Jena Carlin Cooks up a Herbaceous Book with Food Stylist Jim Rude

Dec 27, 2018
Photographer Spotlight

Photographer Jena Carlin partnered with Jim Rude to create "Herbs: For Flavor, Health, and Natural Beauty." Jena was eager to photograph herbs because of their unique textures and shapes, and after working many long days and nights on a short deadline, Jena and Jim produced this beautiful cookbook.

Photographer Jena Carlin's cookbook cover for Herbs

What was involved in planning and preproduction?

We made a sample chapter on parsley. The Heavy Metal Oatmeal Smoothie was the first image we took for this book.

Why did you decide to focus on herbs for this cookbook?

I suggested Herbs to Jim because I think they have the most beautiful texture and shapes to photograph. I just envisioned their beauty shots for each chapter opener and could not wait to do it.

Did you and Jim style the food and props or did you have stylists assist you?

Jim is a food stylist.  He also developed the recipes and wrote for all of the chapters except the home and beauty chapter, which I wrote.  I took care of the photography, set styling, and prop styling.

Did you face any challenges with this project? If so, how did you overcome them?

Some challenges along the way mostly came from the quick turn around time. We only had four months to shoot, retouch and write the rest of the book after our pitch was accepted.  Jim and I took every opportunity to get together to shoot.  We would spend nights after working for other clients fitting in a couple recipes.  Even on a day we had models we hired the makeup artist, Melissa Tomfohrde, to come over and we took our photo as well as three recipes!  Jim had the corn chowder already made, and he made the rosemary turkey burgers and bacon thyme figs while I was getting my makeup done.  I took pauses form my makeup to prop style and take the photos.  Looking back we were tired, but was an excited experience.

Do you have a favorite image or images that you took for this cookbook?

I do have a lot of favorite images from this book. One that comes to mind is the Fresh Sweet Corn and Blueberry Salad.  I love pairing overhead and 3/4 view images together. The ingredients graphically lined up next to the full plate and the side view with that delicate arugula shows off the ingredients well.  Not to mention that brilliant blue.  This salad was amazing and is also one of my favorite recipes in our book.


Co-Author, Co-Creative Director, Recipe Developer, and Food Stylist: Jim Rude

Cover and Page Design: Priscilla Chaves

Editors: Jessica Romrell and Erica Myres

Hair and Makeup Artist: Melissa Tomfohrde

Publisher: Cedar Fort

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