The H Family Session | Longboat Key & Bradenton FL Photographer

Although I love the photo sessions that I do with the many folks and families from across the country who visit Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island each year, it is equally as nice to be contacted by and to work with a local family.  This session was a blast – we started off at Durante Park on beautiful Longboat Key (where it briefly started to rain) and then ventured to the beach where we concluded the session.

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Sammi - June 4, 2012 - 2:37 pm

So, so gorgeous!!! They coordinated beautifuly and you captured them perfectly! :)

Leah - June 4, 2012 - 8:20 pm

What a beautiful family. Love the location and the love between them. Excellent session!

Val Spring - June 5, 2012 - 4:08 am

You are making me crave the beach with these images! Great work!

Skye - June 5, 2012 - 4:15 am

These are so great, the beach shots are fantastic and so fun! Love the shots of the guys being silly- captures their personalities well :)

Great family pictures! I LOVE how the cloudy sky made some of the pictures look so dramatic!

What a beautiful family. The location looks gorgeous and your lighting is beautiful, fabulous pictures!

Krista Lund - June 7, 2012 - 8:46 am

great job capturing the family connection and love.

amy grace - June 8, 2012 - 5:23 pm

i know how difficult it can be, photographing a larger group, but you make it look easy, and flawless. what a natural, lovely session, especially the beach shots :)

jules - June 9, 2012 - 2:11 pm

such a beautiful family! I’m sure they are so happy with these!

Meagan Baker - Family Photographer - June 9, 2012 - 7:43 pm

Looks like a fun session. Nice family portraits.

Rachel May - June 9, 2012 - 10:41 pm

What a beautiful family! And such a fun location! Beautiful!

A Better Way to Refuel with Lunch – Stacey’s Lunchtime Power Salad | Longboat Key Photographer

I all too often seem to grab a small sub for lunch because it’s easy and convenient (and also gives me the license to add a few potato chips to the sandwich) but I’ve really started to notice just how “ick” I feel after this type of lunch, even in spite of “healthier” sub options and choosing whole wheat bread.  The culprit?  Sodium.

I like salty things.  I’m not a sweets kind of  girl……don’t try to ply me with cookies and cake.  But the sodium issue is something I’ve really started to take seriously, in spite of my (fortunately) low blood pressure. Who says it will stay that way?  High blood pressure ran rampant on my dad’s side of the family so I don’t consider myself exempt.

So……time for some changes.  To do away with all that sodium that is unfortunately present in processed foods such as deli meats, breads, cheese, and condiments means giving up those subs and deli meats in general.  I know there’s plenty of low-sodium alternatives, but I want to take this to another level where I actually crave something different for lunch.

Welcome to the Power Salad.  It’s delicious.  It’s gluten-free.  It’s low-calorie.  It packs a protein punch from the egg and pine nuts.  It is high in antioxidants thanks to the arugula, spinach, and radishes.  I didn’t realize that radishes pack quite a free-radical eliminating punch which decreases cancer risk!

This salad can easily come in at under 500 calories – pine nuts do have calories ( 190 calories for 1/4 cup) and fat (good fat).  A hard-boiled egg is 70 calories, and one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil comes in at 120 calories. This salad really benefits from a good-quality oil and a nice little pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. I’m still getting my little salt fix without those gross amounts of “hidden” sodium in the processed lunch foods.

I’m happy.



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“I” Family Beach Session | Longboat Key Photographer

This session was a gift to the dad from his three adult children, and what a special session it was!  With the sun setting so late here on the west coast of Florida, it was not in the cards to keep the sweet twins waiting for the “golden hour” before sunset, so everyone braved the bright afternoon sun and donned sunglasses when necessary.  I should also probably mention that the twin girls didn’t want anything to do with me……which is usually the case with anyone under the age of one.  And sometimes under the age of three.  Or even five.  Sometimes the bright sun, the “big” water, and the heat are a bit too much for even the hardiest of little souls.  (And even some grownups, too…..)

It was a pleasure to meet everyone and thank you for choosing me as your photographer.

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Andrea - May 22, 2012 - 7:06 pm

These are awesome! Love beach portraits- the colors rock!

Food Photography & Styling | May Assignment | Magazine Cover Inspiration | Bradenton-Sarasota Food Photographer

Back in January, I joined a circle of photographers who wanted to hone their food photography and styling skills.  It’s an awesome group to be a part of – an amazing circle of encouragement and support, both personal and professional.  These ladies rock.

Each month we tackle an assignment and post our results on our respective blogs on the 20th of the month (21st for this month).  This month’s challenge is to recreate a food magazine cover that inspires you.  Ha!!!  I’m a magazine junkie and thought it would be easy.

Um, not.

But….I love what I chose and it involved little to no styling props and lots of bright light and a white background which I lean towards.   And I already had a similar plate upon which the magazine food was presented.  So far so good.  *wink*

I finally got down to the business of making and shooting the dish late yesterday afternoon. Nothing like the last minute???  The dish is a main course salad from the Spring 2012 issue of Cook Fresh which is a supplemental publication by Fine Cooking magazine and published by Taunton.  The recipe – Grilled Asparagus and Steak Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette – wasn’t difficult, but it had a lot of steps and then trying to replicate all the little bits of watercress and microgreens WAS trying, lol.  I started to feel a little cross-eyed needless to say.  Here is my result:

And that’s my watermelon, too, in the top corner.  A farmer’s market purchase on Saturday and delicious as well.

This was a good and interesting challenge – some of us (especially me) weren’t sure how closely to copy the magazine cover or not.   I felt I wanted to copy as closely as I could with of course giving the magazine credit.  It was really up to our personal interpretation this month.

Would you like to see my version and the magazine’s side-by-side?  Here you go……

I *think* I came pretty close – what do you think?  It was fun creating the sidebar titles but it took some time trying different fonts.  The bar code was a free clip art download.

Here’s a pull back of the scene and settings were shutter 1/80, ISO 320, and f/4.5:

Whew, I’m glad I manged to get through this month’s challenge!  Next up is Laurie Vengoechea | Southern California Food Photographer.|.  She is an amazing food photographer and heads up our group and rightfully so!  Please click through all of our blogs – they are linked as a circle.  Enjoy.  :)

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Allison Jacobs - May 21, 2012 - 10:12 am

This is perfection Stacey. Totally and completely exceeded anything I imagined for this challenge!!! I pinned your pullback too just for future reference (love that you included that shot). Your details are great including the bar scan thingy at the bottom!

Tammy Bilodeau - May 21, 2012 - 10:23 am

Ummmm….. Amazing Stacey. You rocked this one. Perfect backdrop, nice bright white, and simple clean elements. Well Done.

Dawn - May 21, 2012 - 10:36 am

Stacey, I like you version much better. Cleaner, crisper! Also like the categories better too. Great job! :)

Kay Pickens - May 21, 2012 - 10:54 am

That looks great…and yummy! You really did nail this copy inspiration! I love that you included the pullback. Nice table! How great to have it to shoot on.

Tiffany | Develop - May 21, 2012 - 11:06 am

Wow, Stacey! I have image of you poking at those asparagus for hours to get it “just so”, I can’t believe how close to the original you were able to come. Fantastic work!! What an exercise in capturing detail.

Laurie - May 21, 2012 - 1:21 pm

Your work is AMAZING Stacey!!! You have captured every detail in this piece and your recipe. I don’t have the patience to be so exact! Your photo skills, creativity and detailed eye is one of the strengths of our group!! You are a key player friend, and I’m so glad this challenge came at the right time. You are going to rock at the food photography class in New York. Perfect time for you to be introduced into the food styling and photography industry!! Lots of love my friend!! xoxo

Jen | Localette - May 21, 2012 - 6:19 pm

Stacey!!! This is STUNNING. Absolutely stunning!!! I am blown away by your skills, not just with photography but with your impeccable food styling. You are going to go far!!!!

Kat - May 21, 2012 - 11:59 pm

This is remarkable Stacey. You attention to detail is stunning. The colors jump off the page. I’m so excited for you to go to your food photography workshop, and I’m guessing you will be at the head of your class. Sweet job!

Andrea - May 22, 2012 - 8:39 pm

Wow! That’s awesome! I know how challenging food photography can be- I think you did an amazing job!!

Sabrina - May 24, 2012 - 8:15 am

The salad sits really nicely – all that work you put into arranging the little pieces has definitely paid off :) Looks fresh and tasty, love your cover Stacey!

Kim - Liv Life - May 25, 2012 - 12:18 am

Oh, Stacey!!! You are absolutely amazing!! Pretty close?? I think so! The asparagus placement is perfect. I’m impressed by your titles and really could use a lesson… I’ve not worked with words in any programs yet. But I learned collages, so I hope I can learn titles!
Fabulous dish for summer!

Food Photography & Styling | April Assignment | Pasta | Longboat Key Photographer

Ready for another challenge assignment from ladies of The Inspired Plate?  I can’t believe it’s already venturing into the latter part of April….I’m not sure where the heck time went.

Anyway, this month is all about styling and photographing a pasta dish.  I looove pasta as most folks do so I was looking forward to this assignment.  But what to make????  And what would photograph well??  Since it’s spring and has been consistently in the 80s here in Florida for weeks, the thought of a heavy or rich pasta dish didn’t seem quite appealing, so I developed an easy recipe – Ditalini Caprese  – which can be served warm or at room temperature and is light and fresh in taste.  And – it’s KID-FRIENDLY which is (unfortunately still) an important feature at our house.  There is ALWAYS fresh mozzarella in our fridge – yes, always.  I made the mistake of running out once or twice and it was not a good thing  according to my 12 year old son.  You see, I somehow managed to get him to try it way back when (and he liked it!) and it’s part of the reason that he warmed up to eating salads. So now if it’s left out of a salad, uh-oh.  Oh he’ll still eat it, but it’s not quite the same.

Okay, on to the recipe and photos….



It’s really delicious for lunch, a side dish, or a take-along to gathering.

Here is a pullback of the final shot:

My settings on manual were f/4.0, shutter 1/125, and ISO 250.  I was in the shade in the front area of my garage, with my diffuser panel handy to diffuse the strong mid-morning sun.  In hindsight, I feel the green of the plate clashes with the green of the basil, so another lesson learned.  As always, things look different in different types of light!

Do you use a garlic press?  I had one years ago and then at some point they didn’t seem to be “cool” anymore.  I don’t know what happened to mine – it probably got sold along with all of my *ahem* valued food props when my husband commissioned an estate sale for much of the contents of our NY house, along with the contents of his parent’s house .  I still don’t think I’ve quite gotten over that!  Although I generally mince my garlic with a knife, I did pick up a new press at some point in time.

As always, our blogs are linked to form a circle.  Please continue on to see what pasta dishes the rest of our group styled and shot, starting with Jennifer Olson | San Luis Obispo, CA Photographer.  She’s darn good at making food look scrumptious.

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Amanda Eller - April 20, 2012 - 9:13 am

Oh Stacey! I always love your shots! I love that last shot…the tomatoes are gorgeous and shiny! Looks yummy too, bet my kids will love it!

Tammy Bilodeau - April 20, 2012 - 9:54 am

Oh this looks lovely! I have never seen that type of pasta before!! Very interesting. Your pictures are beautiful, the color of your tomatoes just sings “Summertime” to me. Beautiful addition to this months theme as always. :)
Thanks for the pull back, I love seeing these and WOW on the size of that reflector hee hee hee…..

Tiffany | Develop - April 20, 2012 - 11:00 am

Gorgeous, Stacey!! Those colors!! It all looks so fresh and light and airy. Perfect springtime dish. Love that wooden bowl with the tomatoes and your entire color palette. Great job!

Jen Olson - April 20, 2012 - 11:05 am

I LOVE the colors!! This looks straight out of a magazine ad! Awesome job!! Thank you for sharing your setup, I love that!!

Laurie - April 20, 2012 - 12:57 pm

Stacey!!! I love your style.. it is so fresh and inviting! Love your photo’s and that recipe.. oh my goodness.. Caprese salad’s are one of my favs.. so the caprese pasta dish is a must to try!

Love you much friend and am so happy to share in this journey with you!! xoxo

Kat - April 20, 2012 - 4:09 pm

Beautiful job Stacey. I love your green bowl and the tomatoes and an awesome burst of color. Thanks for showing your set up as well. Your vent would make an interesting backdrop as well.

Kim - Liv LIfe - April 20, 2012 - 4:37 pm

Beautiful Stacey! I didn’t notice the green on green until you mentioned it, but I did notice the green bowl and thought how much I liked it. I have white, yep, white everything! I need to keep my eye out for new colors.
And the recipe I adore! This is one that would work in my family as well, we are still in the kid-friendly mode as well. Somehow I”m not sure those years will ever end!
Thank you for the lovely comments… you always make me smile!

Carrie Terrones (Las Vegas Photographer) - April 22, 2012 - 1:23 pm

I love the detail you put into your food posts as well as seeing the pullback. So cool and looks like a delicious dish!

Carey Pace - April 23, 2012 - 12:33 pm

I LOVE ditalini for kids and this looks yumtastic!!! I love how you included the pull back shot as well. I always love how you manage and manipulate the light for your food images. This has me aching for summer here with fresh tomatoes and basil!!!