Today’s Special: Food Photographer
Nader Khouri + Chef Dominique Crenn

Chef Dominique Crenn was named the World’s Best Female Chef of 2016, and her San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn holds two Michelin stars. So when LG tapped Food Photographer Nader Khouri to shoot portraits of her for their LG Signature campaign, Nader knew he’d met his match.

A photo of Chef Dominique Crenn’s hands holding a strainer over her prep station, by Food Photographer Nader Khouri

Chef Dominique Crenn preparing herbs for a dish. Photo by Food Photographer Nader Khouri.

“She is so inspired by the poetry and emotion of food, I knew my style would be the perfect fit,” says Nader. Both artists are guided and motivated by storytelling. Crenn often bases dishes on her memories of growing up in Brittany while Nader’s background in journalism guides his lens toward human truths.

[one_half]Food and Lifestyle Photographer Nader Khouri’s Photo of Chef Dominique Crenn preparing her restaurant for guests[/one_half][one_half_last]Portrait of Chef Dominique Crenn by Food and Lifestyle Photographer Nader Khouri[/one_half_last]

In fact, Nader photographed Chef Crenn once before in 2009, so they easily regained their rapport. For LG, Nader spent a full day with Crenn in and around San Francisco, taking candid and staged portraits and shooting food photography of her final plated dishes. “She has so much excitement for what she does, and it shows,” says Nader. “It’s nice seeing how she’s evolved.”

A dramatic photo by Food Photographer Nader Khouri of an artistic dish created by Dominique Crenn

The LG Signature campaign focuses on the Signature of different creators from various artistic realms including fashion design, food and dance. Chef Crenn’s signature is “Serving Memories,” and the abalone dish she created during her day with Nader evoked memories of the first time she saw a beautiful abalone shell as a young girl.

Photo by Food Photographer Nader Khouri of Chef Dominique Crenn carefully and artistically plating her dish.

Nader, also an accomplished lifestyle and people photographer, has been busy on additional shoots for Whole Foods, Hestan Cue – a Smart Cooking system, and a recently completed series on wine and sommeliers for La Crema wines. You can see more of his high-impact, well-awarded work here.

Photo by Food Photographer Nader Khouri of Chef Dominique Crenn’s final dish, served in a dramatic, beautiful shell.



Filip Yip gets technical.

Technical illustration of the interior of a computer

Illustrator and Graphic Designer Filip Yip can see through buildings, machines and more – and he’ll help you do the same. Filip’s precise technical illustrations are often used to show the inner workings of complex machinery, or to help explain how things are used.

Technical illustration of mountain bike shocks and finished bike product

“With all technical drawings, first I have to know the communications goal,” he says. “Then I can decide how much information to include in an asset. Too much or too little leaves the viewer confused.”

Technical illustration of an auto engine interior

That finessed judgment is something only an experienced designer can offer, which is why Filip is still highly sought for technical jobs, despite developments in 3D and rendering software. “We make decisions in terms of line weight, how to transition from straight lines to curves, how to be simultaneously elegant and accurate,” he explains.

Realistic illustration of a Camelbak hydration pack

And yes, even in this era of technology, Filip still starts with a pencil sketch. “If I can achieve clear communication in a sketch, I know the idea will only get more clear with clean, fine digital finish.”

A series of technical illustrations for Autodesk collateral pieces

And though Filip is well known and awarded for many styles of graphic design, including character development, logo design and packaging work, he finds a special satisfaction in technical jobs. “Solving a practical problem for a client is rewarding – and so is improving the user experience.”

Technical illustrations demonstrating how to renew an ID by mail

Filip has created technical assets for clients in industries from pharma to tech, pet products to hospitality and even the cannabis industry. But his most…ahem, interesting project was for an electrical intimate health product. “My wife was rolling her eyes at the online research I had to do for that one,” he says.

Technical illustration demonstrating how to roll a cigarette

Most recently Filip wrapped assets for Rhoda Goldman Plaza – turning 2D floor plans into “much more contemporary and cooler 3D visions of where retirees will live.” Check out more of Filip’s work – the technical and beyond – right here.

Technical illustration showing the 3D interior space of an apartment



Forget NY. Illustrator Carolyn Vibbert hearts New England.

A charmingly illustrated map of Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Illustrator Carolyn Vibbert makes New Hampshire look idyllic, with good reason. The Portsmouth native is a resident and a fan, and she’s been called on many times – by clients both local and far flung – to create art that represents life in the northeast.

An iconic illustration of a lobster boat in muted primary colors

After growing up in New Hampshire, Carolyn established her career in Seattle, but couldn’t stay away. “After tiring of the rain, I was happy to come back to a place with real seasons…with the exception of Spring, which is really just winter trying to hang on,” she laughs.

An illustrated map of New England antique stores in fall.

Carolyn has illustrated New Hampshire-centric pieces for magazines, cookbooks, logos and even boardgames. She describes her style as decorative and adds, “I’d say even whimsical at times. I do try to have fun with my work.” Carolyn began winning jobs straight out of art school in Richmond, VA, with a portfolio she shopped out to art directors. Now, with double decades of experience, many art directors seek her out for illustration, icon development and logo design.

A landscape-focused logo design for New England’s Lyme Inn

Carolyn recently finished a packaging piece for Oberto featuring hiking – another popular New Hampshire past time. And in between jobs she’ll be readying for the coming winter – a season she loves because “it’s beautiful and silent and…I get the city almost all to myself.”

Illustration in deep brown of a hiking man and hiking woman’s sillhouette

You can see more of Carolyn’s illustrative charm here.

Illustration of a classic red sedan pulling an airstream trailer



Put a Dog in it

Animals sell, and Photographer Mark Rogers helps them do it.

An adorable French Bulldog in a shopping cart looks up at the camera

It’s the oldest trick in the marketing book. To get people’s attention, just add puppy. And that’s what animal photographer Mark Rogers does best. Mark has been working with dogs, cats, birds and all manner of loyal pals for his entire career, for both marketing and private clients. When it’s time to tug on the heart strings, Mark often gets the call.

A tired pup yawns while lounging in a dog bed in a pet store

Of course, bringing out the best in animal talent requires special methods.. “My equipment all smells like chicken and shrimp because I’m always sprinkling it with treats to get the animals comfortable, “ explains Mark. He also uses light, small-scale gear that can be moved quickly since the window to shoot is small. And, he says, “I always turn off all camera sounds so we don’t get beeps. Dogs and cats do not like beeps.”

A terrier walks the aisles of a pet store happily carrying a purple ball in its mouth

What’s the secret to getting uncooperative talent to perform? “Stay calm and don’t get frustrated,” says Mark. “The animals can sense it. But even when we have budget to bring in professionally trained animals, I always try to have a backup because you never know. It’s trickier with people – if your model turns out to be allergic to the cat, you don’t generally have a backup human at hand.

A pet store check-out clerk smiles at a French Bulldog riding in a cart

Physical fitness, it turns out, is the other secret. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been twisted and stuffed into small spaces to get a shot I want with an animal. I have to keep myself really flexible and in good shape because I always end up propping myself up with one hand and trying to keep the camera steady with the other.”

A woman reads a pet treat bag while her pup appears to do the same

On a recent shoot Mark was trying to get the attention of Piper the French Bulldog, who only had eyes for his human talent pal, Megan. “I really needed the dog to look at me. So we ended up in this bizarre looking position with me between Megan and a shopping cart that probably would not be viewed kindly out of context.”

Photographer Mark Rogers sneaks between human talent, cart and dog to get the shot

Mark has shot for countless pet-centric clients from Iams to Eukanuba, Avoderm to Pet Food Express. But mainstream brands want in on the sales-boosting pet love, too. Union Bank, Chevron and Safeway have all partnered with Mark. You can see more of his adorable, and often funny work here. Or, if you happen to pass by a photo shoot that smells like chicken, stop in and say hello.

French Bulldog stands in cart, smiling at camera



Good Times With Old Timers

Photographer Steve Belkowitz for Rydal Park

Photo of two older ladies in a library, one reading a book titled Gossip, the other laughing

If you search Google Images for “aging,” the results are less than encouraging. It seems, at best, we can hope for backlit, pensive repose in our old age. But Photographer Steve Belkowitz just wrapped a brand campaign for Rydal Park Retirement Community in Rydal, PA that offers a better picture.

Photo portrait of an older woman smiling and offering a slice of cake on a plate
Photo of an older couple with their dog on a leash. The dog is wearing a turquoise bandana around its neck.

The tagline for the campaign is “inspired living,” and that’s what Steve set out to capture. Using real residents as talent, he shot for 3 days at the retirement community and surrounds. “All the talent was between 75-95, so I wanted to keep things low-impact and simple, but more importantly, fun and comfortable,” says Steve.

Photo of an older man caring for his plants on his patio
Photo of an older lady being pushed on a playground swing by her granddaughter

To capture the many community activities, Steve prepped for multiple setups daily. So he chose equipment strategically, going with the fast-shooting Canon 5DS, battery operated Profoto lights for quick set ups and wide angle lenses so he could stay close to the talent while shooting. Explains Steve, “I act like a participant rather than a viewer – it helps the talent stay relaxed.”

Photo of several older ladies smiling and enjoying a painting class
Photo of an older lady smiling, splashing and enjoying her swim exercise
Photo of an older couple playing cards, the woman throwing her cards in the air and laughing

In addition to the movie theater, art studio, gardening center, pool and more, Steve shot residents at the local train station and Whole Foods, both walking distance from the community. But his favorite shot was definitely karaoke. “They all started dancing and singing, but they really had to concentrate hard on the TV to get the lyrics.”

Photo of three older ladies enjoying a karaoke party
Photo of two dapper older gentlemen waiting for a train and laughing together
Photo of several older people enjoying a movie with 3D glasses on

Steve is well known for his people photography, with both real people and models alike. He recently shot both stills and motion photography for the Hard Rock Rocksino in Cleveland and a series for Fox Chase Cancer Hospital featuring survivors (see below). You can see more of his people and lifestyle work here.

Photo of a Father who is a cancer survivor carrying his young son on his shoulders
Photo of a woman athlete who is a cancer survivor treated at Fox Chase Cancer Center


The New Look of Work

Brian Smale’s photos give corporate culture a lift

Portrait of Man peeking over a table, flipping the bird

Strong corporate culture is an established “must-have” for working millennials. That means it’s a must for hiring managers and CEOs as well. And recently, Photographer Brian Smale has been helping Microsoft with exactly that.

[one_half]Portait of Woman in work clothes and cape does a trick on a skateboard[/one_half][one_half_last]Portait of Man flipping his long hair dramatically over head[/one_half_last]

Brian photographed Microsoft’s technology leadership team – a group whose limited internal exposure led them to be labeled “aloof.” Mario Juarez, Executive Communications Manager, explains, “Brian’s amazing portraits gave much-needed personality to our communications, and heightened the profile of our leadership team, revealing their true spirit, intelligence and diversity.”

[one_half]Portrait of Man in black hooded cape with red facepaint mask [/one_half][one_half_last]Portrait of a Man dressed to go waterskiing being splashed[/one_half_last]

Corporate culture, after all, is much more than free lunch and bike racks. As a recent Huffington Post article points out, modern work is built around human creativity and capability. There’s not as much of a divide between who you are and what you do as there was in a machine-based economy. Millennials, especially, want to be recognized and valued for who they really are.

[one_half]Portrait of Man in plastic shutter-style sunglasses[/one_half][one_half_last]Portrait of Woman peeking between two floral fans[/one_half_last]

This merging of work and personal identities is what makes Brian’s portraits so culturally powerful. “The team brings their own props and ideas,” explains Brian. “We only get about 30 minutes with each person, so I just try to make it comfortable and fun.”

[one_half]Portrait of Microsoft’s Steve Clayton in Ziggy Stardust facepaint[/one_half][one_half_last]Portrait of a Woman blowing bubbles[/one_half_last]

“Brian’s magic is, he knows how to get each of his subjects to come to life,” says Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller at Microsoft. “Sometimes through patience, sometimes by having them do a handstand. Or blowing bubbles. Or becoming Ziggy Stardust. And yup, morale is up.” Adds Juarez, “This was definitely one of the best investments we made in FY 15.”

[one_half]Portrait of a Woman wrapping a cape around herself up to her eyes[/one_half][one_half_last]Portrait of a Man with oversized ace of spades over his face[/one_half_last]

Andrew Maguire moves mountains for Subaru


When Subaru wants to capture the active, outdoor lifestyle the brand embodies, they turn to a photographer who does the same. Andrew Maguire, a longtime Colorado resident, is well-immersed in the world of hiking, camping, kayaking and climbing. He knows an authentic scene when he sees one, and how to shoot it. “Lifestyle imagery tends to look really posed and forced,” says Andrew, “I like to just wind ‘em up and let ‘em go, getting that real energy in the moment.”



For this shoot, leisurely setups weren’t an option anyway. In five days Andrew shot photos of camping in Nederland, CO, trail running in Chataqua, lifestyle in Boulder and rock climbing and canoeing in El Dorado Canyon State Park. Not to mention myriad product shots of gear and accessories. “We had an epic sunrise and an amazing athlete for our climbing shot,” he recalls. “I could have stayed all morning – but with a shot list this heavy, we only had 10 minutes to get the shot.”


Along with his crew of 12 (and 5 intrepid clients), Andrew toted along a Canon 1DX and a 5Ds with a Broncolor Move strobe pack, plus a truckload of grip gear to manage the intensity of the Colorado sun. “The Subaru aesthetic is well established,” Andrew explains, “and luckily my look is similar – we’re a perfect match.”


Never one to sit still for long, Andrew also recently finished a series of shots for Nike’s Elite Trail Running Team in Chamonix, France. “Talk about intense,” says Andrew. “You hike in for hours and have one chance to get the shot. It’s not like the athletes are going to stop for a reshoot.” Nike is releasing the shots via their social media channels. Meanwhile, Andrew is, as always, off on his next adventure. We can’t wait to see what he chases down next.



Steve Belkowitz Makes the Party

Photographer Steve Belkowitz brought out the wild side of Cleveland’s Hard Rock Rocksino in a recent shoot, acting not just as stills photographer but also Director/DP for 6 TV and web videos.


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Thirsty for fun at Hard Rock Northfield Park


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Post Road singer Sarah Marie gets ready to let loose


Steve, who shared the DP role with a trusted camera man, had one main goal for the shoot. “Keeping my visual style and lighting consistent between the stills and the video – that’s the niche clients hire me for.” To that end, Steve was constantly in the mix during the 14-hour shoot days, carrying his shot list in his back pocket and checking things off on the go.

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The band that converted Steve into a country music fan

And go they did. Luckily, another of Steve’s goals is to have fun. “I always put together a fun crew, even when we’re literally running to make the schedule.” With country house band Post Road, plus cast, 10 extras, a full crew and clients on the set, creating that party atmosphere was no problem. “I even like country music now,” he laughs.


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The party starts…now
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Steve Belkowitz (front) and crew, behind the scenes

Next up, Steve trades the party lifestyle for domestic bliss, with a video job for inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano. And check out plenty more of Steve’s well-awarded still and motion photography here. Party on.


Headshots get human

smale-ms-exec-portrait-12 copy

Photographer Brian Smale has shot the gamut of corporate headshots over his long career. But the trend toward business casual and efforts to recruit lifestyle-happy millenials means headshots aren’t what they used to be. And that’s a good thing. “There’s so much more life and creativity,” he says, describing his latest work for MicroSoft.


No longer a stodgy portrait requiring a suit and air of detached confidence, employees are now encouraged to show their true selves. “We ask them to dress casually, bring along an object or a skill and just relax and have fun with it.

“just relax and have fun with it”

In his well-awarded career, Brian has earned recognition for his portraits of leaders in business, tech, politics and science. So he’s completely unfazed by employees with performance-shy pups or questionable juggling talent. Headshots may never be the same.




Need a hero? Call Shane Johnson.

Sorry kids, Superheroes are for grown ups now. From movies to ads to magazine covers, it seems we can’t get enough of these powerful do-gooders. And that’s just fine, in illustrator Shane Johnson’s opinion.

Destro’s Plan book cover
Destro’s Plan book cover
Swamp Thing versus Arcane blog entry
Swamp Thing versus Arcane blog entry

“Superheroes are a reflection of the best and worst of us,” says Shane. “Anger, nerdiness, outsider status…they reflect our own struggles in outsized ways.” Shane is more often called on to capture the ‘best’ side of the heroes. He’s been creating characters for ad campaigns, editorial and personal projects for over a decade.

Book Cover for 47 Ronin: The Betrayal
Book Cover for 47 Ronin: The Betrayal

And this trend isn’t going anywhere. According to Thomas Frey, Senior Futurist for the Davinci Institute, “Super heroes are serious business.” Among other reasons, brands align themselves with caped wonders because (unlike celebrities) there’s no risk of scandal, they transcend race, ethnicity and gender and highlight timeless values with endless story lines.

Collateral for Minds On, Inc., depicting their team as pro-wrestlers
Collateral for Minds On, Inc., depicting their team as pro-wrestlers

Indeed Shane has partnered with clients as diverse as Smithsonian Magazine, the Chicago Marathon and Coca-cola, and even turned regular employees into heroes for Minds On, Inc. He got his start the traditional way: doodling on his book covers in grade school. But he soon found his way to Pacific NW College of Art, and from there landing illustration gigs doing the thing he’d loved all along.

“Superheroes…reflect our own struggles in outsized ways.”

Shane begins each project with a pencil and blank sheet of paper, sketching rough thumbnails and gathering references for poses. After come two more pencil stages before he scans a tight drawing to his computer for ink and shade in Manga Studio. Finally he optimizes color in Photoshop.

Comic based on physicist Francis Halzen for Smithsonian Magazine
Comic based on physicist Francis Halzen for Smithsonian Magazine

“My favorite job was illustrating a four page comic based on the life of physicist Francis Halzen and his massive particle detector,” Shane says. “I love comics, and I love science.” Still, if he had to pick his own Superpower, he nods back to the classics. “I’d take Super Strength,” he says. “because my daughter already thinks I have it.”

You can check out more of Shane’s truly super heroes here.