Monday, November 2, 2009

Visit My Other Blog

Since this blog has been lying fallow since August I thought I'd let you know where I've gone. The Invisible Stylist at is my newer blog and I've been pretty good about keeping it updated. It's still fun.

What I've been trying to figure out is how to take all these blog posts and transfer them there. Every time I try I am stumped. Going to try again but I wanted to let you know where I am currently blogging. Please come visit!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blog Video Blog Video

I am having a blast blogging and creating new videos! There is this blog (Photo Styling Forum) and my new blog (The Invisible Stylist) which I suspect is too much confusion. I will likely merge them both into The Invisible Stylist soon!

And then the thrill of making videos and uploading them to YouTube, which I have recently discovered. I placed two How-To videos for stylists on YouTube recently. These are the ones produced by photographer Jim Scherzi of Syracuse, NY: Toolkit and Rolling Rack. I think they're kind of fun and funny.

And here's the newest one, a promo about our Food Styling and Photography Workshop which will be held in San Diego September 26-28. For more details or to register visit Photo Styling Workshops!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Student Success, Cindy Epstein

Cindy Epstein, of Fallbrook, CA, signed up for the San Diego Food Styling & Photography Workshop in February 2008 to help her determine if she wanted to move forward with her food styling career. Before moving to southern California she had a catering business in Philadelphia. After selling her catering company, she apprenticed with a stylist in Philly, but her career plans got postponed after moving to California. Within a few weeks of completing the workshop, she found herself in the studio. She was testing with another student, Carl Kravats, a photographer who lived nearby and styling a new cookbook with photographer Greg Bertolini!

Says Cindy, “I walked into the weekend with little confidence in my styling skills and with the hope that it would help me make a career decision about my next steps. The message was loud and clear. Go for it!! I walked away with a real sense of self-confidence.”

Here’s how Cindy describes her next project: “I've got a fabulous shoot with an ad agency on Monday. As one might expect, it wasn't finalized until Thursday afternoon at 4:45 and the agency was closed on Friday (4th of July holiday weekend). Ahhhhh! I've been shopping, prepping, and experimenting with various techniques for three days. They want to do 11 shots in one day - including ice cream - and there's no kitchen, no sink, no range, and no refrigeration. It's going to be a very busy day!” With Cindy’s skills and positive attitude, I’m sure she will have a successful day – and love every minute of it!

Afternote: “I finished prepping Sunday night at 10 pm, was up at 4 am and on the road before 5 getting ice, dry ice, and making a trip to the bakery for fresh pastries. (They didn't tell me there was no elevator in the building!) We plowed through the day without a break. I got home at 8:15 Monday night, and as I fell into a chair, exhausted, I realized I hadn't sat down all day except for when I was driving to and from the job. But Susan was right, I had a blast! I can't think of anything more fun than collaborating with a group of creative people. When the group energy starts flowing, the process of creating the image is very exciting!” And the client sent a note after shoot thanking Cindy for the wonderful job she did!

Visit Cindy's Website:

Cindy is now enthusiastically helping Greb Bertolini, Lisa Golden Schroeder, and me with promotions for the upcoming Food Photography and Styling Workshop in San Diego, September 2009.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Student Success Story: Daunea Foster, Atlanta

by Daunea Foster

I enrolled in the Fashion Styling 101 course under the instruction of Kim Maxwell and it was by far the best decision I could have made in my career as a stylist.
I am a freelance fashion stylist in Atlanta, Georgia and like any profession I knew that I needed to learn the ABC’s of being successful in this industry. Taking Kim’s course not only taught me the basics, it exceeded my expectations and taught me the essentials, the in’s & out’s, what I need to make it, and how to make sound decisions!

I feel so much more confident on how to pursue my dreams and that’s more than what any book could’ve taught me. Kim Maxwell has also been a mentor during and after the course ended which is to be commended. Through her mentorship and referrals, I have been booked to style a music video for 2 artists here in Atlanta. That was a success and through that music video, I gained an ongoing client!

I have also been booked to style for models in the area. One of the greatest opportunities was being hired as a head assistant stylist for STYLESbyMAXX. I had the chance to assist in styling an event titled “Memoirs of a Fashionista” in honor of Kim Maxwell, which was also a huge success! The doors continue to open, and more projects begin to come to me which I am truly grateful for. I give KUDOS to Susan Cox & Photo Styling Workshops for offering this course, and a HUGE thank you to Kim Maxwell for being such a wonderful, resourceful, and kind instructor! This course has provided me with the tools to birth my vision.
Photo above: Hip-Hop Artist Young Que

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Confessions of a Catalog Whore

It’s like this. My aunt Susan, besides being one of my favorite people on earth, is a photo stylist. And she has ruined me. Well, not ruined, exactly, that is not quite the right word – altered maybe. She’s taken one of my long secret passions and twisted it, tweaked it into an equally compelling, but completely lopsided passion. In both cases, the passion involves catalogs… But I’m getting ahead of my own story. Let me start at the beginning.

Long ago, before the internet, before one click-online-anything-goes-shopping, I used to hoard catalogs – and I mean hoard. Not just Sears, or the J.C. Penney Christmas book, but just about anything I could have sent to my mailbox for free. Seeds, tools, farm equipment, hand-dyed fabrics and my very favorite book of items to buy – greeting cards.

I loved the photographs of all that stuff – but mostly I loved the convenience. The idea that someday, pending money, I would be able to anonymously order anything from a John Deere tractor to a seashell-lined photo frame and have it sent to my home. Voila. No need to change my pajamas – just like that.

Needless to say, the advent of the internet made pajama shopping an ordinary event, (so much for my special secret of shopping in the dark.) But at about the same time that the internet pushed its way into my bedroom, my auntie began her career as a photo stylist, and because I have always been an avid admirer of her art (which was and is extremely avant garde and anything but “catalogish”) I began to question her about what I perceived as a muting of her creative instinct, asking how she could go from the canvas to the retail market without losing something.

As my aunt began to patiently describe her craft, the genius behind each catalog page, a new vision began to develop before me. Susan talked about the real art of the catalog, about her unique style of setting up a page, about how it excited her to fold dress shirts just right, so that they became three-dimensional with inanimate arms almost reaching for the potential buyer. And then it happened. I began to realize that there was a SOMEONE, an ARTIST, behind every page of every catalog I had ever lusted over. So BANG – I was ruined, or rather, altered.

I truthfully can no longer look at any retail ad – internet, catalog, newspaper or magazine without thinking about the person behind the page. And the result?? Everything is just that much more beautiful. And not from the point of view of “I need to buy that.” No, it is not that at all. It is a pure form of art. Ecstasy art. I no longer just look at the items in a catalog, I look at the pages, and not just look, I linger over them. Yes, I hoard them.

I have seen advertised one art exhibit displaying catalog pages from the 1940’s and 50’s. I am certain there are or will be many more art exhibits showcasing many more decades. The retail ad has become one of my favorite genres, thanks to my auntie – and I will always wonder about those anonymous artists behind each page.

So there you have it - catalog whore becomes art collector. Who knew?

by Janice Katz, M.D.
Image above from Janice's NEW favorite catalog Cambria Cove

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Truly International Classes

They always say that the best thing about the World Wide Web is that you can reach people around the world as easily as around the corner. That was certainly true in the March 24 session of Everyday Food Styling. The students were from:
  • Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Almaty, Kazakhstan

  • Shanghai, China

  • Kobe-shi, Hyogo-ku, Japan

  • Erwinna, PA

  • New York, NY

What's more, I was working on my laptop in Indonesia and then Hong Kong, processing their registrations!

Everyday Food Styling is our 4-week food styling techniques class enhanced with videos on Vimeo. These are accessible only to current students and demonstrate the special techniques that food stylists use "everyday" on the job. The instructor Lisa Golden Schroeder emails the students a written PDF lesson each work and access to the videos so that they can learn at their pace. There is a Class Gallery where the students can upload their assignments and receive feedback from Lisa on their work. They also benefit from viewing the work and comments of other students in the class.

One intersting aspect of this class especially was the search for products stylists use, like Kitchen Bouquet, for darkening sauces and meat. Lisa helped by encouraging the search for comparable products available at the local marketplace. Generally we offer a telephone conference call near the end of our courses for asking questions and sharing information but this class couldn't find a convenient time for all of them!

Other international students who have participated our styling classes have hailed from Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Venezuela, Nigeria, Finland, Phillipines, and Spain. The coursework is only provided in English but we have been considering a translation into Spanish. If this interests you - or if you are a Spanish-speaking styist who could help with student comments please let us know!
(Photo above, Green Salad from Anthony Francis Antao)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Grocery Shopping in the Future

This story is not really about photo styling – but it is bound to have an effect on styling in the future.

I recently had a grocery shopping experience that made me feel that I was living in the future – an ideal future. I followed my daughter’s advice and visited Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market for a weekly shopping trip. I was amazed from the moment I pulled into the parking lot and saw:
1. wide parking spaces
2. three spots set aside for families with children, and
3. parking spaces reserved for hybrid vehicles

Inside the store I found a bulletin board stating the philosophy of the store, why they package the produce, and community outreach activities. And then the best food at the most reasonable prices. And it was so orderly. Not the usual grocery shelves stacked with competing brands and all their clashing labels, but sometimes one of each item, the Fresh and Easy store brand. That might seem like a boring, regulated way to shop yet I found it kind of reassuring and simple. Especially when each item cost about half of what it would be in another store. That includes lots of organic, healthy food like you might find at a gourmet grocery store. (Though there are also some odd items, like Cheez-Whiz and Diet Coke.)

The store has clean new concrete floors, wider aisles, free coffee. But no cashiers! It is all self-checkout and I guess that’s why the cost is low. Not so good for hiring checkers. And I don’t know yet if there are other ways the chain is negatively affecting people and if there are any unfair practices. But it seems like time to adjust to new conditions, when the traditional U.S. stores are becoming prohibitively expensive, like $4 for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk. It’s nice to find a green, affordable, healthy option for food shopping!

Footnote: I found out my friend Jade, who is a college student, works part-time at Fresh and Easy and says it is a wonderful place to work! She loves the opportunity to work in different roles in the store and the management is great.