Blog Category: Food Photography (Page 1)

Women Helping Women: Women-Owned Businesses We Lifted Up In 2021

As a woman-owned business, we’ve always made it a point to collaborate with and support other women-owned businesses. In 2021 we had the pleasure of working with several community-minded females to not only help market their business visually but to promote the mission behind their work. 

At Randi Baird Photography (RBP), we’re not just behind the scenes snapping photos for websites and advertisements, we’re having strategic conversations with our clients about the most effective way to tell their story from behind the lens, in a way that is most authentic and impactful to their business. They say content is king, and photography is just that, but collaborating and effective marketing of that content is queen. 

The queen bee is the mover and shaker; she gets things done, and we’ve been lucky to accomplish some great things alongside these fabulous female-owned businesses this year. 

BUG & RABBIT:  This lifestyle clothing brand was launched by friends and founders Emily Redmond and Kristin Loranger, who have been tethered to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket for generations. Like many of us, they fell in love with the islands for their breathtaking beaches, unparalleled beauty, rich New England history, and the memories made there with family and friends. They believe in sharing what brings you joy and spreading good where you can. Emily and Kristin have created designs that not only show love for these iconic destinations but share good by giving back. 

BUG&RABBIT pledges to donate a percentage of their annual profits to organizations that help to preserve and protect these beloved islands, as well as look for ways to support their local businesses and communities. B&R also pledges to source sustainable and responsibly made materials in an effort to be kinder to the environment. 

What we did: RBP helped develop a visual style to illustrate their Vineyard Line of clothing by complementing the apparel against the natural blue colors of our surrounding Edgartown waters. We organized a photo shoot with three models on a breezy sunny afternoon and hopped aboard Catboat Charters to capture R&B’s designs in an authentic Vineyard setting. Back on land, we selected two more backdrops that effectively evoke the nautical setting that originally inspired their clothing. Once back in the studio we developed a stylized “look” for R & B that will serve as a consistent visual theme throughout their marketing, to help further develop their brand. 

SylvieBags: I’ve known Sylvie Farrington, owner of Sylvie Bags, for the last 25 years, as a friend and a neighbor. We both started Island CoHousing, a collaborative living community on Martha’s Vineyard, with our families over 20 years ago. 

Sylvie designs gorgeous handbags, pillows, and other textiles from up-cycled rare barkcloth and fabrics from the 1930s to the 1960s, using a traditional sewing technique. The durable barkcloth is made from densely woven cotton fibers and makes for unique, sustainable products. Items are one-of-a-kind from authentic mid-century textiles and beautifully made with a high focus on detail. 

The best parts? Consumers can feel good about their purchase knowing SylvieBags are leather-free, animal-friendly, and vegan, and since they use existing vintage fabric they minimize the impact on Mother Earth. Another fabulous perk (that really speaks to the feminist in me) is that by buying a SylvieBags accessory you are helping preserve the ancient art of sewing passed down through generations and championing independent women sewing from home to balance work and family and earning fair compensation.

What we did: RBP scouted several photo locations for Sylvie, ultimately selecting those locations that would allow her bold and vibrant designs to make the most impact. We used the down-Island towns of Martha’s Vineyard including Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and Edgartown, and utilized their downtowns, restaurants, farm stands, shorelines, and gardens. By selecting a wide range of settings we helped tell the story of the versatility and wearability of Sylvie’s products, creating lifestyle photographs to both their timeless vintage elegance and modern contemporary design. 

Shored Up Digital: Led by Angela Prout and Marnely Murray Shored Up Digital provides small businesses on Martha’s Vineyard with digital marketing services including social media management, website design, and email marketing–to make sure brands’ digital presences are all ‘shored up.’ With an exceptional level of enthusiasm, dedication, and a collaborative approach, Shored Up Digital is an effective solution for Island clients that want to better connect with their audience online. Beyond digital marketing, Angela and Marnely strive to promote community among local businesses and actively work to promote Island businesses beyond our Vineyard waters. 

What we did: In the spring of 2020 RBP provided Shored Up Digital with photography for their publication the Martha’s Vineyard Dining Sourcebook the first-ever all-inclusive digital printed guide of all of the restaurants and dining destinations on Martha’s Vineyard. When COVID hit Angela and Marnely recognized the challenges it presented to our local businesses, especially restaurants, and in partnership with Sourcebook Productions they developed the book using innovative Flowcode technology.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the finished product and I’m honored to have my photography showcased within the pages of this book. This guide was a gift to our restaurant community, with no restaurant paying to be included, and as a local foodie and champion of food equity, I knew it was the right fit for my photography. Throughout the book, my photographs tell the story of the farms and fields that support our restaurants and contribute to the equitable food system on Martha’s Vineyard.

In addition to the Dining Sourcebook RBP recently partnered with Shored Up Digital to provide photography for six New England-based travel and lifestyle content creators including Shorelines Illustrated, Yankee Magazine, Kristy New EnglandAnnah Todd, Belle of the Ball, and One CrafDIY Girl. These fun and fabulous ladies visited the island to soak up all of the festivities during Christmas in Edgartown this month. 

Beyond shopping Main Street, decorating holiday wreaths, and sipping hot chocolate, Shored Up Digital wanted to ensure that the group had exposure to the rich agricultural roots of Martha’s Vineyard. They organized a private tour with Simon Athearn of Morning Glory Farm. As Simon shared the history of his family farm and the innovative and sustainable practices they pride themselves on, I captured the bloggers and influencers across different locations on the farm, providing valuable content for their audience to better understand the wide range of appeal Martha’s Vineyard has to offer. 

Martha’s Vineyard Oyster Fest: This year marked the inaugural Martha’s Vineyard Oyster Fest (MVOF) a mission-based festival that aims to drive long-term local, regional, and national awareness of Martha’s Vineyard and Massachusetts-farmed oyster and native fish profiles. A portion of the MVOF proceeds went to the Martha’s Vineyard Shell Recovery Partnership which reduces and recycles shell waste on the Island, provides a local source of the shell for shellfish restoration, and improves shellfish production, which in turn improves local water quality.

MVOF was originally scheduled for 2020 and like most things, was forced to cancel, so the anticipation was twice as exciting, and for good reason. The festival director Nevette Previd and I go way back, and she’s an absolute pro at producing Island events. I first started working with Nevette when we both worked to help organize the annual Living Local Festival, an event that allowed attendees to get up close and personal with community organizations committed to food equity and sustainability on Martha’s Vineyard. Additionally, we worked together on Nevette’s Farm. Field. Sea. popup culinary adventures, unique and intimate dinners that showed off the bounty of chef talent and local food. I’ve always loved Nevette’s approach to education and her dedication to promoting local food. 

What we did: For Oyster Fest RBP worked closely with Nevette to thoroughly understand her audience and marketing strategy, taking the time to grasp exactly how she intended to use our images to tell the story of the first festival and shape the narrative to promote future events. 

Over the course of the two-day festival, we documented talks, tastings, demos, and attendee interactions, on-site at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and from above with the use of our drone. From way up high we photographed the fun aboard the historic Shenandoah tall ship (courtesy of the educational nonprofit FUEL) for a dockside event with East Boston Oysters. There we effectively photographed the energy of the event and the purveyors, with the intention of showcasing their products properly. Our final images recall the beauty of the picture-perfect Vineyard days, the reverence of the presenters and producers, and the salty and delicious moments that were savored along the way.

Giving thanks and giving back to the community that allows us to do what we love

One of the most incredible things about living on Martha’s Vineyard is the sense of community we share with our neighbors, friends, summer residents, and even first-time visitors. The Island is full of passionate individuals and dedicated organizations committed to making Martha’s Vineyard a compassionate and charitable place. Over the last thirty years, we have been able to deepen our connections to the people that surround us, enabling us to use our work to help further the missions of local non-profits and drive meaningful change.

Especially in light of the pandemic we’ve become even more appreciative of our Island home and the resilient men and women that have been serving our community in crisis. As photographers we can provide real value for local organizations by highlighting what they do, effectively creating more awareness for their mission while capturing their tireless efforts along the way. Whether it’s providing images that make it into their newsletter, website, or annual report, our photography offers these groups high-quality assets that represent the importance of their work. It’s the least we can do for those that do so much. 

Here’s a look at some of the great work being done by our local non-profits and the ways Randi Baird Photography has given back in support of their selfless acts.

 

Misty Meadows Equine Learning Center

Who they are: Misty Meadows offers inclusive equine-assisted enrichment programs for people of all ages and abilities. They provide a nurturing environment where horses and humans work together to build relationships and overcome adversity. Their programs are a unique blend of teaching based on building mental, emotional, and physical connections with horses using non-verbal communication. Through observation, unmounted groundwork, and riding horses, their teachings go beyond handling horses to encourage critical thinking, empathy, and boundaries. 

What we’ve done for them: We’ve long been inspired by the work that they do with animals, the confidence they build with their students, and the healing properties of the relationships they cultivate. Randi first came to learn about Misty Meadow while photographing their programs, staff, and herd for their website images in 2016. She continued her professional relationship with the organization over the last several years, then began volunteering and joined the Board of Directors in 2020.

Island Grown Initiative

 

Who they are: Island Grown Initiative’s (IGI) mission is to build a regenerative and equitable food system on Martha’s Vineyard that engages, informs, and integrates the community. As a founding member of IGI and former Board President, Randi has been active with the organization since its inception in 2006.  

Amid the pandemic IGI worked harder than ever to increase local food production, reduce and redirect food waste, and expand access to healthy food for all islanders, ensuring all who needed it had access to food during COVID. They continued to operate their mobile market, and they provided thousands of packed lunches every week for school-age children through their free Community Lunch Program.

When school returned, so did IGI, and this year they taught approximately 2,500 children in small groups as part of their education initiatives, as well as ramping up their adult food production and farming workshops. Earlier this year IGI merged with the Island Food Pantry, effectively combining efforts to create a comprehensive community food equity hub to better serve families facing food insecurity, and distributing more than 350,000 pounds of food so far this year. Additionally, Island Grown has already gleaned another 43,000 pounds of produce and provided 32,000 prepared meals for public health outlets, social workers, the Food Pantry, and others to reach homebound elders and those without transportation.

What we’ve done for them: Over the years we’ve provided photography services for the organization’s wide variety of events and programs, including their gleaning program, Food Hub production, Mobile Poultry Processor, and others. Our photography has helped them best illustrate the extent of their work and it has been used across their website, blog, social media, and press. 

*Additionally, to further combat food insecurity RBP donated 10% of our proceeds from 2020 to the Island Food Pantry.

Island Housing Trust

Who they are: The Island Housing Trust (IHT) is a non-profit organization that supports a diverse and vital community on Martha’s Vineyard by creating and sustaining permanently affordable housing solutions, both rental and ownership. Over the past decade, they have sold and rented 132 homes and apartments, providing hope and opportunity to hundreds of low, moderate, and middle-income Island families seeking a dignified solution to their affordable housing needs.


This year IHT showed no signs of slowing down and relentlessly continued their urgent work to end housing insecurity, even amid a pandemic. They completed three large-scale building projects which provided housing for dozens of year-round Island residents while maintaining their mission to design and build simple, durable, healthy, energy-efficient homes that are affordable to purchase, own, and preserve for generations. Additionally, IHT adapted its operations by hosting its first virtual fundraising event (while exceeding its fundraising goals!) and conducted its first remote homeownership lottery via a video conference.

What we’ve done for them: Since its inception, we have regularly provided staff and Board headshots as well as architectural photography to tell the story of IHT’s mission, and the homeowners and tenants that benefit from their work. Our photography has captured final builds, in-process shots, and groundbreakings to help further promote their services to potential donors and recipients while bringing more awareness to the general public.

Vineyard Havens

Who they are: Vineyard Havens is an organization that hosts families of adult and pediatric cancer patients in houses on Martha’s Vineyard for vacations of up to a week. Inspired by her own son’s fight against Wilms tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer, Jeanne DeSanto launched Vineyard Havens in 2019. 

Vacations can heal and no one deserves to rest and relax more than a family in hard times. That’s why Vineyard Havens gives the gift of an all-expenses-paid vacation so families facing the stress and struggles of cancer are able to unwind and reconnect while appreciating the peace, beauty, and tranquility of Martha’s Vineyard. The organization is partnered with the Jimmy Fund Clinic at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which recommends families for the program based on their child’s treatment schedule. 

What we’ve done for them: RBP has offered family portrait sessions to the visiting families, giving them an unforgettable experience and leaving them with timeless mementos they can cherish forever. 

Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS)

Who they are: MV Community Services responds to the needs of the Martha’s Vineyard community, impacting children, teens, seniors, parents, and all who call the Island home. MVCS is made up of clinicians and social workers, psychiatrists, counselors, caseworkers, teachers, and volunteers. For over 50 years, MVCS has offered affordable childcare, accessible mental health care, disability support services, domestic and sexual violence support and so much more. 

What we’ve done for them: RBP donated two days of in-studio family portrait sessions to dozens of recipients of MV Community Services programs, giving them a fun family activity and everlasting memento.

As another way to continue to show our appreciation to our Island community, RBP initiated a Client’s Choice donation program where we donate 10% of our 2021 proceeds to those Martha’s Vineyard non-profits our clients have selected. 

We at RBP wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season! If your means allow, please consider donating to one of our Martha’s Vineyard based non-profits. We hope you are able to share joyous moments with those closest to you and reflect on all there is to be grateful for his season!

Martha’s Vineyard Dining Sourcebook

The latest publication to feature our photography is the Martha’s Vineyard Dining Sourcebook. This project marks the first-ever all-inclusive digital printed guide of all of the restaurants and dining destinations on Martha’s Vineyard. I couldn’t be more pleased with the finished product and I’m honored to have my photography showcased within the pages of this book. This guide was a gift to our restaurant community, with no restaurant paying to be included, and as a local foodie and champion of food equity, I knew it was the right fit for my photography.

Earlier this year I was presented with this woman-led project, which was a partnership with local digital marketing agency Shored Up Digital and Sourcebook Productions, a group that connects offline brands to the online world using next-generation QR code technology. Through innovative Flowcode technology, the Sourcebook gives users real-time information on all things dining in a virtually contactless way by offering up-to-date information straight from the digital destinations of our local restaurants.

As someone who has worked in editorial photography for decades, I knew that by providing my photography I was trusting the design team with their treatment within the book and this premium product did not disappoint. From the quality of the printing to the expertly curated palette pulled from the colors of my images, and the natural backdrops of Martha’s Vineyard, the Dining Sourcebook is a true work of art.

Woven throughout the pages of our beloved eateries the photos tell the story of the Island’s culinary scene and its abundant natural resources. There are pictures of the ample produce and striking farmland that many of our restaurant’s source from, and captivating scenes from the surrounding sea that yield so much fresh seafood straight to our plates.

I have always been passionate about environmental and food-related issues and the photos I selected for the book represent just that. I am a dedicated backyard grower and a strict believer that our health is linked to the sustainability of our land and the food that is grown within it. How lucky are we to now have a publication that encompasses all of our dining options while giving homage to the natural spaces that make it happen? 

Not only is the book beautiful, but it also provides tremendous utility to our Island diners, support to our restaurants and culinary outposts, and gives recognition to Island Grown Initiative and the Island Food Pantry, two organizations near and dear to my heart. 

The Martha’s Vineyard Dining Sourcebook was a true labor of love and a testament to the resounding spirit of Martha’s Vineyard and our resilient restaurateurs, shopkeepers, and food purveyors. Complimentary copies of the book are available at the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce and a digital version of the guide can be accessed at MVY.com/diningsourcebook.

We hope you think it’s as delicious as we do.

Winter Transitions into Spring and What I’m Doing In-Between

I love the transition from winter… In New England, you never really know when “spring” will arrive. Mother Nature likes to keep us on our toes, flirting with the warm weather. Temperatures might dip back down, but those stellar sun-filled days will become more regular, and the longer days get me excited for the warmer months ahead. 

As we settle into spring I eat differently and change up how I’m cooking. I get to introduce more fresh foods and I’m preparing for a whole lot more. Now’s the time I’m tending to my garden, and really trying to optimize it for a bountiful season ahead.

I’m cleaning up my yard, starting seedlings, adding organic matter to enrich the soil, removing leaves, and lining the planting beds and lawns. Each year I try to get rid of more grass and introduce more edible planting beds. This year I’m attempting to plant beans. I love the challenge of trying new things, seeing what works, and adjusting my practices.

As much as the weather allows I spend my weekends outside, determined to shake off the doldrums of winter. Now, newly vaccinated, I’m hopeful. I’m doing all I can to set myself up for success both inside my garden and out and looking forward to an awesome ground season.

Right now I’m enjoying radishes, spring herbs, nettles, scallions, chives, and mustard greens – the greens were overwintered in my unheated greenhouse. I’ve been foraging for watercress and enjoying oh, so many eggs. We recently got new hens and they are laying like crazy. My husband and I are enjoying every beautiful gift they give us. There are a lot of frittatas and egg sandwiches happening around here. My husband Philippe’s favorite breakfast is a bed of greens topped with a 2 minute boiled egg and smashed avocado. He eats it every day, a testament to his Swiss roots.

As the weather continues to go from raw to warm to balmy, there will be more grilling, and I can’t wait to barbeque. I’ll throw just about anything on the grill, drizzled with a little olive oil and topped with salt and pepper–even fruit. As the seasons change my palette does too. I do all I can to savor the freshest ingredients, highlighting their natural flavors and being thankful for another delicious spring.

2020: The Year of the Fearless Female

This year has presented a tremendous amount of challenges, but it has also created a number of opportunities, especially for those with enterprising spirits. From where we’re sitting we’ve noticed a majority of them have been females.

This year has been a historic one for women. It marked the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. We saw our first female vice-president-elect in Senator Kamala Harris, AND for the first time in US history, the president-elect has chosen an all-female senior communication team for the White House press staff. It’s some seriously exciting stuff.

Despite the challenges of 2020, the incredible work and adaptability of fellow fearless females has been inspirational and motivational. At Randi Baird Photography everyone from our bookkeeper to our marketing director, and many of our assistants over the last 20 years have been female, and it’s a tremendous point of pride for us. We work hard to continuously cultivate a supportive network of women to not only advance our business but to empower those that help us do it.

This year we’ve had the opportunity to work with several female-owned businesses that have flourished despite the pandemic. Women that have not been deterred by the challenges, but have risen to them. We’ve worked with ladies that have created new and exciting ventures, or have chosen to adapt and pivot their existing business model to better serve their customers during COVID. 

Here we’re showcasing a handful of those female-owned businesses we’ve had the opportunity to partner with this season.

Martha’s Vineyard Made: This new eCommerce destination was created by Rachel Baumrin of Austin Designs and is intended to be a one-stop-shop for users to purchase unique gifts and curated gift boxes made by Martha’s Vineyard creators and artisans. A concept years in the making, Martha’s Vineyard Made finally came to fruition earlier this fall. Due to the pandemic, local artisan’s markets were canceled, and opportunities for our talented friends and neighbors to sell their wares disappeared. 

As an artisan herself, Rachel knew the toll COVID would take on her colleagues, and took it upon herself to get Martha’s Vineyard Made up and running. Randi Baird Photography was hired to provide lifestyle and product images for the website, and we are honored to help display our Island’s beautiful locally made products. We know great photography is crucial to generating online sales and we’re proud to help further support the efforts of our local makers and creators. 

East Sound Lane: Another local maker, Allie Bernstein McElligott, launched East Sound Lane this year, where she handcrafts natural skincare products on-Island. Allie first came to Randi Baird Photography as a wedding client. We photographed her wedding as well as her father and step-mom. When she launched East Sound Lane she contacted RBP to help with her product photography, and we were honored; nothing makes us happier than returning clients, it’s the ultimate compliment of our work. We were thrilled to hear about her new endeavor, and her minimal, plant-based approach to her ingredients, most of which are grown in her family’s garden, pesticide-free. 

Allie grew up spending summers on the Vineyard at her grandparents house, and inherited a passion for plants, flowers and simple skincare from her mother and grandmother. After a career as a newsroom producer, she decided to quit her job and go to culinary school. During that time, instead of cooking food, she adapted the physics and chemistry of cooking and baking to make her own skincare products.  After a few years as a chef, she decided to follow her passion for skincare and go to esthetician school. Once COVID hit her path was clear, and East Sound Lane was born. 

Martha’s Vineyard Escapes: For brides and grooms that wanted to get married in 2020, COVID obviously presented a number of challenges. Instead of rescheduling to 2021, and risking more unforeseen limitations, some couples decided to tie the knot anyway.  Many of them enlisted the help of Martha’s Vineyard Escapes, owned by the dynamic duo of Carol Bliss Furr and Donna Wilmarth. 

This year RBP worked with Carol, who has an innate talent for planning, organizing, and execution, plus years of managerial and leadership positions in business. When COVID hit Carol’s proven resourcefulness and versatility allowed her to continue to produce fabulous events that were still meaningful and especially unique. 

In one of our most memorable weddings of the summer, Carol pulled off a wedding for Trent and Rhonda with 225 (virtual!) guests at Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs. We spent hours traveling to iconic locations with this genuine couple, celebrating their love all across Martha’s Vineyard. There might have been less fanfare and far fewer in-person spectators than usual, but there was still so much love and even more intimacy. Thanks to Carol’s core values and exquisite style we were able to share some slightly revised (but still very much magical!) affairs for her clients.

Donnelly and Company: Expanding a business in a new market is tough stuff, made even more complicated by a pandemic. But it didn’t deter Pauline Donnelly, a longtime Boston based real estate agent, from bringing her company to Martha’s Vineyard. Pauline is another fearless female we have had the pleasure of working with over the last several months and we respect her tenacity and extreme professionalism.

Like Randi Baird Photography, Pauline is all about creating a meaningful impact in her work and maintaining a positive culture. We provided headshots and architectural photography for Donnelly and Company and look forward to continuing our work with Pauline and her staff as she flourishes on-Island.

 

Alice Williams Interiors: Alice Williams makes it her mission to create beautiful living environments that fit and reflect each client, their style, and their home. She approaches each project as a full collaboration with her client’s tastes, needs, and resources while adding her personal touches and her discerning professional eye that her clients have come to trust her for. 

We can attest first hand to her collaborative approach. We first met Alice on an architectural photography shoot where we were hired to capture a historic Squibnocket Ridge oceanside home, aerial shots from the outside as well as the entire inside of the home, which had just completed a total interior renovation. Alice brought a carload of props to carefully style and consider each shot, and he worked seamlessly together as a true collaboration.

As Alice says “I believe interiors should be sensitive to the architecture of the house and its surrounding environment, while simultaneously being an expression of its inhabitant’s styles”  and we couldn’t agree more.

We look forward to working alongside these enterprising females in 2021 and remain hopeful for the new year. As 2020 comes to a close, remember to embrace new opportunities and remain grateful for this year’s silver linings.