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Monday, February 13, 2012

Editorial Food Photographer | Happy Bloody Valentine's Day Beet Cupcakes

I've never been big on Valentine's Day, or any holiday for that matter, except perhaps Halloween, which is why my branding is all orange. This recipe is perfect for me--sweet on the outside, blood red on the inside. So whether you're celebrating the gooey-ness of Valentine's Day or hating the holiday and everything it stands for, these cupcakes can very well represent either feeling in a tasty treat.

Just as I'm not-that-into Valentine's Day, I'm also not-that-into beets. I have found ways to eat them that aren't so bad-fried, roasted in tiny tiny pieces, in dishes made by world-renowned chefs....Yet putting them into cakes and cupcakes is the easiest way to use them up AND make other people eat them.  

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Orange Icing (Adapted from 
Cake Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups grated beets
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tblsp lemon juice

Icing Ingredients (Adapted from

1/2 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 package (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, soda, salt, sugar and cocoa in a bowl; set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs and oil. Beat in vanilla and continue beating until well blended. Slowly beat in dry ingredients until well mixed; stir in beets and lemon juice. Pour into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cupcakes bounce back when touched lightly with finger.
In medium mixer bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add sugar one cup at a time and milk. Mix well. Beat on high until smooth (only 30 seconds to 1 minute).
Frost cupcakes when cooled.

I like the orange icing to compliment the sweetness of the cupcakes. The lemon juice in the batter is meant to keep more of the red color from the beets, because when the cupcakes are baked, they turn into more of a brown color than a red color. You could always add red dye to fake the color, too.
Decorate with tiny hearts and red lips, or vampire teeth and drops of blood-your choice. Happy Bloody Valentine's Day to you all!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

5 Reasons You Should Have a Professional Portrait | Columbus Ohio Portrait Photographer

You may think your job does not require a professional portrait. Here are 5 reasons you're wrong. 

1. The Internet
More and more jobs are found online. Employers are finding employees and employees are finding employers. It doesn't matter which position you currently hold, both of you should have professional portraits. As the employer, don't you want to attract the best employees? As the employee, don't you want your employer to see a professional portrait to go along with the well-tailored LinkedIn profile you painstakingly slaved over for days?

Having a professional portrait plays a part in all of these scenarios. One single photo can say friendly, professional, strong, smart, confident, fun or kind. Whatever you want to say, your photo can say it. If they're meeting you online first, tell them who you are through your photo. No matter what, the picture makes the first impression, the words come second. Think of it the same way you would online dating. Really. First impressions are everything, right?

2. Professional Portrait says "Professional"
This rings true with ALL photos. Professional photos tell the viewer you're a professional. Believe me, people can tell the difference between professional, amateur and "I took this with my cell phone." If you don't care about the photos you show the world, it can be assumed you don't care about your brand, your job performance, your customers.... It's not always a conscious thought, but most "buying" decisions are made with a feeling, a gut instinct. A professional portrait might tip the scales just enough to your side without the other person even knowing why they made the decision to choose you. 

Look at this set of portraits pulled from a LinkedIn email. Twelve of them were taken by professional photographers who were hired to take a professional portrait.  The rest of them are snapshots. Can you pick out the professionals vs. the snapshots? Which one draws your eye first, and why?

3. The Person Behind the Profile
You're meeting a potential employer or client at a coffee shop for the first time. They'd like to have some idea of what you look like before walking in the door, so they look you up on LinkedIn before leaving the office.

Sure, they can get an idea of what you look like through a snapshot, but it won't be the best representation of you. What will they notice first? Is it the boyfriend you cut out of the frame whose arm still remains in the photo? Will they be wondering how recently you went to the beach, and how much vacation time you may be looking to take? Or more likely, they'll simply see an underexposed, on-camera flash photo of you that tells them nothing about how dedicated and hard-working you are at your job. (By the way, if you think a professional portrait won't be able to say this either, you haven't found the right photographer.)

4. An Edge
Whether you're a self-employed baker, the CEO of Bob Evans, or a barista at Starbucks, you need an edge over the competition.

If you're a business owner, making yourself a visible part of your business can set you apart from the rest. Think about how farmer's markets have grown in popularity over the last few years. Customers like to know who they're buying from. Giving them a view into who you are as a business owner is part of what they're looking for in the experience of shopping with a small business. Being transparent is good karma.

If you're part of a big company that doesn't provide head shots as a perk, you may want to have one taken on your own dime. What happens if you get laid off tomorrow? It might be nice to have a portrait ready to introduce you to your new job market. Maybe you work at Wasserstrom Restaurant Supply as a salesman. It's always nice to put a face to the name with personalized business cards that help your clients remember you.

If you're in food service, maybe you'd like to be considered for the manager position at another restaurant. Show them that your aspirations are serious and share your contagious smile with them before you even walk in the door. If you're a chef at a restaurant, making yourself known as the man behind the curtain will give customers more to talk about and make your name (and face) known throughout the community. If customers know who you are, they're more likely to follow you to your next venture.

5. Your Brand
Anymore, everyone is creating a brand for themselves. Few people have just one job and one title. These extra identities require a home base that brings them altogether. This home base could be your professional portrait. Keep your brand in good standing by putting your best face forward. Tell people who you are with one glance.

To hire Photo Kitchen for your next professional portrait, view our portfolio and pricing then contact us to schedule your session.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Columbus Ohio Food Photographer | iPhone Adventures at Loving Hut USA

I am now a happy resident of the iPhone world. It took me 5 years, but now that I'm here, I'll share my adventures of new-found freedom with you from the eyes of a food photographer. Why freedom? Well, for many years, I carried a point-and-shoot camera with me everywhere. I tried many incarnations of point-and-shoots, and hated them all. Either the battery life sucked, the noise level was too high, it was too bulky, etc, etc. Every time I used one, I'd hate it even more, and would eventually either stop carrying it, or stop using it.

But NOW I have freedom. My phone was always right next to me wherever I went before anyway, so why not have a camera in it? I'm not going to say iPhones replace cameras, especially not my nice, professional grade Canon cameras. No, what an iPhone lacks (and it does lack) in photo-taking, it makes up for in convenience. The convenience of always having it with me, of being able to upload photos no matter where I am, of doing post-editing adjustments on-the-fly, and the convenience of not having people stare at me when I pull a camera out of my bag.

While I've had my iPhone for a few weeks, this is my first play with food photography. Over time I will master food photography on the iPhone, but right now I'm just playing around. And really, when I'm out to lunch with friends, that's all I really want to do anyway.

Onto the food. My friend and I went a little outside our neighborhood to Reynoldsburg, a suburb of Columbus that isn't really known for food. From what my friend read, Loving Hut chooses to put their restaurants in areas that aren't known for vegetarian/vegan friendly food, because they want to create better options for the residents and introduce them to something that might be totally new. What a brilliant idea--every time I go on vacation or travel to an outskirt neighborhood, I'm reminded of how few options there are when it comes to non-chain restaurants and vegetarian-friendly restaurants. While Loving Hut is a chain, it certainly doesn't feel like one.

We decided to order together, so we could try as many things as possible. The prices were super reasonable, so I wasn't worried about over-ordering for the sake of money. I really did enjoy every dish we got, starting with smoothies and appetizers.

To view the whole menu in detail, check out the Reynoldsburg location menu. There weren't many things I DIDN'T want to order, so it was hard to narrow down. I enjoyed both drinks. My Pink Nectar was more of a juice, but with a nice, creamy texture, and my friend's was much thicker, with a really good (but indistinct) flavor. If you're allergic to nuts, it may be hard to eat here, as there are nuts throughout the whole menu and in most of what we ordered.

The Saigon Rolls were fresh and light, but I'll be honest and say I like Nida's rolls better. The soup was really creamy, they use a soy cream cheese base (brilliant!). It tasted like something I'd make at home-in a good way.

The Love Letter salad was a favorite for both of us. I loved the julienned veggies and apples (though a little messy to eat) and the avocado dressing was awesome. The Gyro Wrap had a great sauce on it with lots of dill. The veggie protein in the wrap was really tasty, even by itself. The Thai Curry was my other favorite. A great depth of flavor and textures, very creamy and a really substantial meal I'd love to eat again. I will be making another trip to Loving Hut soon to share the great find with more friends. Vegetarian or not, I think everyone has the potential to enjoy the food. I can imagine my meat-eating friends saying "But it doesn't TASTE vegan!"