Who printed it?
I printed it with Mixam – they were extremely helpful throughout the process, allowed for a great deal of customization, and I was very pleased with their paper options/printing quality.
Who designed it?
I did! I’ve always had an appreciation for design and took a few classes in some of the appropriate adobe programs throughout my college career. Since my design skills are limited – I kept the book simple and practical. Imitating a cookbook style was the goal since I wanted this booklet to have a purpose.
Tell me about the images?
Throughout the year 2020, as work was sporadic (pandemic…), I had more time to dedicate and brainstorm about personal projects that I wanted to execute. I had dozens of ideas written down into a notebook, but an idea I jotted down which focused on citrus seemed the most relevant and intriguing. Originally, the project was going to cover lemons, limes, and oranges, with a sweet, savory, and drink image/recipe to go along with each.
I strive to provide a purpose, or message through my photography, which can sometimes be more challenging, or secondary, when comparing food photography to portraiture, or documentary photography. I kept brainstorming about how to make this project mean something, rather than just a collection of pretty food images…That is when the cliche phrase “When life gives you lemons” popped into my head. Although cliche, I ran with it — it was the perfect way to introduce my food photography, which might seem “irrelevant” during such a trauma filled time, and make it relevant, by reminding ourselves that throughout all of the stress, anxiety, sadness, and trauma we’ve all experienced this past year, it has been up to us to find the light to keep going. For years, I’ve worked on developing an artificial light setup that replicates a very specific form of natural light, not one that is direct and harsh with shadows that are dark and defined, and not one that is diffused by clouds, but a unique in-between. I finally nailed it about 2 years ago, and this book is a great example of that.
So, I decided to ditch limes and oranges (for now!) and run with just lemons. I put together 3 recipes with some inspiration from a variety of notable food publications.
The first pair of images of a Penicillin Cocktail – which is made up of a lot of immune-boosting ingredients, like honey, ginger, lemon, etc. I thought it was the perfect cocktail combination for the topic + time.
The second pair of images, Pasta Al Limone — is a classic Italian recipe, which incorporates all the works….parm, butter, carbs, etc. The addition of lemon juice and a lemon garnish really brighten and lighten up the dish.
The third pair of images – Candied Lemon Donuts is another riff on turning sour to sweet. It’s a simple recipe that doesn’t create a frying oil mess in the kitchen. Candied lemons are great for a number of things, and in this case, I loved how they photographed on a white glazed donut.
The book’s packaging is also carefully chosen – freezer vacuum seal bags which food is typically stored in, which was perfect for a book on food!
How many did you make?
3 dozen. The 3 dozen covered my current client base, a majority of prospective clients that I’m currently building relationships with, and a couple of close friends who wanted a copy for themselves.
How many times a year do you send out promos?
Once or twice a year, no more than that unless it feels absolutely necessary. I would much rather put a great deal of time and effort into one solid promo, which will leave a lasting impression than send them out frequently, and be less effective. The timing is important too. I sent this out at the beginning of the year 2021…the book’s theme touched on turning a new page or finding light in a dark time, and the new year was a great time to capitalize on that.
Do you think printed promos are effective for marketing your work?
Absolutely…just sending out a book won’t do it though. It still takes being consistent, building and managing your relationships with clients, and great work, to leave an impression. I have to remind myself that every day!
I think of it like hammer and nail. The nails are the client outreach, emailing, the social networking, relationship building, etc. A really good promo is your hammer. It’s your tangible work that shows your style and what you can do, allowing potential clients to pin you up on their board of people they might hire.
As a photographer, I know that my clients manage hundreds, if not thousands of emails from people just like me, who are trying to get their foot in the door. This promo has helped me get my work/name out there, but on its own, it won’t win me a job. It takes a village…
I once was told by an Art Buyer, when I showed up to a meeting with a physical portfolio, despite everything going digital, she said “there’s still nothing like printed, tangible work, nothing will replace it.” My printed portfolio allows you to remove+replaces an image at any time. She took advantage and kept one print for herself during our meeting!