The Creative Side of Food Photography | Kelly Neil – Food Photographer

Lately I have been focusing more on bringing together two of my passions... photography and food. I have been following local food bloggers here in Halifax and one of my favorites is Kelly Neil. Her photographs of food have inspired me to be more involved in local food culture and I was thrilled that she was willing to give me a behind-the-scenes peek of the preparation and styling that goes into food photography. Kelly has an artistic eye and intuitive talent for bringing together beautiful colours and textures that highlight the most delicious treats she has prepared and styled. Kelly and I met up at the Tantallon Village Farmers' Market on a hot and sunny Tuesday afternoon to pick up a few ingredients for our photo shoot. We picked out some Hug Your Nanny Goat Cheese and a fresh baguette from Julien's Patisserie Bakery before stopping to buy some local strawberries along the side of the road (they have the best strawberries!) We spent the afternoon at Kelly's beautiful home chatting about food, photography and how we each found our own path to our creative professions. Kelly was generous in sharing helpful photography tips as well as her own personal story. Please visit Kelly's blog post about our photoshoot to hear her story in her own words.

I learned so much in one afternoon watching Kelly carefully plan, prepare, style and photograph the strawberry vanilla curd served on baguette with goat cheese that you will see in the last photograph. She has a natural talent for the creative work she does and I am excited to share these images that capture a little bit of the process. I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon.

Special thanks to Kelly Neil for collaborating with me on this photoshoot!


The end result! Kelly's beautiful photograph of the Strawberry Vanilla Curd with Goat Cheese on Baguette.


Kelly's recipe for Strawberry Vanilla Curd:

1 box Nova Scotia Strawberries

1 Tbsp Port

1 Vanilla Bean, scraped

1 C sugar, divided in half

5 egg yolks

1/8 tsp Kosher Salt

1/2 C Butter

- wash, hull and rough chop strawberries - place in medium sized pot on med/low heat with Port, Vanilla Bean scrapings and 1/2 C sugar - cook 7-10 minutes until strawberries are soft

- in a med/large bowl, whisk remaining 1/2 C sugar, egg yolks and salt

- when strawberries are soft, drain the juice from the berries into a heat proof vessel (you only need 1/2 C juice for the curd - if you have extra, mix it with club soda for a refreshing summer drink - make sure you scoop out your vanilla bean seeds into your 1/2 C juice - most of mine ended up in my soda) - while whisking yolks, drizzle in 1/2 C hot strawberry juice, a little at a time, whisking constantly, until all juice is incorporated

- add egg yolk mixture back to pot with cooked strawberries and cook over med/low heat for about 10 minutes, or until thick and creamy - pour into heatproof jars and cool