So, How Was Your Day?
Americano w/almond milk. Green smoothie.
Sushi at SugarFish. A few squares of dark chocolate.
I’m naturally a morning person, so I wake up at 6am. I pick up my phone and see a million Skype messages. Oh lordy! I’m designing a watch with a company in Hong Kong, so while I’ve been snoozing, they’ve been going over food collage designs I sent them the night before. I respond to them and scroll through emails, Instagram, etc. a bit before starting my morning routine. I make espressos for an Americano for me and fresh orange, carrot, and ginger juice for my boyfriend, Brock. He makes green smoothies for us, packed full of good stuff: vegan protein powder, Vitamineral Greens, kale/spinach, bananas, blueberries, chia seeds, goji berries, and almond milk. I relish our mornings together. With him running a start-up and me doing my thing, our schedules can get hairy. It’s 7:30 am. I feed juice scraps to the worm bin and water the garden. It’s a teeny, raised bed built out of cinder blocks, next to the driveway. Lots of vertical growers, like haricot verts, scarlet runner beans, and cucumbers, make it a productive little garden though. Then I drive seven minutes to the office where there’s endless amounts of email answering, meetings, researching, writing, and editing to be done.
I check in with my mom. She’s fretting because my dad has to renew his driver’s license and he doesn’t know the usage regulations for parking lights Oy! I eat leftovers and work on editing a research report about 3D printing. I head home around 4 pm. I select new food collage images for print. I’m testing out different papers and sizing to see what works. I wait for a phone call from a potential client; he recently opened a restaurant and needs photography work. We chat a bit. I promise the client estimates and bike over to a meeting in Venice to go over menus for an upcoming catering event.
I usually go to yoga or spin, but tonight I collaborate with my boyfriend on an apple crisp with bourbon whipped cream, and caramel sauce for a pot luck. I make the filling and he makes the crisp. High five for teamwork—and for using every single dish in the kitchen. Whoops! It’s an endless cycle of dish washing around these parts. Since we were recently out of town, it’s 8:30pm and we realize have no groceries. A quick sushi dinner in the neighborhood is in order. Once we get home, I shower and start getting ready for bed. I ‘m trying to break the habit of having my iPad/iPhone in bed and limit my screen time, but I have a routine of browsing Flipboard before my eyelids get heavy. 11pm and it’s off to la-la land…zzz.
Three Last Things…
1. What’s up with those nails?
Sorry guys… It’s about to get real girly on SHWYD. Please skip to question #2 if you care at all about your testosterone levels! I work with my hands so much that regular nail polishes always chip within a day or two. Nail stickers are a godsend. They keep my nails blinging without constant salon trips and they last forever (at least two weeks). Long nails are highly impractical, I admit. It sounds like a tap dance performance when I send a text message, but still, I like to be girly sometimes.
2. A photographer, food artist AND copy editor? How did you manage to become good at all three things?
Oh that’s tough question! Work—really, really hard—for the love (not the money), stay humble, and challenge yourself. These are words I live by. Coming from blue collar, immigrant parents, it took me a while to realize that money does not equal success or happiness. Even though I studied English in college (hence, my natural inclination to edit copy), I worked in finance for a while, but I never felt fulfilled. I liked my job, but I didn’t LOVE it. I craved a creative outlet. Since I was passionate about food (for as long as I can remember), I interned in restaurants for free at night, catered for peanuts on the weekends, and threw elaborate dinner parties as often as possible. Working with food made me happiest and left me feeling inspired, excited, and curious. Around that time, I started a food blog to document things happening in my kitchen—with a point-and-shoot camera. Mon Dieu! Those pictures were seriously cringe-worthy. Luckily, my boyfriend—the apple crisp expert mentioned above—taught me everything about DSLR photography and I’ve been snapping away ever since.
3. Your food collages are pretty much the coolest food photos out there. What are your top three tips to shooting great food photos?
Thank you! I love to make them. (1) Cue the broken record… Lighting, lighting, lighting! This is absolutely the most important thing—whether you’re shooting with your phone or DSLR. Whenever humanly possible, natural light is the way to go. (2) Be imperfect It’s okay. Don’t worry about making everything look just right. I love shots of food that have character and are just a bit messy. It’s that drip of the sauce or the smattering of herbs that gives the photo movement and life. Nobody wants to see robot food! (3) Use the best ingredients you can find. It’s all about quality. From the vibrant color to the natural sheen/plumpness, fresh food is naturally more photogenic. Also, most importantly, it’ll be more delicious for the clean-up crew (you) once the shoot is done. *Bonus tip: Besides the basics of composition and color, I say learn to use Photoshop (or any photo editing tool) well. When you don’t have the ideal lighting situation, a little manipulation can make all the difference.
Julie lives in Venice with her beau, Brock. She is a food artist, photographer, and copy editor. Her food collages have gained quite a following, and an online print store will be coming soon. julieskitchen.me instagram.com/julieskitchen