publication design for other companies as well as corporate identities, photography, website design and marketing campaigns. After twelve years running our creative agency, we decided to create a magazine for ourselves based on subject matter we really cared about and were interested in so we launched “Edible Ojai,” the first of the now-ninety Edible magazines across the United States and Canada.

Q: I know that Carole’s photos have been in most if not all of the Edible publications. Since they are seasonal magazines with very topical themes for each area, it must be a challenge to get images of farm fresh produce at the correct time to make printing deadlines.  Can you talk to us about your process to us? How far in advance do you have to shoot? Do you shoot on locations around the country?  Do you keep a stock image database that you can use?  

A: Yes, you’re correct. It’s challenging to stay on top of seasonality when deadlines come up prior to the time when things would be at their peak of ripeness. The only way around it is to anticipate and to think long-term. Now, after fourteen years of shooting for Edible magazines we have an archive of nearly 60,000 images that are stored online and are available to all of the publications to use at any time — the images include every kind of fruit and vegetable imaginable and all were photographed at the height of their season but it wasn’t always that way. There were lots of times during the early years where we would have to work a lot harder at styling because we would need something like pears in February and they simply weren’t available.

Q: What are your tips and tricks for creating the best, most interesting and freshest looking images of fruits, vegetables & plants?

A: Fortunately, fruits, vegetables and plants are beautiful things all on their own so there really isn’t a lot of hard work that goest into making them look terrific. Mainly, it’s important to remember that simplicity when it comes to natural subjects is sometimes best. Find the hero of the shot and focus on that. There’s no need for complicated styling or set ups, and if you’re lucky enough to be shooting these things in season, then it’s all that much easier.

We also like using wood and stone or an old painted table in terms of backgrounds. Natural looking settings go very well with fruits and vegetables and they feel so inviting. Light is really the most important aspect of all when it comes to photographing produce, plants and flowers in season. Natural light will always give you the best image. We tend to stick to the “less is more” philosophy when it comes to our photography. We like images that tell the true story of the thing we are photographing. No tricks. Just good natural light and the best possible ingredients (which, by the way, holds true for cooking and eating them too)!

Instagram Accounts That Inspire!

I am obsessed with food-focused Instagram feeds. How can simple dishes look so damn delicious that I want to reach in and take a bite? I have worked enough years behind the scenes at editorial photo shoots to know all their tricks, but I am always struck by the individuality of each photographer and stylist. I find the work of these people can provide much needed inspiration when the well is going dry! 

I was going to tell you which Instagram accounts you “must not miss”, but that is pretty subjective. Maybe I like all savory images but you are only turned on by the sweet. Perhaps you have no interest in the raw food imagery or would love to see behind the scenes images. It is impossible to narrow the list down to only the “must see”. Instead, I am going to share five new Instagram feeds that I discovered in the IACP directory of members, as well as 5 of my most recent favorite inspiring Instagram feeds from the food community at large.  I hope you enjoy.

IACP Members: I found these through a quick search of the IACP members directory on the website. It was hard to choose from such a talented group of professionals! Here are 5 that spoke to me. 

1: Alanna Lipson (@alannalipson) : Toronto-based writer, photographer & food stylist with a fierce sweet tooth!  Her photos of desserts are sinful. 

2: Mark Boughton (@markboughtonphotography) : Nashville food & travel photographer known for creative lighting techniques, attention-to-detail and natural style and composition. I like his Chef & restaurant portraits with a keen sense of place. (pictured right)

3: Liren Baker (@Kitchconfidante): California resident via New York with roots in the Philipines. Founder of the Kitchenconfidante blog where, according to Liren “ this space allows me to share my battered, overstuffed recipe binder and the stories behind them.” Her images are so bright & focused. (pictured left)

4: Lynda Balslev (@Tastefoodblog): A writer & photographer who studied cooking in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu & lived and raised her family in Europe for 15 years, she is now based in Northern California. Her Instagram mirrors her worldly view of cooking. 

5: Maggie Zhu (@omnivorescookbook): “A Chinese cook in an American Kitchen.” Author of Omnivore’s Cookbook Chinese recipes & daily inspirations. I especially love her foodie travel photos. (pictured right)

Instagrams that inspire me: Here are 5 of my favorite Instagrams from people whom I know “walk the walk” in the food world. Again, it was hard to narrow the field to 5 but I hope you like them as much as I do.

1: Susie Middleton (@sixburnersue): Ex Fine Cooking magazine editor in chief turned market gardener. Susie’s creative editorial eye and direct visual style can’t be beat for making you feel a part of her farm to table world. (pictured left)

2: Romulo A. Yanes (@freefrijoles): come on a daily journey behind the scenes with one of the hardest working food photographers out there. A former Gourmet Magazine photographer, his Instagram gives you a sense of being on set during photo shoot days. I love that he often mentions the food stylist on set and shows the tool kits, props etc.

3: Jen Yu (@userealbutter) :  Jen is a nature and food photographer based in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Her instagram is all about the food, foraging and life in the mountains. I suggest you view her blog as well. It is all just stunning. 

4: Andrew & Carrie Purcell (@carrieannepurcell) : the uber talented husband & wife team behind many editorial stories you may be reading in food publications right now. Andrew photographs & Carrie styles. The combination is dynamite:  clean, graphic & delicious. (pictured left)

5: Samantha Seneviratne (@samanthaseneviratne) : Author of the James Beard Award winning  cookbook “The New Sugar and Spice”, Sam is a former food stylist for Martha Stewart and it shows in her images of spectacular sweet treats. Not for those with no self control. Overeating of baked goods may happen! (pictured right)

What do you think of these? Did they inspire you? Do you have suggestions to share with us? Please send your favorites to us and we may post them on the IACP Food Photographers & Stylists Facebook Page

Kelly Coughlan Gearity

Food Photographers and Stylists Section Committee

Chair                                             Serena Lissy
Co-Chair                                       Cheryl Lace
Visions Editor                               Tara Redfield
Visions & Social Media Assistant  Kelly Gearity
Secretary                                       Maggie Zhu
Social Media Co Chair                   Sharlene Tan
Copyright © 2016 International Association of Culinary Professionals, All rights reserved.

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