Food Photography & Styling | June Assignment | Fish Two Ways Raw & Cooked | Bradenton-Sarasota Food Photographer

Welcome to another monthly challenge with the ladies of The Inspired Plate!  Back in January, 15 of us joined forces to challenge ourselves in the area of food photography and styling.

And speaking of food photography and styling, I attended an incredible workshop in New York City yesterday with none other than Béa Peltre who is an AMAZING food photographer and stylist, as well as blogger.  I can’t wait to share yesterday’s experience in my next blog post!

Meanwhile, I’m sitting in my hotel room at the New York Hilton trying to get this month’s challenge post done while keeping one eye on The Weather Channel (and hoping that I don’t have any trouble flying back to FL this afternoon due to Tropical Storm Debby) and wondering how to describe the execution of my “Fish Two Ways – Raw &  Cooked” assignment.  Well, it started off on the right foot – after shopping at Southgate Plaze, I wandered over to Siesta Key to check out Big Water Fish Market which opened last November.  He had a beautiful selection of fresh fish and although I think my heart was set on Chilean sea bass, I really felt like I should go with grouper since it’s so indigenous to Florida.  He pulled out a tub that just came in from the gulf waters – and talk about fresh!  We captured my “raw” photo there and I thanked him for his hospitality and for allowing me to take some pictures.  It’s a wonderful market and I’m sure they will be very successful.

I only had once chance to develop my recipe and to get it prepared – I decided to alter a recipe I’ve made with Chilean sea bass and changed it up by adding a new layer of flavor with mayonnaise and Monterey Jack cheese that was inspired by a recipe of Paula Deen on the Food Network site.  Okay, so a little decadent as compared to my original recipe!  I held off getting it into the oven as it was going to be dinner (I’m not crazy about letting a fish dish sit or to reheat it) and all the while thinking I would have plenty of natural light.  Ha!  What I didn’t notice was the storm approaching from the south and before I knew it, it was almost dark as night out.  At that point, the fish was in the oven, but my entire plan for the photography setting was basically screwed.  I would have to pull out my Lowel EGO lights and either move everything into the office where I had room to set up the lights, or to try to squeeze a light in my original setting.  I just was too tired and feeling too rushed to try to recreate a setting, so I put a light on a chair in between my sliding door and tabletop and hoped it would work and not blow out exposure.

It worked – it’s a bright image but I breathed a sigh of relief that I was able to get the assignment done.  The recipe for Grouper Monterey Jack with Leeks and Shallots can be found near the end of the post.


Please continue on to see what the other ladies in the group showcased this month – next up is Cayce Wegman | Boston, MA Photographer.




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[…] The raw seafood I chose was a nice New England Lobster roll grilled on a buttered roll ( Mussels just aren’t that photogenic when they’re closed). Yes the Lobster is technically not raw because it’s cooked and then chilled but I’m sure the talented food photographers in our group will let this slide Please follow along and check out Stacey Siegal | Bradenton-Sarasota Food and Styling Photography | Longboat Key Photographer… […]

cayce - June 25, 2012 - 8:53 am

Stacey this looks sooo delicious! I love the subtle raw photo of the fish, very clean and nice colors!

Kim - Liv Life - June 25, 2012 - 9:13 am

Your lighting turned out beautifully! I have one of those lights, and have been contemplating purchasing a second… with results like these, I think I need to do that!
The Sea Bass is a fish I’ve never tried, but you have me intrigued!

Kat - June 25, 2012 - 9:24 am

Sounds tasty! Looks beautiful too. I love the touch of green you added. And that’s awesome that you have such a great little seafood place near you. Stay safe in the storm and I cant’ wait to see your workshop post!

Kay Pickens - June 25, 2012 - 10:54 am

Can’t wait to see the recipe too. Stay safe from that storm.

I think you did a great job with these…even if the natural light wasn’t cooperating for you!

Valeria - June 25, 2012 - 11:46 am

Sure looks delicious and I love the collage. I do like the light as well.

Tammy Bilodeau - June 25, 2012 - 12:13 pm

Stacey lovely, lovely photos. the light looks great and so does that fish. I am going to have to check back for the recipe. Great work.

Sabrina Wong - July 16, 2012 - 3:34 am

Your dish looks really tasty stacey, it looks good with the artificial light, I didn’t notice until you pointed it out 😉

It’s hard producing a meal for a specific time… I always end up finishing my styled meals somewhere between lunch and dinner!

Documenting a Departure | Longboat Key, Bradenton, Sarasota FL Photographer

With age comes new adventures and opportunities.  Part of me wants to turn the clock back to the days when my son was little; other times I embrace his journey into young adulthood.

As my son departed for the Duke TIP three week summer program on Sunday, my mommy emotions were escalating in competing directions……feeling so proud that he was invited to this program and knowing what a great experience it would be for him in so many ways, but on the other hand, feeling almost panicked with the realization that time is going by so quickly now.  These are three weeks I don’t get to spend with him or to capture some memories with him.

He gets to create his own memories.    Independent of me.

It’s called growing up and letting go.

And I know he will be just fine.


Packing – actually easier for three weeks than a week.  I think everyone knows by now that packing is not my favorite thing.

Quarters for laundry.

Ready for departure.

Entering the dormitory.

Welcome sign.

Setting up his room.

Final photos before Alex encourages us to be on our way….

We’ll see you in three weeks!


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Jen | Localette - June 12, 2012 - 5:30 pm

Great photos :) What an awesome experience he’s about to embark on!! He’ll never forget it. Just think about all the great stories he’ll be eager to share with you when he returns home! Thinking of you and at least you have an incredible workshop to go to soon! ;))

Sarah Potwin - June 12, 2012 - 5:35 pm

I am so proud of Alex for participating in the Duke program. Bravo! Now you and Dad can find out what it is like in a quiet house….glad to see that Dad is in the pink of health.

I can only imagine the emotions you are feeling this week…just sending Chase off to preschool was tough for me! Beautiful images and I know they will mean so much to him too!

Kim - Liv Life - June 12, 2012 - 10:21 pm

Oh, Stacey! I can feel it… right there at the top of my stomach, that little tightening that threatens to overflow. You did good mom!
I’m so excited for him! What an awesome opportunity.

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!