How much is too much? This is what I start panicking about when eating these "churros". No joke! Especially because it's hard to substitute desserts made with good ol' flour. Churros are a traditional Mexican dessert staple, usually served at the Christmas table. I didn't come from a dessert-enthusiastic family, but your girl does love some churros. These are light, 

crunchy with just the right amount of sweetness.

I ran into these churro "chips," if you will, in the Whole Foods snack aisle, immediately intrigued. I read the heartwarming story of how this family started their family business. It turns out one of the siblings suffered tremendous autoimmune maladies. The family pulled together, and they all changed how they ate (there are seven of them; hence their company name, "Siete Foods," and a new mission was born. They wanted to share their new health-conscious, gluten-free versions of traditional 

Mexican-American favorites. I, too, have had some issues that came from gluten and since stopped eating gluten food, among other foods— I miss you, beer. Thank you, Siete Foods, for bringing our classic Mexican flavors into gluten-free options; you see me! 

I loved this story so much that I used them for today's test shoot. It's brown food, always challenging. Also, a color that attracts me because of its sometimes glistening golden hues. For today's subject, I wanted to lean into its traditional story and mix it with a bit of modernity. I think by using traditional Mexican props (Palomar tea set, and bowl, more on that further down), I dialed into more of this subject's historical and cultural details. I still need to hone in on the "modern" part, but I feel

It came pretty close mostly because of the darker surface I used and the minimal use of props.

I also set out to create a commercial food scene different from those I have made previously. I tend to focus more on the story and romanticize the atmosphere rather than shooting a ready-for-tv commercial product shoot. I want to create an image that tells a short story, not a romantic escapade. For a commercial shoot, I feel the story should be concise, straightforward, and ultra-focused on the product itself. Incredibly this was more difficult than you might think. I couldn't pinpoint what made my images resemble a drama instead of a feel-good family adventure. Was, is composition (too sparse), the lighting (too dark), props (too traditional)? 

Naturally, you end up reconfiguring and shaping the image until you get what you want. What is that special spark that some images have? Why are some images so clean and intentional? That is what I am after, images that are articulate, intelligent, and romantic. 


In today's shoot, I set a limit for how long I would shoot, and I didn't indulge in beating a dead horse as I often do on test shoots. I wanted to limit how long it took me to get "the shot." Second I wanted to create rather than to create perfection. How much is too much? This thought spills onto shooting food too. The overanalyzing, second-guessing, and double making sure until my hearts' content or until the shot turns into something completely different than was planned is what kills next week's shoot. That will all have me so spent it will be harder for me to put myself through that emotional ringer, and I will procrastinate even planning next week's shoot. I am leaving my setup as is so I can quickly return to it next week. And that is the routine I want to carry forward weekly (universe, are you listening)? 

After reviewing the images, I returned to my preferred angle (overhead). In this shoot, I tried to recreate the airy and spacious feeling I get from natural light. I am still working on this lighting formula, but I am coming pretty close. Next time I will shoot with my larger octagon softbox (Godox 120cm / 47.2in Portable Octagon Softbox).

Also used in this shoot is a special Palomar tea set. This type of pottery was made famous in the '60s by American artist Ken Edwards, who studied his art in Japan before stationing himself in Tonala, Jalisco. The pottery has a distinctive blue color and is sometimes decorated with figurines like swallows, fish, flowers, and other little creatures. This was a gift from a dear sister from another mother, who is from the area where this pottery was handcrafted. She inherited these from her family's treasures and gifted them to me. I have some other pieces of his, and they are indeed gems. My family is also from that area, and if you know me, you know I'm infatuated with all things Japanese. These pieces encompass so much of how I Identify as a Mexican-American fascinated with Japanese culture.