Raise your hand if you don’t own an iron…

I love getting inquiries from new companies, especially from industries that I haven’t worked in very often. Today I was asked about my experience photographing textiles. At first I kind of stumbled to think of examples, but after our phone call I went digging in the laundry (hard drives) and realized that I do have a lot more experience with textiles than I thought… which I owe largely to my five years of photographing the talented artisans of Fibershed.

So here is me, putting my best wrinkle forward…

PaigeGreen-textiles-M2.0SLucky for me owning an iron isn’t a job requirement for photographing textiles… but being friends with talented stylists who do own such devices is. And from this day forward, I vow to never leave home without my stylist when photographing textiles again. 

My Best Tip-Toe Forward…

Last week I received a phone call from a well-known company asking to see my portfolio. They wanted to see still life, food and some people (because they don’t usually do much photography of people.)

While that phone call was very exciting, the problem was that no one had ever asked me to send in an actual printed portfolio before… so I didn’t have a portfolio to send.

Inspired, I started enthusiastically dragging out the hard drives and digging though the archives. Eventually I came up with a portfolio containing my most favorite 137 photos.

Luckily my talented graphic designer and trusty adviser, Tyler Young, said 137 photos might be a tad too many. So reluctantly, I whittled the portfolio down and here it is… my best (abridged) attempt to tip-toe further into the commercial world of still-life and food… with just a few people.

Do not take stylists for granted…

With our fingers crossed, I think I can say that Rebecca Burgess and I are finished with photo shoots for her book… seven months, six blog posts, four states, and at least twelve photo shoots later.

Our last and final task was to photograph the beautiful knit pieces that Heidi Iverson designed and knit to represent spring and winter.

Seemingly not a hard task, but for some reason we didn’t quite get it right. With our focus on other aspects of the photo shoots (like: logistics, lighting, timing) and no budget for a stylist, we forgot to think about styling, and we left that job up to the models…

Which is not always the best idea, especially when the models have no idea what they are supposed to be styling their clothes to match, having not seen the knit pieces.

So when the models showed up with clothes that didn’t quite fit the look we were going for, we dressed them in my clothes, which also didn’t quite fit the look we were going for (and made me depressed about my wardrobe,) and as a result we got photos that didn’t quite fit the look we were going for.

We needed hip but not hippie, natural but definitely not synthetic, and style…. so we had to take-two. And for that we called in the professionals… like Genevieve who was born with style and knew exactly what to bring when I showed her the photo of the scarf.

And as you can see, it makes a big difference…

Notice beautiful Shugri’s over-sized and synthetic sweater?

Not her fault. Shugri did a fantastic job and she was so gracious to volunteer her time on her birthday. But unfortunately the goofy gray sweater from Ross Dress for Less (embarrassingly mine) doesn’t quite do it… in either of the photo shoots…

Both Sarah and Elizabeth also did a fantastic job being beautiful in the woods with the hats… but I can’t get over the sweater, the stupid sweater, which is also mine. This just proves that I need a stylist to come have an intervention in my closet.

So we tried again with the hats too. And having gone through the first failed attempt with us, this time the very stylish Sarah knew just what to bring to match the hats, including her cute son, River.

So, as my friend’s toddler says, “Ta-dah!” I think we did it.

I want to send out a huge thank you to everyone who very generously contributed their time and energy to make this such a fun and eventually successful project.

This is how we do it, and you can do it too…

Nature created amazing plants.

Rebecca Burgess dyed wool into cool colors… with the amazing plants that nature created.

Heidi Iverson designed patterns and knit fun gloves and a blanket… with the wool that Rebecca Burgess dyed into cool colors… from the amazing plants that nature created.

Beautiful ladies and cute children modeled the fun gloves and blanket that Heidi Iverson designed and knit… with the wool that Rebecca Burgess dyed into cool colors… from the amazing plants that nature created.

I took photos of the beautiful ladies and cute children… who modeled the fun gloves and blanket that Heidi Iverson designed and knit… with the wool that Rebecca Burgess dyed into cool colors… from the amazing plants that nature created.

All of this teamwork is for Rebecca Burgess’s book about creating dyes with native plants from the different regions in the United States. Her ultimate goal is to help people become more aware about their fiber-shed, which means thinking about wearing clothes that are made locally, just like the food we eat. Through her book, Rebecca hopes to show people how easy it is to create vibrant colors and cool clothes from the plants that are in our own environment.

It has been a fantastic project to work on and I can’t wait to see how all this teamwork comes out in the end.

Food Glorious Food…


Since my arrival in California in 2001… I have eaten countless amazing meals. The new culinary world I landed in opened doors for my tastebuds that I didn’t even know existed. So you would think, this being such an important new adventure for me that I would have better documentation of this new edible adventure. But I don’t.

I just ate without stopping to document, let alone chew.

So when asked to present the samples of my food photography, I am embarrassed to say that I don’t have too much to show for my 8 years in food bliss. I feel guilty when I think of all that potential that was just consumed without regard to my future photography needs.

Even tonight… Arann made a beautiful dish of pasta with colorful veggies that he arranged perfectly in a bowl with complimentary colors… and as we sat on the front porch to eat, I said, “This is so pretty, I should photograph this, especially since my task is to present beautiful food photos.” But I didn’t…. I just dug right in and started shoveling that pasta until it was gone.

And as my punishment… I spent the evening digging through all my external hard drives searching for anything that I could justify putting in a food portfolio. My selection is pretty slim. I do have lots of butchering photos, from my farm living days, but I am not quite sure that is what the editor called for.

So from this day forth, I vow to do a better job of recording the food that is presented to me, before I quickly ingest it. In the meantime this is what I have, thanks to my gardener friends and a few: PR gigs, camping trips, Easter buffets, weddings and magazine assignments.




























10 am – Faux Fur Coats and Vodka…


This is The Graziano, of Petaluma’s Graziano’s Ristorante, with his daughter Sonia.

Together they are the perfect combination of traditional and progressive. He was born and raised and Italy – she was born and raised in California. He brought his mother’s recipe for gnocchi to Petaluma, and she brought the Martini Bar.

And together they created the Vodka Lounge, which is unlike anything I have have experienced. Granted, our photo shoot was at 10 in the morning, not the normal Vodka Lounge hours, but even still… it was pretty amazing.

The experience involves a glass ice box that you walk into, big comfy faux fur coats, and a blue wall of incredible looking bottles with very tempting contents. Unfortunately, I was working, and it was 10 am, so I only had a tiny taste of one, but the models certainly enjoyed the tastes and the smiles got bigger and bigger as the photo shoot went on.


One cool vodka fact I learned was that Petaluma has locally made Vodkas… like the blue bottle above. So there’s another product to add to your Made Here shopping list.





So the next time you are in P-town, or passing through, and you feel like having a unique tasting experience (food and drink) then check out Graziano’s. And if you get a chance to talk to The Graziano himself… ask him to sing for you, or even better, ask him to describe how gnocchi is made… it is an extra special and very authentic treat.

My week last week…

What I learned about product photography:

  • steaming is better than ironing.
  • swabs are better than plastic squeezey things that blow air when you want to clean your digital sensor.
  • t-pins, straight pins with glass heads, and bubble wrap can come in handy when you want to add life to your still life.
  • computer capture would be better than camera capture…if your computer wanted to capture the photos.
  • table-top would be better than floor-top… but if it is on the floor then stretch at the same time in order to get your daily exercise.
  • changing the color in photoshop is much easier than trying to make 12 items look wrinkle free, lint free, and positioned exactly the same way (ps: there is a color replacement tool in CS3 that will change the color for you… although still tricky to match the exact color you want… it is ridiculously easy.)
  • calling your friend Jon, who knows how to do all this stuff already, is much better than trying to figure it out all by yourself.
  • photographing people without clothes is a lot easier than photographing clothes without people.

Natural Dyes with Mimi and California Country Magazine…

It is nice to be connected with people who promote my photography, since I don’t do a good job of promoting myself. Ever since I returned from London, I have been meaning to take my portfolio around to magazines in the area, but I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

But luckily, Mimi, my soon-to-be-mother-in-law, is an amazing person with a wonderful lifestyle that magazines want to write about. So when Brandon, from California Country Magazine, called her and said they wanted to do a story about her and her natural dying process, she said, “I have just the photographer for you.”

It was so fun to have a taste of what real magazine work, and budgets, are like. The magazine gave me a shot list and an exact number of photos that they wanted… and when Brandon asked me if I would be “ok” with their day rate… I had to try and remain cool and not act surprised…. yeah, I guess that’ll do.

These are just some of my favorites from the day and what I learned about natural dying…

First… collect your plant material… Mimi uses black walnuts, dahlias, onion skins, marigolds and tansy (shown below.)

Here is a super simplified instruction list for making your own natural dyes:

Put your material in your pot…

bring it to boil…

cook for an hour…

strain it…

let it cool…

add a mordant (Mimi uses nontoxic mordants like alum and cream of tarter)…

add your pre-soaked wool…

bring to boil again…

cook for an hour…

cool in dye…

rinse until water runs clear…

and hang to dry.

Thanks to: Mimi for promoting me, and to California Country Magazine for giving me the opportunity to work on this project. I hope it is just the beginning of my magazine assignments.

You can buy Mimi’s beautiful natural dyed wool at the Pt. Reyes Farmers’ Market in front of Toby’s Feed Barn on Saturdays, or she will soon be at the Marin Civic Center Farmers’ Market on Sundays.

Day 2: Rattled goes to the Farm…

This is the hardest post I have made yet… because there are so many cute photos, it took me a very long time to try and narrow down my favorites… but if you want to see more, you’ll just have to wait for the Rattled catalog to come out. And that is all I have to say about this amazing day of photographing cute kids on a beautiful farm with a perfectly overcast day. Hopefully, by looking at the photos, you can see that Rattled’s clothes are practical, durable and pretty darn cute… the only thing that makes them better is that they are organic! Yay Katie and Kristen, you did great!

Rattled = Organic Clothing for Kids that you will love… Day 1

Katie McNicholas Winburn, from Greenville, South Carolina, was frustrated that she couldn’t find simple, practical, inexpensive and cute clothing for her toddler. She said the only clothing for toddlers that she could find either had: overwhelming patterns; awkward sayings or logos; came in pastel colors; or were too expensive… so, with the help of her sister-in-law, Kristen McNicholas, they decided to make their own organic clothing line called: Rattled.

And in order to sell their new cute and ecologically responsible clothing line… they needed cute organic photos… so, after many many facebook messages, we finally agreed on a plan and I flew in for the week to take their photos.

Katie and Kristen worked hard lining up the families, locations and coordinating the outfits for each child… and they did a fantastic job! It was so nice to show up and have everything all set up, so all I had to do was focus on taking cute photos.

But even with all their excellent planning, the task was still a good challenge for me. Because I had never seen the location before, nor had I met the 4 toddlers, I had to think and act quickly (while recovering from jet-lag at 8:30 in the morning without coffee) in order to keep up with the constantly changing and moving little people.

But we had lots of fun, and we learned a lot. For example, I tried to use a lighting kit I borrowed… but I quickly re-learned, once again, to stick to what I know, because following two-year-olds around a two-story house… with a light that needs to be plugged into wall and sit on a stand with an umbrella… did not work. So we moved furniture and used the gorgeous window light instead and it worked really well.

And so, Day 1 was a big and messy success… and we were even more excited about Day 2: Rattled goes to the farm.

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