Tag Archives: Great Accidents in Photography

Ponte Alexandre III Paris France

Paris with A Camera

With camera, lenses, and tripod in tow I set out from Chicago to Paris, ‘The City of Lights’. I stayed in an apartment hotel in Montrouge, http://bit.ly/1sZsiaj, in the 14th arrondissement.

Unlike my other trips to this wonderful city, I decided to travel Paris via public transportation, bus only. The bus trips, in my opinion, were better than taking tour buses. One experiences the flavor of the city amongst the residents verses the tourists.

Some of the places I visited with photos available:

Eiffel Tower – This prominent structure is made out of iron and is built on Champ de Mars. The tower got its name from the engineer who built it and it is the tallest building in the entire city.

Hotel du Cluny –  It was formerly the town house of the abbots of Cluny, started in 1334. The structure was rebuilt by Jacques d’Amboise, abbot in commendam of Cluny 1485-1510; it combines Gothic and Renaissance elements.

Saćre Coeur – The Basilica crowns one of the highest hills in Paris on the butte of Montmartre offering one of the best views of the city.

Louvre – What can I say, the museum of museums. It dates back to 1200 when it was built as a fortress. Today it houses some of the most famous art in the world.

Jardins du Luxembourg – The Jardin (garden) features a series of statues which portray the queens of France and other illustrious women along the terraces of the park

Jardins des Tuileries – The Tuileries garden extends for about a kilometer from Palace du Carrousel to Palace de la Concorde.

Flame of Liberty – The Flame of Liberty (Flamme de la Liberté) in Paris is a full-sized, gold-leaf-covered replica of the new flame at the upper end of the torch carried in the hand of the Statue of Liberty at the entrance to the harbor of New York City since 1986.

Pont Alexander III – The Ponte Alexandre III is considered by many to be one of the prettiest bridges in Paris. The bridge is located south of the Champs Elysees at the southern end of Avenue Winston Churchill in the 7th and 8th arrondissements.

Théâtre de la Ville – One of the two theatres built in the 19th century by Baron Haussmann at Place du Châtelet.

Pont Neuf  – Paris’ oldest bridge. A beautiful bridge over the Seine River and it is also the longest.

The Palace De Chaillot aka the Trocadero – The Palace De Chaillot was constructed for the 1937 World Fair, designed by Boileau, Carlu und Azema built on the previous building, the Trocadero.

La Conciergerie – The “Antechamber to the Guillotine” – Located on the Banks of the Seine the building dates back the 13th and early 14th century. It’s name derives from concierge, as the royal governor in charge of the building was called.

Photos are available at:  http://larryrichey.smugmug.com Please feel free to take look.


How to Backup Photos w/o Carrying a PC or Using the Internet

I actually read this on Fstoppers and damn it works. Thus I decided to share it. I have made a few annotations which I employ.

I take a portable hard drive, WD passport(1T), and a card reader. Both are virtually no weight and small. I go to the business center of the hotel and use their computer. The computer will either have a SD Card slot or not. If it does you don’t need your card reader. If it doesn’t here’s where the card reader comes in. The computer will most likely have an USB port. The card reader has an USB port. Plug it in and also plug in via the HD to the other USB port. Download your photos to the HD. You’re done, no internet or your own computer required. This can also be done at an internet cafe. To be sure get yourself an USB hub just in case the hotel or internet cafe’s computer only has one USB port. his works.

Sliders - Bacon - Carmelized Onion - Blue Cheese Fondue

Why good food photography is important for restaurants & lounges

If you run a restaurant, bar or café, you know how important your menu is. It is the first introduction to your food that a customer gets and having great pictures can make a world of difference. In this multicultural place that we live in, a city full of tourists and international business travelers not all of who speak English, how do you attract them into your food establishment with ease? Everyone can understand a photograph; the phrase “people eat with their eyes” has never been so relevant. Most people like to see a photo of their food before they order so they know exactly what they are getting, and for those from a different culture who are not familiar with your style of dishes this is even more important. Being a transcontinental traveler, tourist, etc. I can personally attest to this axiom. So many times I have been out in various cities abroad and can’t read the menu. However, I can distinguish what I want to eat via the photos on their food on the menu. This is also true if I look up a few restaurants to dine and they have good quality pictures of the food items available at their restaurant at their website regardless of language.

The only way to produce a professional photo style food menu is to use a professional food photography service. The do it yourself method just will not cut it in these times of high competition when your competitors all have sleek and professional menus.

A great looking food menu can look as good on your website as it does in your restaurant, bar or café. All of our photographs can be used on your website as well as being printed for your menus. When more and more people check your website before deciding whether or not to eat in your establishment, a beautiful set of food menu photographs can really give you the edge over your competition.





Sliders - Bacon - Carmelized Onion - Blue Cheese Fondue

Food Photography; More Important than Ever, Why; Because of Social Media

It is a well-known fact that one of the most effective ways to increase engagement on social media platforms is through the use of quality photographs. And what better way for a restaurant to show off its offerings than through the use of photography?

Why, then, are so few restaurants taking advantage of photography to promote their business? One non-scientific research suggests there are many reasons, including the following:

▪     Restaurant owners perceive the cost of professional photography as being too high, and they don’t think they can obtain good results on their own.

▪    Restaurant management is too busy with the day-to-day operation of their business to devote time each week to activities such as social media, photography and marketing.

Lack of awareness of the benefits photography can provide when combined with a good social media plan.

Quality photographs are of the utmost importance on Social Media Platforms. Photographs online offer a vital chance to make a great first impression.  You don’t want to squander that chance by 1) having no photos of your food, or 2) having bad photos of your food.  Ideally, a few interior and exterior shots of your venue should be included with your online media, as well as a shot or two of the chef/staff. Furthermore, stock food photography on a restaurant website is pretty much false advertising.  Restaurant/food business owners should make sure that the photos on your site are of food that you yourself prepared. Potential customers deserve to know exactly what food they can expect to be served at your establishment.

Basically keep your photos current, accurate, and of good quality. It’s not necessary to have every dish you offer photographed, but highlighting a few of your best dishes across several categories is ideal.  Know when to invest in professional photography, and think of it as just that – an investment.  You only have one chance to make a great first impression and the food photography on your site can make or break that chance.


The Importance of Good Food Photography Today

The camera in my cell phone, or my digital camera is good enough to take pictures of my restaurant’s food, so why do I need to hire a professional food photographer to take the pictures, where is my ROI or return on investment in this?

This is a common misconception in the industry among even the most elite restaurants, catering companies, cafés and bakeries throughout the world. The truth of the matter is simple, as most food stylists say, “Food goes in through the eyes first…”, in-a-nutshell, both figuratively and literally, there is no comparison to a well thought-out photo that has just the right balance of lighting, appropriate angles and composition.

Various studies also shows that when you compare a quality photograph of a food item next to a quick photo taken with your cell phone or camera, the purchase rate of the quality photo will sell more food than the one that isn’t as good looking.

So this leads us to the usage of stock photography versus custom photography. Usually stock photography looks great, but the downside to this is simple, your menu’s photography will look generic and it won’t be unique to your restaurant.

If you hire a professional food photographer like us, then you get a personalized photo that no other restaurant will have and it will also be true to your serving size and reflect your restaurant’s true ambiance.



The Annual Chicago Police vs Chicago Fire Charity Baseball Game

Every year in the city of Chicago the Police and Fire Department’s baseball teams come together for fun and to engage in a charity baseball game. The game is played to honor those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. This year’s game was played at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox professional major league baseball team, located on the south side of Chicago.  Also in attendance, as always, were members of the Warriors Watch whose mission statement is “THE WARRIORS’ WATCH RIDERS ENVISION A DAY WHEN EVERY MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES, AT HOME AND ABROAD, AND THEIR FAMILIES, FEEL APPRECIATED, HONORED, RESPECTED AND LOVED BY THE CITIZENS THEY RISK THEIR LIVES TO PROTECT.”

Here are a few photos from the game. Check out the Events gallery on my website for more.

Annual Chicago Police, Lodge 7, and Chicago Fire, Local 2, Chari



Warriors' Watch Rider - Chicago, Illinois



The Color Guard at the Chicago Police vs Chicago Fire Charity Ba

Food Photography Tips

Foot traffic is good. Especially if you are on a well travelled thoroughfare. But what if you are not. How will you be discovered? How do you get people in your restaurant? Sure hire a PR person, advertise on a food website or have your own website. What will people see when they come across your restaurant? How will your food presentation appear to your would be customers?

Let’s pose this question; how do people shop today and how do you think they will shop in the future? Regardless if it’s for a plumber, electrician or a restaurant, etc., they will more likely search via the Internet. And there’s a good chance they will be searching via a mobile device, via a tablet or phone. Locals, tourist, travelers will more likely shop via the Internet. The question is, are you and your business findable or discoverable? Are your pictures optimized to link your business to the pictures? Or are they just an image sitting on the Internet. Well the Internet via the search engines cannot see images or pictures. Search engines only read code. So if your images are flat, without code, the search engine will never find your images. Not to mention being able to link the image to your business.

Regarding restaurants, you can have the best food and service, however, if you are not findable or discoverable you will not fill the sets to be profitable or perhaps break even. Here’s where having optimized photos of your food offerings and your restaurant for that matter helps. First back to visual acuity, would this photo entice you to dine at this restaurant?

Would you want to eat this?


Or what about this item;


If you are just putting up mediocre images like this and hoping for the best good luck. The aesthetics of your food presentation may be putting people off.

Perhaps something more like this may help,

Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert

Or this;

Quince and Pistachio Cake Molasses Ice Cream


Or this;

Braised Pork Shank, Roasted Quince, Prunes, Black Kale

Would be a better presentation.

Furthermore, and back to optimizing your images, with the right optimization the last three photos would link to your website, social media and your restaurant. The images would be findable and discoverable on the Internet. Again, the Internet does not see images it reads code to identify your image and associate the image to your restaurant.

Rule of Thirds in Photography

Rule of thirds in photography is a basic composition guideline in photography. Again, it is a guideline. It does not mean one must always follow the rule. However, the rule does give us cause for concern when capturing an image. I could go on about this in my own words. In my readings I have come across a few articles that give very good definitions on this topic and explain this topic in detail. Below are such articles that I feel are very helpful.






Snapshots vs Photographs

First and foremost perhaps we may want to ask a few questions. Like, why is this important or who cares? I am in the moment, I got the shot, boom, there it is, and I was there. The concepts of composition, exposure, color balance, post-production (aka development) hey who the heck cares, not my concern, I got the pic and I am sharing it. I’m done.

Here’s a quote from a photography blog; ‘Generally people agree that a randomly snapped photograph, mostly captured via the “point and shoot” style without much thought would result in a commonly ordinary looking snapshots. On the other hand, a good photo usually would come from stronger technical execution and bold artistic projection.’

Here’s another quote on the distinction; “Snapshots are personal. They record a personal history and are very important for that reason, but only to people who know the people and places in the photos. Technical quality is less important than capturing the people and place in time. Digital point and shoots and smart phones are ideal for this purpose.

Good photos grab anyone’s attention without any personal or other history. They speak for themselves. Ideally they take an interesting subject and highlight what makes the subject interesting through selective focus, contrast, etc.”

Here are my thoughts. When I first became seriously interested in photography my research directed me to the concept of a photo vs a snapshot. When I first heard the definition (as you can also observe via the aforementioned quotes) I thought it was rather pretentious, a snapshot can be taken of anything the person sees at the moment they decide to take the shot. Usually a snapshot is a quick rough capture to document a scene or event. A photo on the other hand is a well thought, composed, exposed and executed capture of a scene or situation that may border art form. However, as I continue to stride to hone my skills I discovered how challenging it is to master photography. And I can honestly say now that the distinction appears to be accurate. As in many photography blogs, articles, and tutorials continue to relate: 
the real question is not who is a photographer, but what is a photo and what is a snapshot.

So let me put this on the table; the next time you look at an image think to yourself, “Is this a photo or a snapshot?” Over time you might see the differentiation and it might just impact how you approach capturing a scene.

This is not to say that snapshots are not important or fun. I think to capture a scene at the time is great. You just don’t have the time to compose and or think about a shot every time. And so what if the color space is off, you get the idea. It is these instances in time that are important and should not be missed. Heck, I carry a smart phone, which I read somewhere, is perhaps the best point and shoot camera you can have, and I even have a small gorilla pod with a phone holder. I just can’t hold the phone steady all the time and I want a good pic. That’s just me. I think snapshots we take can be priceless at times. Heck, they could be ‘great accidents in photography’. Hmmmm, I’ve heard that somewhere too.