Chocolate Cake

I had a hankering to photograph some chocolate and really wanted to photograph a nice  chocolate cake. Serendipitously, the day before I planned to shoot I got my Kitchn newsletter that announced they had found the best chocolate cake. After reading their reviews I had no choice but the follow through with their clear winner–but I took liberties on the frosting and made my favorite, Julia Child’s creme anglaise buttercream. I was not disappointed. 

Chocolate Cake from Ina Garten –I just subbed the coffee for criobru. 

Chocolate Frosting recipe:

2/3 cup granulated sugar

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup boiling water

1/2 lb. (2 American sticks) unsalted butter, softened

6 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted

Beat the sugar and egg yolks together a a bowl with a hand mixer until the mixture is thick and pale yellow and forms a ribbon.

Slowly beat in the boiling milk a few drops at a time. Pour the mixture into a 1 quart heavy bottomed saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon over medium-low heat until mixture thickens enough to coat spoon. Once it reaches this point, remove saucepan from heat and beat until custard has cooled to barely lukewarm. 

Beat the softened butter in a stand mixer with whisk attachment or with hand mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add the lukewarm custard by spoonfuls into the butter. Beat until fully incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated.

Spread on cooled cake. Enjoy.

The Value of Hiring a Commercial Photographer

Running a business isn’t cheap. There are constantly expenses that need to be met, many of them urgent. Your product needs to be seen and valued by others in order to be sold. You know it’s worth. You’ve put time, energy and love into it. You know that it will be a benefit to your target audience. In order for that audience to buy into your product it needs to be seen. You could try to DIY photos, or hire a friend (we all know someone who has a “nice” camera, right?). Hiring a professional commercial photographer is expensive. So why hire a professional? Here are just a few reasons why hiring a professional, experienced photographer will be a great value to your business. 


As a professional food photographer I have years of education under my belt. I went to UVU and received my Bachelors of Fine Arts. And while that education has served me well, I continue my learning all the time. Trends change. There are different lighting techniques explore. The editing software I use updates and comes out with new tools—all of which require further education. As a photographer I am constantly learning—which I love. I read articles, watch tutorials, experiment with new techniques, and attend specialized focus classes. But as a business owner, you don’t have the time to stay up on educating yourself outside your field. 

 A big part of being a professional photographer is problem solving. I have not been on a shoot yet, where a problem hasn’t come up. Without additional and constant education, I would not be able to meet these problems and solve them with ease for the client. I like to have happy clients, so I am always learning. 


I’ve been shooting food for over six years. With each shoot I do, I grow and learn. Commercial photography is about more than just a picture of your product. If you’re seeking to sell product and grow your business, you need more than just to show what your product looks like. It needs to be put in it’s best possible light. The photos need to show the value of your product, not just its likeness. Not only that, but good commercial photography strengthen and supports your brand. Your brand is the first and last thing that customers take note of and remember, so you bet it’s important. If you’re using sub par images to showcase your product the customer is going to subconsciously infer that your product is sub par. My years of experience in this field has taught me how to do show the strengths, beauty and the appeal of products and food. It has taught me how to look at a product and know how best to light it, from what angle is should be photographed, and what styling should be done to highlight its best, most important features. 


Let’s not beat around the bush, photography equipment is expensive. Different projects require different pieces of equipment, different lens focal lengths, different types of lights and light modifiers, backgrounds, software, etc. etc. Each of those things add up and some carry quite a hefty price tag on their own.

A professional photographer will have already invested in these items. As a business owner it would be a huge investment to obtain each of those items for your company—and on top of that, many of those pieces of equipment have learning curve to mastering them.


As a commercial photographer my job is to tell your brands story. I create more than just a pretty picture. I create a story, a vision, a mood, that works with your whole brand and communicates that to your desired demographic. One of the first things I do when I hop on a call to talk with a perspective client is ask about the company. I want to know what they’re all about. I want to know where they came from and where they’re hoping to go. I want to know who they help; who they create for. Creativity is what makes it possible for me to take their answers and turn them into an image that is both beautiful and useful to a company. That usefulness is what translates that image into profit for your brand. Brands that soar in the online and offline marketplace have great imagery to support their brand. 

Creativity takes mental time and energy. I spend hours and sometimes days prepping for a shoot. I create mood boards, sketch out scenes, shop for appropriate props, sometimes build sets, and go through possible problems that may arise and prep and problem solve before the shoot day. I plan out everything—angle, lighting, backgrounds, etc. I envision the final image before a single light stand gets set up or I pull out the camera.

Focus on Your Company

Running a business has many different facets. Your attention is pulled in a million different directions. Trying to accomplish creative, beautiful imagery on top of everything else that’s on your plate just isn’t feasible. Allow me to take that for you. With content creation off your plate, your time and mind are free to focus on those parts of your company that are your strong suit, the parts that you’re passionate about. 

When you hire someone who is an expert it will show. Hiring a professional photographer could take your business to the next level. Commercial photography is about more than just a pretty picture, it’s about translating a concept into a stand out image that will sell your product. It’s an investment for your brand. I’ve had clients tell me that sells have gone up after utilizing the beautiful imagery I’ve created for them. What business owner doesn’t want that? Are you ready to level up?  Click here and let’s talk about your marketing needs.

Valter’s of Salt Lake City | Chef Memoir and Cookbook

Last summer I got to check off a career bucket list item. I got to photograph my first cookbook. It was such an amazing experience. Most jobs that I work on are more short lived, but doing a cookbook requires much more time. With all this time, I got to know Valter, Elaine (the author), Christina (the creative director), and some of the talented people who work at Valter’s. We photographed in the restaurant, in the kitchen, the farm where he sources produce, and the place butches where he gets his meat. It was a dynamic project that kept me on my toes. The time spent with them will be something I’ll always look back on with fondness. 

Valter is a true artist. His meals are not only delicious, but inventive, creative, and beautiful. He sketches each dish before it’s created. Now I’ve seen other chefs do this as I’ve watched various documentaries about chefs on Netflix, but to see him in action, was a different experience all together. The dishes we samples were divine and inventive. Watching him handle produce on the farm to putting ingredients together in the kitchen I could see the care and the passion that he has for the food. It comes across in his restaurant as well. 

You can view portions of the book and order it here.


Homemade Gyoza | Utah Food Photographer

Making gyoza was one of my favorite things we did as a family when I was growing up. It was a bonding experience to sit around the table, talking, stuffing gyoza wrappers with delicious pork filling. I remember trying, and mostly failing to make the perfectly crimped edges and being elated when that elusive success came. I remember waiting with anticipation as my parents steamed and browned each divine bundle. I smile, thinking back on the childhood struggle of trying to master chop sticks, ultimately succumbing to stabbing the dumpling with a stick, instead of gently pinching it… I eventually learned how to use them. We didn’t make gyoza often. Maybe once a year, if that. But everyone always loved when we did. I recently made them with my own children. Something I hope we do many more times. I hope it will be something they look back on with the same fondness that I do of my childhood moments making this same dish. 

Beverage Photography | Trader Joe’s Sparkling Lemonade

Here are a couple of shots I did not too long ago of Trader Joe’s sparkling lemonades. This was a fun shoot to work on. Lighting glass is quite different from lighting food and I loved the switch up. I hope to be doing many more beverage photoshoots in the future. 

Aren’t these bottles beautiful? I love their shape!

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