On The Job

This isn’t food related but it’s photo related. I do hope that’s ok.


I recently completed my first big ad agency shoot on Monday (that picture above is from last month) and man oh man I couldn’t be happier. I don’t want to get in trouble by revealing too much about who it was for and all that stuff just yet but here are some of my initial observations:


1. Accept the fact that the prop stylist will bring things you covet and drool over and no, you cannot keep them and take them home. Including that perfect little glass you’ve been looking for for about 6 months. This makes my heart hurt.


2. My first time around and the big wig agency people were dreams come true; gorgeous, warm, all smiles, friendly with an idea of what they wanted. It was magic.


3. After all this time I actually feel like I know what I’m doing. Who knew?


4. Do not tease, provoke, annoy or trip the food stylist. You’ve been warned.


5. Mary Sue Milliken is as nice in person as I thought she’d be. She rocks.


6. Staring at avocados for 10 hours did nothing to diminish my unshakeable love for those things.


7. Do not leave obnoxiously-sized muffins laying about in the late afternoon. They will be consumed by me until they’re gone. So much for my recent pattern of healthy snacking.


8. When technology and creativity work together it’s a beautiful thing. When they fight or argue, well, I never realized I knew so many swear words.


9. Ok, I give up, I admit it. I WILL hire an assistant. I promise.


10. When you love what you do and have the best significant other in the entire world, well, let’s just say life is a blessing and the work has meaning. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Please forgive the hokey illustrations. I have never claimed to be an illustrator and just looking at the uneven drawing of the glass in item #1 proves that I should stay away from pen and paper.


  1. says

    Your illustrations are damned cute and your scribbles scarily very much like mine.

    Good to know that dreams can come true. 😀

  2. says

    I would work for you for FREE if I lived in LA!!! :)

    I liked your illustrations. And I hope we get to see some avocado pics. I bet that was an interesting shoot!

  3. says

    1) the illustrations are charming and lovely. I kept thinking “holy crap, he can draw, too” — so quit yer self-deprecating nonsense, man.

    2) I wish I had vacation days to blow so I could offer to pop down to LA on a moment’s notice and be your assistant / intern when you needed one.

  4. says

    Yay! So glad the experience went so well for you. And I loved the illustrations… since your photography is perfection, the illustrations keep you human. :)

  5. says

    as a devoted lurker, i just had to post and say i love your blog! your whismy and beauty come out in every post, and i love the illustrations for this one. and i loved mary sue way back when the foodnetwork was just a blip on tv! i would love to be your assistant, if only you worked here in nyc :)

  6. says

    So happy that things have been going well for you (and you know I would move to LA if you let me be your assistant ;)) Love the illustrations, hope you are all well. kxxx

  7. kitchenbeard says

    Have I told you lately that I hate my current job and I’m an excellent exec. assistant with my own camera? Have I? Huh? Have I?

  8. says

    that’s you looking like you’re gonna smack that food for talking back!!!!!!!!!!!

    that’s my favorite picture!!!!!!!! of you…

  9. says

    you’re adorable. congrats on the ad shoot! big steps. BIG steps. i think you’re a fine illustrator. they make me smile.

  10. says


    I absolutely love your blog and I absolutely love this post. Please post more
    You are a truly an inspiration.

  11. says

    I’ve been visiting your blog for awhile, and love your food photography. I’m just starting out, and I know you asked this, but I would LOVE more about the photos themselves. I’m having such a hard time finding books on lighting specific to food… my setup seems to be working for now but know it can be better. I’m also thinking of upgrading from the d70 to d200. Anyhow, would love to see more technical, behind the scenes stuff!!!!

  12. says

    i LOVED this post! how fun!!! the avocados were my favourite part. i would frame that in my kitchen. seriously. no REALLY – you should make up some prints and offer ’em on etsy. they would be so cute!

    pretty much everything you do rocks.
    have i mentioned how much i love you?

  13. ames says

    i’ve recently stubbled onto your blog – love this post, illustrations and all, and the beautiful photos! thanks for the fun read and inspirational creativity :)

  14. says

    I love it! Deep somewhere in the recesses of my cold black heart, lies a food stylist.

    PS: you should have stolen the glass. they never would have known.

  15. James Tracy says


    I recently completed my first big ad agency shoot on Monday…I don’t want to get in trouble by revealing too much about who it was for and all that stuff just yet…[/quote]

    I think you may have already gave up the info on who and what the Ad shoot was for. So, I’ll take a fork stab @ it.

    Could the who and for be –
    Mary Sue Milliken http://www.marysueandsusan.com

    Chef owner of Border Grill – http://www.bordergrill.com/
    and Ciudad – http://www.ciudad-la.com/



  16. says

    I am new to your food blog and I find it quite interesting, relax and perhaps when I get to know you a bit better I will also say ‘it’s your style’.


  17. says

    The part that has me stunned is the dream ad agency “with an idea of what they wanted. It was magic.” … how is this possible??? LOL Could it have really been a dream? These people should be cloned and studied.

  18. says

    delayed reaction here.. just noticed your bit about needing an assistant. you should convince them to send me over there to assist you:) long shot? i know, i know. you’ll just have to get some jobs in NY.

  19. sara says

    oh matt!! lovely post!! :)

    i don’t mind uprooting all the way from singapore to LA just to be your assistant!

  20. says

    Your blog is the BEST !
    I love the illustrations ( especially the BIG AD AGENCY, so cute) , what you write, your photographs, and your tattoos too :-)

  21. says

    Beautiful drawing of the avocado. Oil pastel? Also, I love the Border Grill. The food was fantastic. And it was one of the few normal dining experiences I had in Las Vegas where the wait staff were not dressed like Keno girls, and everything was not deep-fried and double-wrapped in bacon. (My assessment of LV dining.)

  22. xtine says

    Love the drawings! You should do more (and post them here, and do lots of food ones, and prepare not to be surprised when you see tham framed on ramdon strangers’ kitchen walls…why? Um, no reason…). It’s been a few months…Should I look for your masterpieces on Etsy???

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