MARKETING YOU AND YOUR PRODUCT

Before the holidays I had the pleasure of photographing some beautiful graphic design pieces for a designer that I met here in Montreal. Scott Roberts of Studio Helm is originally from Sydney, Australia but he worked in London for several years before relocating to Montreal in 2013.

Simple clean lines, muted tones and delicate light. I shot these images with both studio and natural light. I am not sure if there are other photographers out there shooting products in natural light but I feel that it does work. Why not shoot a creative project by a client in an equally creative way. I believe gone are the days of presenting an item in a flat uninspiring way, its time to add depth and emotion to product photography. Make the images of whatever you shoot jump out and make the viewer understand the quality of what they are looking at.

As a photographer I consider myself a creative. I feel its important when discussing with a potential client not just the images that they require but also what they want their audience to perceive of their product, because after all we are a digital nation, more often than not, the first impressions we give our potential clients is our online presence. So its vitally important that those potential connections will view what we do and what we offer in the best possible way.

www.studiohelm.com.au

Its Gin O'Clock somewhere

Since January I have been collaborating with Nigel Allies of theloveofgin.co.uk. Nigel is a long time friend and ex-colleague of mine during my packaging design days in London. We go way back, 20 years or more in fact.

Well us Brits do appreciate a good G&T (gin and tonic) and Nigel decided to blog about it and asked me to come on board to contribute cocktail recipes and images. One couldn't refuse such a tempting offer. And we are off to a great start, the buzz is out there, he is receiving a lot of credibility and the following is gaining momentum at quite the speed.

Being that I love photographing food and still life, its not even an effort to have to conceptualise and make images and whats more to work with a friend once again is the greatest gift. So check out his blog and twitter pages to be in the know for Gin and mixers... there are so many in the UK and hopefully they will make it over the pond at some point too. But in the meantime we are soon hoping to be able to review and photograph some great examples of gin from Canada and America. Chin chin....

www.theloveofgin.co.uk  | twitter.com/theloveofgin


A DIFFERENT SPIN

For many years in London I shot for a lot of clubs and music events. I am a big music person, I still have all my vinyl and now listen and download a lot of music. I will choose music over tv every time. Music is a vital component during my retouching evenings. As all creatives, occasionally its hard to get going when its late and there are many images to be retouched but I turn on my music and BOOM I am ready to work all night long.

I have always been a big electronic music listener so when Nicola Torriero asked me to shoot images for his website to launch his radio show it was a great opportunity to do something different. From doing the photography, led me into getting involved in the show as head of creative. Its a great sideline to my work. Rhythm.isRhythm is the best underground electronic music show on an FM station in Montreal but the show can be heard globally through the shows website and all the sets from the show are archived on Soundcloud. Here are some images of Nicola Torriero, long standing Montreal DJ who was the mastermind that brought the BAL en BLANC to Montreal, amazing DJ and now radio host to a show that hosts the best DJ's from this city alongside some of the best established and emerging international talents.

Follow our show on:
SOUNDCLOUD    |   RHYTHM.ISRHYTHM   |   FACEBOOK

If you want to follow my playlists and see what I am listening to while I shoot and retouch here is a link to my SOUNDCLOUD.

Photography and the photographer

Ever since 'the invention' of blogging, I always had a fanciful idea of being 'a blogger'. But the idea was much more appealing than the actual task. But here I am in  the early part of 2016, reviewing what were my creative and business achievements in 2015 and where I want to go during this year. So....

I am not sure if anyone is going to be reading this, but I decided to write about my journey, successes and weaknesses of being a creative and how it affects me and my life. Who knows perhaps I am about to stumble upon a revelation in blogging, to be able to voice and share my creative brain. I have been doing photography for many, many years. When I talk about how I feel about photographing I definitely talk with a lot of passion. I also tell those close to me that photography is also sometimes like my achilles heel, much like milk chocolate is too!

I look at everything, every day, all the time in terms of composition. When I am on the phone with someone and I look around or through the window, or if I am in a location, as I talk I am continually composing things I see. Sometimes I have to move around to compose better even though I am talking about something else, I am focusing on the conversation but my brain is in creative composition mode. Yesterday I went for breakfast with friends to a new place and all I could see was all the possible images around me, the feeling of inspiration was so immense and I love it, its the best feeling, to be inspired. Remember the e-card that said a creative persons brain is like a web browser with 2879 pages open at the same time, well I would say that is exactly how it is. My personal creative frustration everyday is one of having so many ideas and not enough time to execute them all because I have menial tasks that must take precedence like tax returns and just other general shit that quite frankly according to my creative brain, just stifles my time and prevents me from just losing myself in my work.

In 2013 I took on the task of food photography and for a whole slew of reasons I had a year where I just let everything else go and all I focused on was food prep, food props, food styling and then shooting, all to build a body of food work. One year later and 40,000 clicks and I was pretty proud of what I had achieved. When I shoot I put every grain of passion that I have into it. I feel it as a full body experience, I absolutely know when I have nailed a shot that I want. You don't need all the best and fanciest equipment you just need a vision and the absolute determination to produce what your vision is. Occasionally when I work on personal projects and the result works so well I almost feel tearful. Trust me here, I am not a pretentious artist getting all emotional, I think its just that somehow I cannot believe that what I created worked out so well. Am I alone in feeling this way? Because the opposite is also true, I can feel extremely deflated when something does not work, however one thing about me, I will just try again because invariably I have to know why that shoot did not work. If I did not possess this sort of determination I wouldn't have a single food image on this site because at the beginning, my first food images sucked big time. Seriously, I thought after all the years of event and portrait photography, surely food would be a walk in the park. Well for me it was a rude awakening. But I persevered nevertheless.

But sometimes things can work out strange in a creative world. In 1997 I had an exhibition in central London of my music industry work. I had to hang 40 images. I only had 38 that I believed in as a collection. At the beginning of my career back in England I will always remember a statement from my first boss who said, 'always make sure your worst is your best because people will always remember your worst'. But I needed two more images and so reluctantly I chose two images that 'I felt' were not up to par. Opening night of my show and I am sweating thinking who is going to notice those weaker images and remember them? A journalist comes to speak to me and points at one of those 'weak' images and I am about to launch into some bullshit about why I included it in the show when he expresses how magnificent it is. I swear I almost peed my pants. HA!. Moral of this story, that image to date is one I have sold the most copies of. As the creative I am I have come to realize sometimes what I see is not what others see. Who knows how many other great images I might have stashed away that I personally don't think are good enough. One day, when I have no menial tasks and a fancy scanner drops out of the sky and lands on my desk, I might get around to scanning a bunch of negatives and discover something quite good.

So this is where I come to the part where I hope my blogging life may begin in this magnificent 2016 year. As a photographer, I strive to grow, change, evolve and diversify with my captures hoping they all contain my unique signature style. I aim to do my best and then do better but overall if there is one thing I can say to any creative out there that I have learned, is that as you grow, the one key ingredient that will always help achieve success is consistency. Lets hope I can be consistent with this blogging lark. Its a challenge I entertained the idea of, let see where it goes. JW.

Its all in the mustard....

I had the great pleasure of working with Quebec based olive oil importers Olive & Olives for their in store march campaign for their new own label mustard range. Five incredibly delicious mustards and a great client with a creative vision for how she wanted to showcase her brand and her product. Not only was our shoot for images to promote the mustards online, there was also an element of bringing texture to show the product in a food styled with an editorial feel. Here are a selection of images from the campaign. 

jazz-waheed-photographer-olive1.png
jazz-waheed-photographer-olive2.png
jazz-waheed-photographer-olive3.png
jazz-waheed-photographer-olive4.png
jazz-waheed-photographer-olive5.png
jazz-waheed-photographer-olive6.png

taking honey from the honey bees...

Last week I was back at Santropol for the first extraction of the honey from the hives. It was a fascinating as well as finger licking event. Everything was sticky but who cares when its all for a good cause.

The team of volunteers at Santropol are so much fun, everybody has a smile and a beer and together they make it seem like a social event. Not only was I lucky to be there but also super pleased to receive a straight from the hive, jar of honey as a birthday gift.

I am really pleased to have been able to volunteer my photography this summer for a really worthwhile local Montreal organization. Please check out their site to see what they do for so many people that need help. http://santropolroulant.org/

sweet like honey

Honey on toast, or in your tea, but have you ever been that close up and personal with where this delicious sweetness comes from? This weekend I had a great opportunity to photograph the first opening after winter, of the bee hives at Santropol Roulant in Montreal.

Its the very first time I was ever that close to what must have been literally thousands of bees and the sound was incredible. Have you ever seen the 70's horror movie, 'Killer Bees'? Well that is what they actually do sound like that but without it being scary (and without cheesy music to boot). The bees were flying all over the place however it seemed completely non-intimidating. I didn't wear a special suit , I was not covered in them and I didn't get stung, the bees just politely got on with hanging around the hives.

It was also incredible to see the experienced bee keepers making notes of the changes within the hive over the winter.

On my part I actually thought it would be difficult to capture any images but it was remarkably easy and I am super pleased to be able to have a new collection of images of what are some very important insects on this planet.

I am off to make toast with honey for breakfast...

Summary Block
This is example content. Double-click here and select a page to feature its content. Learn more.

Santropol Roulant

This summer I am going to be shooting for Santropol Roulant, following their garden and some activities, it will be a great chance to capture some candid lifestyle images.

Friday 25th April was the garden preparation, the sun was out and there was a good turn out of volunteers and many smiles, here are my images from the afternoon.

Click the image to go through the gallery.

Happy Easter to those celebrating

Easter, one of the most important dates on the Christian calendar. How many people still celebrate? I have catholic mother and a muslim father. I feel lucky to come from such a diverse and controversial mix, there was no religion in my family really. Well as I was born and brought up in European countries we celebrated Christmas but that for us as kids was largely for the food and the gifts, however my mum has told me some great stories of when she was a girl in Holland and going to the church on significant holy days.

I respect anyone's choice of faith, I have had a Jewish boyfriend and his family welcomed me and treated me as a member of their family for 11 years. I believe any national holiday is a time to reflect on the special people in your life regardless of their faith. 

And for those who are not celebrating in the religious form, its a time to gorge yourself on delicious foods, just because.

Happy easter, pass me the chocolate eggs and hot cross buns please...

Happy St Paddy's day

It was a chilly Sunday yesterday here in Montreal, but the sun was out, the sky was blue so I wrapped up and went downtown to capture a few images of the yearly St Patrick day parade. 

Lots of smiles and fun on St Catherine, a time when many people feel Irish for a day. I baked a traditional Irish Soda Bread and found an image of lucky clover that I shot last year.

Perhaps St Patrick could see his way clear to have a little tipple with mother nature and ask her nicely once she is a little tipsy if she wouldn't mind getting spring rolling here in Canada. There is still a meter of snow in my garden and I am chomping at the bit to see the grass and getting out in the garden for my food shots.

the tidy and the messy

So, I am not sure if I have mentioned this before but as I fall deeper and deeper in love with food photography, I am not actually a 'foodie'. In my life I have rarely cooked for myself (of course I do these days as I need shots, unless I find a willing 'foodie' to take part) but honestly as food photography is a relatively new string to my photographic bow its an unusual life change for me to get busy in the kitchen so to speak.

However, I am a very tidy person at home, there is, during the prep of a shoot, whether its is portraits or food a bit of chaos in my house, but I must tidy as soon as the shoot is over. I cannot go to my post production process if the house is in a mess.

But when I shoot homemade recipes for my FB page or my portfolio I do like there to be an element of mess. I don't feel comfortable with overly tidy perfect food... should I see a therapist?

Probably because I am not an A1 chef in the kitchen, although I can bake, I don't want to add the stress of trying to aim for perfection in my food creations and I therefore want to translate that in my images too.

So, very tidy house... rather messy cooking images but hopefully both very appealing in their own way. 

Feeling the Love on Valentines

Its one of those commercial days that we all love or…. dread. I suppose if you are 15 and still at school there is always the pressure on from all your classmates as to whether you actually received a card.

Well I say, on Valentines Day, we should learn to love what we have, who we have in our lives regardless of the relationship we have with them and send a little love out there to all that are perhaps feeling lonely. 

So sing along with me...Love is in the air everywhere you look around….

jazz-waheed-photographer-food3260comp.png
jazz-waheed-photographer-food3279t.png

got any of those clementines left over?

Most people buy them over the Christmas holidays, I always buy a few boxes, but by the time january comes and they start to look a little disheveled I squeeze them for juice before they go bad.

But did you know you can also make a last ditch dual use of the skins once you have squeezed the juice out?

Yes you can. Place all the skins in a saucepan (make sure to wash the whole orange before squeezing if you want to try this) cover the skins with water, just enough to cover them. Then put them on the stove, bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for about 90 mins to 2 hours. Keep an eye on the pan to make sure it does not boil dry, if water looks low, boil the kettle and top up the water.

First of all your home will smell amazing, I did my first batch with a stick of cinnamon to clear the air in my house. Afterwards I removed the cinnamon stick, then when the skins had cooled I put the skins in the blender. Once pureed I added some sugar to taste and put the puree back on the stove for about 20 minutes on low.
What you will have is an amazingly tangy and zesty orange purée. Boiling the skins for a long time will get rid of the bitter taste often associated with orange skins.

I used mine in yogurt, but you can also use this purée on chicken or in a cake mixture, in fact the possibilities are endless.

Once you try it you will never throw away orange or lemon skins again. You can do this with any citrus fruit that is slightly old, don't use fresh citrus fruits (except for clementines and limes) as the pith will be too thick and the purée will be more on the bitter side.

 

jazz-waheed-photographer-food8136.png
jazz-waheed-photographer-food8433.png
jazz-waheed-photographer-food8471.png

Seasons greetings

Its that time of year again… Christmas. Regardless of your culture or beliefs, if you live in a western society everyone gets caught up in the Christmas fever. I don't think its so much about religion anymore but more about having a few days off to eat foods you don't generally eat and be with the friends and family that mean the most to you.

And what is better than a good excuse to kick back and relax and have that extra cookie or piece of cake. Whatever your traditions or beliefs, I wish everyone peace, happiness and love for the holidays and may the coming new year be filled with good intentions and the will to embrace another year.

Thank you to everyone that worked with me this year, I am truly grateful for all the support and I hope you will continue to visit and enjoy my work in 2014.

Eat, drink and be merry...

jazz-waheed-photographer-6540.png

Oreos go Belgian...

I was walking through a store the other day and was struck by the packaging of these Belgian chocolate covered oreo cookies. Being originally from the UK the cookies and milk didn't really figure much in my childhood, it was more builders tea and custard creams (old habits die hard so its still my favourite today). Anyway felt compelled to photograph these in two different ways. Now that the first snow has fallen in Montreal, there will be no shooting in the lovely open light of my garden so its into the studio and time to get creative with light indoors. 

Not a custard cream in sight so I am off to get the kettle on and observe a temporary British-American snack of tea and belgian oreos.

jazz-waheed-photographer-food4726.png

Pretty Pumpkins

Happy autumn everyone., the clocks have gone back, the cold weather is here. Hallowe'en just passed with fun, laughter and pumpkin pie.

Pumpkins come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, colours and textures. I think they make for wonderful colour in my kitchen for the time that they live in my fruit bowl. Of course they make for nice photography too. I have already chopped and baked the very large one that I bought for halloween and now there are just the small ones that remain. What will I cook with them? Soup and muffins most likely… 

jazz-waheed-photographer-pumpkin.png

Getting artsy with veggies

Whilst making the most of my city garden, the nice light that encompasses it during the day and the unusually warm days this October, I decided to do something a little different with some of the autumn vegetables, one of my fellow creatives has remarked that this image has an almost illustration feel...

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 10.52.51 PM.png

Is autumn really here?

Its warm outside, bordering on humid in fact, I don't really want to accept that the summer is over. The wind softly brushes the trees and there is this delightful rustling noise of the leaves flying into the air. They finally succumbed to letting go of their branch. Their season is over, they glow for one last time, showing off briefly a new colour. Then they dutifully fall a mere few feet to their final resting place.

Luckily for a handful their time is not up yet. These ones saved by me with one last task in hand, to be today's photography prop. 

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 1.49.08 PM.png

Van Oranje

Yes I may well be a Brit, with that good old London accent of mine, but... actually I also grew up and went to school in Holland, Eindhoven to be specific as this is where my mother originates from. But where is this all leading you ask yourself, well... how many people actually know that it was because of the Dutch that the good old carrot was genetically modified to the colour orange, for what is thought to be purely political reasons.

In the 17th century, Dutch growers are thought to have cultivated orange carrots as a tribute to William of Orange – who led the the struggle for Dutch independence – and the color stuck. A thousand years of purple, yellow and white carrots were wiped out in an instant.

Well this weekend was carrot juicing time but I thought why just stick with my heritage inspired orange carrots, lets throw a few of the original coloured ones into the mix. They seem indeed to be making a come back, which makes for fantastic photography props.

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 10.54.38 PM.png