Kitchen Photo Studio

Kitchen Photo Studio Hudson Valley NY

Kitchen Photo Studio Upstate NY

Kitchen Photo Studio Catskills NY

This year, I built a kitchen photo studio on my property in the Hudson Valley. It has 800 square feet of open space on the main floor, complete with 10′ ceilings, a concrete floor, and a new gas stove and fridge. There are 16′ x 4′ banks of north and south facing windows, and windows to the east and west.

Upstairs, there is a bathroom, storage area, and a collection of props, linens, and surfaces I have been collecting over the years. I have tons of vintage flatware.

Photos of the finished interior to come soon. As of January, 2019, we are installing a display shelf in the kitchen. When that is done, I will do a big photo update.

This studio is especially suited to shoots where there may not quite be a budget to rent a studio in NYC, but lots of space is still required. Who is tired of shooting in cramped walk-up studios in Brooklyn? How about strange vacation rentals?

This is the perfect place to shoot a cookbook, or any kind of photo campaign. We also have a tiny AirBnB cottage on our property, which suits 1 to 2 people. And our town is full of new restaurants and a new boutique hotel, should you want to bring the team for a Hudson Valley experience.

I am currently booking shoots for the coming months. Email me with any inquiries, no shoot is too large or too small to discuss.

Joe Beef Cookbook

The second Joe Beef cookbook has been published, and it was an incredible experience. Over the space of a year, I gave the book about 30 shooting and travel days. Plus maybe another 15 days doing edits, organizing, prepping and sending files. That is a lot of days on one cookbook shoot Most cookbook shoots I get are budget around 7 days for photography.

On most of our shoot days we started in the morning, shot through the entire day, into the evening, and ended well into dinner service. The goal was to capture everything – but of course, when working with people who create new ideas as quickly as you can document current ideas, it’s a constant game of catch-up. When I work with Fred, Dave, Meredith, Marco, and the rest of the Joe Beef family, my mantra is: ‘Keep up, and don’t f*** it up’. Below is a short preview video I made to splash the book on social media. And, a sample of my favorite photos from the book.

Joe Beef Cookbook photo by Jennifer May

Joe Beef Cookbook sausage

Joe Beef Cookbook

Joe Beef Cookbook wood oven

Joe Beef Cookbook Montreal

Joe Beef Cookbook

Joe Beef Cookbook

Joe Beef Cookbook Restaurant

Joe Beef Cookbook snow crabs jennifer may photo

 

Japan Cookbook

Announcing the Japan Cookbook that I photographed and that was published last April. This is clearly an overdue post, on an overlooked blog. Japan was written by Nancy Singleton Hachisu and published by Phaidon. The props were picked by Barb Fritz, and the food was cooked and styled by Hannah Kirshner, with the help of her assistant Saori Kurioka. We borrowed handmade pottery from potters in Brooklyn and San Francisco. And Hannah called on specialty farmers she knew across the country to send us unusual Japanese produce. An enormous team produced this book, I only wish I knew everyone’s names to note them all personally.

Japan Cookbook Cover photos by Jennifer MayJapan Cookbook photography by Jennifer May NYCJapan Cookbook ramen photo by Jennifer MayJapan Cookbook photos by Jennifer MayJapan Cookbook Phaidon photos by Jennifer May

Lail Ceramics

I spent a day with Lail Ceramics, a potter based in Woodstock, NY. In the morning, I drove over to the Kingston Farmer’s Market and picked up beautiful in-season produce. Then, we photographed the new color lines and plates. These dishes feel so good in the hands, and absolutely everything looks beautiful in them.

red currants farmers market lail ceramicssquash blossoms gardenpears farmers market lail ceramics

The Amsterdam Restaurant

I have been making regular visits to photograph the chef, staff, bar, and menu items at The Amsterdam Restaurant, in Rhinebeck, NY. As usual, with restaurant photography, the shots are used on the restaurant’s website, printed matter, advertorials, and through their social media channels. Here are some recent shots.

Amsterdam RestaurantAmsterdam Restaurant
charcuterie by Jennifer May
grilled artichokes
Roasted carrotsBar restaurant photography by Jennifer May NYC
Chef portrait by Jennifer May
chef portrait
breakfast sandwich
Amsterdam Restaurant
Bar action
dessert
latte art

Edible Westchester Magazine

Edible Westchester Magazine

The second issue of Edible Westchester Magazine features a photograph I took of Chef Chris Vergara. He took me on a foraging walk through some public lands in Westchester County. We looked for ramps, wild onions, and mushrooms. While squatting in the bushes, to get this shot, I also kept my eyes open for ticks and poison ivy. I love photographing in nature, but I am a little bit obsessed with the pests and hazards.

Jennifer May Photographer

And, here is a shot Chef Vergara took of me, from my perch behind a log.

 

Happy Holidays 2017

Happy Holidays 2017!

happy holidays holiday cocktail

I am writing this in the early days of 2018. The holidays have come and gone, and we are all marching forward into the new year. I am reflecting on the year behind me, and looking ahead.

In 2017 I joined a gym. I have never thought of myself as a gym person, but things change. As I peddle and push I watch TED talks and music videos. Sometimes I imagine myself as a super hero, and I am always glad I went.

This December, we traveled to Hornby Island and spent time with my family. My brother and some friends charged into the frigid Pacific Ocean on New Year’s Day.

For the year ahead, I look forward to collaborating on exciting photo projects, quality time with my 5-year-old, and laughs with my husband. After today’s TED talk at the gym, I am inspired to spend less time browsing social media, and more time turning the pages of books.

polar bear plunge Hornby Island 2017polar bear plungepolar bear swim 2017bonfire beach
Christmas girl lights happy holidayspacific ocean snowprop plane

How to Prep a Double Crust Pie

How to prep a double crust pie… look at it! It looks just like the ones my grandmother used to bake. Erin Jeanne McDowell, the Fearless Baker, shows you how to prep that dough, so you can make one, too. We made this pair of pie videos in the week prior to Thanksgiving. Although, there is a whole season of pie-appropriate holidays to come. I’m definitely going to see if I can make one to match Erin’s.

How to Prep a Single Crust Pie

If you have ever wondered how to prep a single crust pie, here is a very clear demonstration. Erin Jeanne McDowell, the Fearless Baker herself, and I made a video showing you how to do it. This video shows the step between making your dough and filling and baking your pie. This shows the very crucial rolling out, trimming, and crimping of a single crust pie.

Look at all that butter! No matter how many times I work with Erin (and I have worked with her a lot, both when I hire her to make food for my photoshoots, or when she hired me to photograph her baking cookbook) I am always surprised by the butter in the dough. One day I will get it right, and stop over-mixing mine. One day.

The Fearless Baker Cookbook

The Fearless Baker Cookbook was published yesterday. My friend and colleague, Erin McDowell, wrote it and I photographed it for her last summer. Erin wrote a beautiful story about the process for Food52, complete with lots of behind-the-scenes pictures I took for her. Check it out for a sample of her terrific writing. And here are some photos of recipes you will find in the book. As Erin writes: 200 recipes, 1000 photos later, The Fearless Baker is born…

Fearless Baker cookbook frozen cakeFearless Baker cookbook cake standFearless Baker cookbook bakingFearless Baker cookbook pieFearless Baker cookbook cake bakingFearless Baker cookbook sugarFearless Baker cookbook danishFearless Baker cookbook pieFearless Baker cookbook Erin McDowell

Tulsi Tincture Video

This summer I spent the better part of July on the west coast of Canada. It was a work trip combined with a family trip. One of the projects I worked on was this short video, which demonstrates how to make a fresh tulsi tincture.

Tulsi, also called Holy Basil, is a sacred plant in India. It has been used for thousands of years for detox, to help alleviate stress, and to increase stamina. My sister uses tulsi in her Ayurvedic practice.  My brother grows the herb in his greenhouse at the Earth Lab on Hornby Island. I photograph food stories. We put our passions together and this is one of the projects we created.

Editorial Style Product Photography for PepsiCo

I got a call to do some editorial style product photography for PepsiCo. The shoot was to be at their Research & Development headquarters in Vallhalla, NY. This is the center of the world, as far as PepsiCo goes. I am situated in Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley, and so much seems to be right down the road from me. These images will be used to promote two new products from PepsiCo: Pepsi Fire and LemonLemon. Food styling was by Laura Kinsey, with prop styling by Kristine Trevino.

Editorial Style Product Photography for PepsiCo

PepsiCo LemonLemon beverage photography

PepsiCo LemonLemon cocktail photography

PepsiCo LemonLemon editorial product photography

PepsiCo LemonLemon product photography

Canoe Hill Restaurant in the Hudson Valley

I recently visited the Canoe Hill Restaurant on assignment for Hudson Valley Magazine. The restaurant is owned by Michael DelGrosso and his wife, Lauren Lancaster. They are Hudson Valley transplants, via Brooklyn, where Michael helped create the aesthetic of many of Manhattan’s and Brooklyn’s most beautiful restaurants. I only wish he would bring his eye to Woodstock. I would be a regular.

Canoe Hill Restaurant bar

cherries at bar

homemade butter on toast

lemons in bowl canoe hill restaurant

whole fish on plate

canoe hill restaurant interior

Cooking Julia Child’s Recipes

I returned from a week photographing a cookbook in Montreal and decided to spend a month cooking French food. I turned to a book that is already on my bookshelf: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

These photos are not examples of what the recipes should technically look like – only what they did look like. But I am excited. The stock that simmered on my stove for two days, eventually became Glace de Viande (meat glaze). We reduced a tablespoon of that glaze with wine and shallots and made Beurre Marchand de Vins (Shallot Butter with Red Wine). We put slabs of it on an inexpensive cut of beef, and transformed the steak into a delicacy.

meat glaze jennifer may food photography
A white stock, which boiled on my stove for two days.
meat glaze jennifer may food photography
The stock, after two days of boiling, before it cooled in the fridge.
meat glaze jennifer may food photography
The meat glaze, after cooling in the fridge overnight.
meat glaze jennifer may photography
The stock, as a red wine reduction. We then used it to make an infused butter.

I am really loving preparing simple ingredients in a different way than my standard, and creating entirely new flavor profiles. I make soup all the time. But Soupe au Pistou (Provencal Vegetable Soup with Garlic, Basil & Herbs) is a fresh take in my kitchen.

vegetable soup jennifer may photo
Soupe au Pistou
pistou jennifer may food
The tomato, garlic, parmesan, and fresh basil pistou for the soup

I am working on my baking. Now that I have made “cream puff paste,” I will use that basic recipe and make gnocchis.

onion quiche jennifer may photo
Onion quiche in a “short crust”
cheese puffs julia child jennifer may food photography
Preparing the “cream puff paste” for baking
cooking julia child
Cheese puffs
Food stories in New York's Hudson Valley and beyond from photographer Jennifer May