This is a fantastic example of how gorgeous a hunk of meat can truly be. This baby is loaded with textures to make you drool: gritty with crunch, glistening with just the right amount of delicious grease, crisp with fresh firm veggies and well done bacon. An exquisite piece of carnivore heaven styled au naturale (totally edible, no funny business) by food stylist Sienna DeGovia. Don’t get me wrong, I think pushing visual boundaries is a beautiful thing, but I must say I’m a big fan of food imagery that is natural and exists in some semblance of reality (albeit a slightly improved reality;). I love me some crumb-age (don’t bother trying to look that up, def not a real word) and some drips or slight melting to evoke the delectable impermanence of real food. Sometimes it’s hard to salivate at the most pristine image of perfectly un-melted fake ice cream. Though working with real food as a food photographer can be more challenging in some situations, in the end I find it more rewarding. You’ll have to excuse my love of parentheses (I feel like it makes for a more personal conversation;)

Nothing like a beefy day in the kitchen to get the studio pups all wild-eyed and feral!

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. What gets you all revved up and drooling? Melty, gooey sweets? Savory, crispy bites? Let’s hear it!

Honestly, this is simply a big ‘ole beef burger with everything you see here:

  • LARGE beef patty
  • Toasted/grilled onion roll
  • Crunchy thickly slice Applewood bacon
  • Sliced fresh onion and tomato
  • BBQ sauce tops this one off nicely

If you want to avoid the inevitable kitchen mess from frying (you can’t see it but my hand is totally raised) pick up a bag of the frozen Panko (Japanese bread crumb) breaded onion rings and toss them in the oven with some chopped fresh herbs. We included loads of garden herbs like oregano and rosemary as well as some coarsely ground fresh black pepper to make a simple packaged food extra tasty and attractive! Get ready to eat yourself into a satisfying food coma!


food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

I’ve been wanting to make some tasty little sun dried tomatoes from the ripe Roma’s we’ve got in the garden, so I was pretty excited about this week’s post. The recipe is simple as can be. Slice Roma tomatoes in half (or thirds if they’re really large) length-wise. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, we used load of basil as well as thyme from the garden. Bake at 180 degrees on a foil lined baking sheet for up to 10 hours.

I had grand plans for these flavor packed ‘lil buggers. I thought some from-scratch creamy sun dried tomato basil soup would be great, but it only took one nibble of these chewy, delicious treats to realize they would never make it into a recipe. I love sun dried tomatoes and buy them regularly but have never tasted any so incredible with such unadulterated flavor and texture.

The food photographer in me fell in love with the wrinkled shiny skin and deep colors you don’t see from store bought varieties. It’s sure to impress!

Give this easy recipe a whirl, you won’t regret it. Don’t forget to come back and share what you created!


I love blueberries and I love cheesecake so, as a dynamic duo, I’m sold! We recently had the pleasure of shooting an extra-thick-crust blueberry cheesecake with The Cheesecake Dude. Yum. Getcha some!

Visually speaking, the wood grain and rustic style of the propping really created a nice contrast to the glistening, richly colored blueberry topping. The Dude made the crust extra thick because it seems to be everyone’s favorite part. I’m not much of a crust gal myself, but I must say this is some damn tasty, crunchy crust. It was a fun day and the memory of those blueberries makes me wish I could bite the photo!

How do you wonderful readers make/prefer your cheesecake? Toppings, ricotta, chocolate? Let’s hear it!

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

My husband has a theory that in every successful relationship (romantic, that is) one person always loves olives and the other despises them. Love and hate make for happy matrimony. Bizarrely, I’ve actually found this hypothesis to be relatively true. That said, I’m no fortune teller. I LOOOOOOVE olives and always have from the day I first put those tangy little orbs on the tips of all ten of my child-sized fingers and popped them off one by one into a happy mouth. Because my husband hates them, we never make them in our dinners etc. so I cram all of my “olive time” in when he is out of town or when we have friends over. This is the “my olive-hating better half is out of town so I’m eating some damn olives” tapenade recipe;) Enjoy a briny little respite from matrimonial compromise!

Again, these are the ingredients to use in your own preferred proportions:

  • green olives – chopped or sliced
  • diced tomato
  • red peppers
  • onions – finely chopped
  • garlic
  • dijon mustard
  • salt
  • lemon juice
  • basil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • shaved parmesan
  • arugula
  • crostinis from a sliced and toasted baguette

On each crostini, put a few leaves of arugula, a spoonful of tapenade and garnish with shaved parmesan for a food photography caliber presentation;) These are so flippin’ good!

….and so dang cute I couldn’t stop shooting them!

and just one more….

food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier


One of the most wonderful side effects of being a photographer is the ability to see the incredible in the everyday. I treasure the sight I carry with me wherever I go and whatever I do. My visual awareness wasn’t always so acute, but after a lifetime of honing my eye and finding the intrigue and beauty that lie in the details I have developed a visual perspective that I treasure. Nothing is ordinary if you’re really paying attention. This post is a little exploration into how I see a day in Los Olivos, California.

A couples hours of driving brings us to a place where things slow down. Light rakes across a simple little getaway mobile (i wouldn’t dare call this cute little guy an RV;) creating a scene that makes me dream of chugging across the country in one of these little beauties. The muted tones, the fantastical flared light, the perfect dreamy moment.

Then we walk around town to find a little wall that leads to nowhere. Cool as it may be in color, the rich texture of weathered wood really comes through in black and white. Sometimes you can lose the “something special” in the colors.

Time for some wine-o fun. Over at Saarlos and Sons winery we did a unique tasting of a wine flight paired with wine-inspired mini cupcakes. There is one mini cupcake to be tasted with each wine in the flight. Move over cheese, there’s a new kid in town. I must say, pairing wine with cupcakes makes for an incredibly beautiful presentation;)

Take a moment to enjoy this visual life!

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