Food Photography & Styling | January Assignment | Healthy Dish


























Well it’s January and that usually means a flurry of new promises and resolutions and all kinds of hope for the new year.

And healthy eating after holiday indulgences…….

I feel like I missed the holidays; oh well.  But you what?  I always look forward to January.  I anticipate the food magazines with their issues on healthy recipes and ways to jump start your metabolism and just don’t pay a lot of attention to all of the holiday hoopla.  Just kind of cook like normal around here I guess.

Anyway…..I’m back with the ladies of The Inspired Plate; sorry to have missed November and December!

Baby arugula is something I practically live on.  If it’s not in my refrigerator, that means something is terribly wrong.  Why is it so healthy?   It contains two cancer fighters called kaempferol and quercetin. It can reduce the risk of lung cancer as well.  I use it in just about all of the salads I make, and it’s also delicious just barely mixed into hot pasta or as a bed for a nice lean steak.

I call this a “pantry salad” as it utilizes ingredients that I always have on hand (besides arugula!) that can be found lurking in my cabinets and cupboards.  Hearts of palm – I really love – but don’t know why I have six cans in my inventory.  I also always have shallots on hand – and as with this recipe, often saute them for a topping for just about anything.  It adds a whole new level of flavor to so many dishes.

Please continue over to Tiffany Dahle from Peanut Blossom to see her Roast Chicken recipe!



Have a great day and be sure to check out everyone’s healthy recipes!

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Jennifer - January 28, 2013 - 1:15 pm

How can you go wrong with crispy shallots?! Looks absolutely fabulous and I had no idea that baby arugula was so extra good for you. YAY!
Love your colors this month-they feel so refreshing. :-)

Kim - Liv LIfe - January 28, 2013 - 4:05 pm

My dear Stacey… wow! While the salad itself looks delicious, the photos are simply stunning. I adore that shot of the crispy shallots…. what an addition to the salad. Arugua is a favorite in my house as well, I discovered it a few years ago and simply can’t get enough. I hadn’t thought to stir it into the warm pasta, but I’m thinking I will love it.
Beautiful photos Stacey… so good to have you back!

Kat - January 28, 2013 - 11:33 pm

Nice choice of accessories. I love how the blue and red invigorate the beauty of your salad. Nicely done.

Mara M | Family & Senior Session | Longboat Key & Bradenton FL Photographer

Two locations, three outfits….family plus extended family also – great job Mara!  We got it all in.

Funny (sort of) story.  I try to scope out a session’s location ahead of time, especially if there may be mobility issues to consider.  So I hopped on my bike and went down to check out the beach and general landscape of the condos where part of this particular family resides.  As I was checking out possibilities for the group family shots, an elderly woman who was getting in the car with her husband (probably to go to early bird dinner??) screamed out, “HEY!  You don’t belong here.


To which she added, even more loudly, “YOU’RE TRESPASSING.”

Now ya know, I live just up the street and my community – as does every community here on LBK – has a sign that states the very same thing…..No Trespassing.  That does not mean that I stop every person who cuts through my community or who uses our access to the beach since I don’t know – without asking kindly – if perhaps they are visiting someone.  Don’t really need to put people in an embarrassing situation, you know?

Well except for the occasional obnoxious surfer dudes that use your outdoor showers and stuff.  Have no trouble sending them on their way.

Did I look threatening?  Did I look like I was going to rob the community?  Yeah, being a middle-aged mom in bike shorts and Nikes I’m sure is really scary.

Anyway, my clients knew exactly which neighbor had her britches in a snit.  And wouldn’t you know – while our shoot was underway, we looked up and caught the woman and her husband watching us from their condo.  Literally like through the entire session.  Didn’t we all wave to them at some point?

Seriously people need to get a life.

Thanks Mara and family for having such a great sense of humor – and it was a pleasure to work with you.  Thank you for choosing me to capture your memories.

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Looking Into the Crystal Ball | Friends of Selby Library Event | Longboat Key & Bradenton FL Photographer

As much as I enjoy my portrait photography work, I am a foodie at heart and try to find as many opportunities to shoot food.  Although I love natural light and uncrowded venues and the gorgeous simplicity of a beautifully styled plate,  it is a a nice change of pace to attend a food-related event, something that we have PLENTY of here in the Greater Sarasota-Bradenton area.

Last Wednesday evening, Friends of Selby Library presented its casual “friend-raising” affair Looking into the Crystal Ball inside the Selby Library here in Sarasota, FL.   The library was jam-packed and everyone enjoyed tasty bites from approximately 25 restaurants, chefs, and food vendors including Cafe Americano, Helmsley Sandcastle, Tequila Cantina, Half Shell Oyster Bar, Chef Craig Chasky with WowMee tm Cuisine, Gordon Food Service, and South Sound Clams, Beverly’s Gluten Free, Patrick’s, Mattison’s, Cafe Amici, Square 1, Sangria Tapas, Sappore della Vita, Greek Glendi, and Courto’s Katas.

I should have prepared myself to be “wowed” by private chef/caterer, nutritional adviser, and culinary instructor Chef Craig Chasky’s Venus Sunrays Fra Diablo.  I am a New England girl first and foremost (except when it’s cold) and love clams and still remember some of the best places to enjoy them from Maine to Rhode Island to the Cape.  Well, these were amazing…..and are procured in the Sarasota area through South Sound Clams.  Are you interested?  South Sound Clams has a booth at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market every Saturday.  To read more about Sunray Venus clams, please click HERE.

Being a mermaid at an event like this is a plus.
Love the delicious extra virgin olive oils from Sapore della Vita – another Sarasota Farmer’s Market vendor.  They carry only the finest products crafted by artisan producers.
Grab this recipe!  Now!
Chef Daniel Milks preparing what I imagine to be lemon curd tartlets.  I forgot to try one – went back for more clams instead.

I’m not really a dessert person, but I love lemon curd.  Anything lemon, really.
You would never know it was actually pretty dark in here…..
Chef Craig Chasky wowed the people waiting in line with his bountiful Mediterranean offerings as well as with a demonstration of his soooo delicious dish.  I think I already said that?
Photographers:  Tips and Tricks for Indoor Event Shooting:


Okay, just (mostly) kidding.

I am a natural light photographer and do not embrace this kind of indoor light.  Ever.  I dislike flash and dislike flash even more when there’s no opportunity to even bounce the light to soften it.  Do I carry a flash?  Yes, always.  But it’s rare that I pull it out.

Two helpful tips:

1.  Use the highest ISO your camera offers.  Yes, you will have grain.  You can reduce some of it with a good software plugin such as Noiseware.  Most of my images were shot with an ISO of 2000 to 2500.  When I went upstairs where it was practically dark, I cranked my ISO up to 3200.

2.  Shoot as wide open as you can to let enough light into your lens but not so wide that you lose much of your image of food by such a shallow depth of field.  I was shooting with a 28-70 f/2.8L lens at primarily f/4  which, because of my close distance to the food, was still in some respects too shallow of a depth of field for my taste.   It’s a trade-off of getting the shot or having your shutter speed drop too low which will create shake and blur.



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Kim - Liv Life - January 15, 2013 - 7:39 pm

Well done Stacey!! What a fabulous event…oh, how I would love to have been there. And a great job with that low light, always a difficult shoot. I’m not very good at removing grain… will have to try your software.

Tammy Bilodeau - January 15, 2013 - 7:58 pm

Great job!! I think you embraced the light and the images are wonderful. Such a great event to have attended

Spencer | Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School 2013 | Bradenton-Sarasota FL Senior Photographer

After a busy summer of family beach shoots, it was a wonderful switch to be booked for several local high school senior sessions.  Spencer was first on the list and our session was scheduled on the grounds of New College in Sarasota.  Perfect setting – except when it is WINDY.  It was a crazy blustery October day, and the gusts coming across the bay actually produced some camera shake – and my camera and lens are by no means light!   Great shoot Spencer – thanks for your patience and I love your images.

Please scroll down to see one of the products Spencer’s mom is receiving – it’s a 4×8 accordian album, perfect for toting in a purse or in the car and captures at least 9-13 favorite images from a session.  I carry several designer templates for these, all with either a modern or urban flair, and may I also add these are also available in sets of two or three and they make GREAT gifts for friends and family.

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Kathy Hysmith - December 11, 2012 - 9:57 pm

Great pictures of a very handsome senior, Stacey. I love the accordian album’s lay-out and design. What a nice keepsake for his parents.

The K Family from Indiana Beach Session | Longboat Key & Bradenton FL Photographer

Oh my, I am feeling so far behind with my blog posts! It’s been a very busy eight or so weeks between family sessions and high school senior shoots, but I will do my best to get caught up. I was really disappointed to miss this month’s Food Photography & Styling challenge with my gals from The Inspired Plate, but I’ll certainly try to get my December post up! If you would like to see what the TIP ladies did for November, please head on over to The Inspired Plate and take a look. The theme is The Holiday Table and I can tell that their posts and images are both wonderful and gorgeous!

Back to people sessions! This beautiful family from Indiana was visiting with the husband’s parents here on Longboat Key recently. Their little girl was absolutely adorable, but of course not interested in me or my camera as so it is at that age! It was a pleasure to meet them and to capture memories for them!

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