Sweetened with honey (or maple syrup) and made with Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour, this 1-bowl chocolate cake is moist, tender and topped with a beautiful whippy ganache-style frosting. Served with a glass of almond milk, you may never want to eat anything but this sweet, simple cake for the rest of your life.Read More
Want to build a thriving creative freelance career? Then it’s time to rethink the way you’re making money. Here’s why I decided to stop creating for money only, start freely sharing my photography with Unsplash under the Creative Commons license, and how it dramatically boosted my income.
One of the biggest questions I get asked by people just entering the industry of food and photography is how do I get jobs? How do I get my work seen & shared? And lately I’ve been getting this one a lot: how do I become the type of photographer magazines hire to shoot their covers?
From Unknown to Globally Recognized
3 years ago, I was a scrappy work-from-home food blogger. Felt lucky to have patched together a freelance career. Was certain life would always been a frenetic hustle from one job to the next.
But then, I stopped clamoring for cash and accidentally stumbled onto an approach that changed everything: I stopped thinking in terms of scarcity and started sharing some of my work…for free.
The Most Unpopular Decision I Ever Made
When I first found Unsplash, it was a simple one-page feed full of hi-res photos anyone could use for free. I stumbled upon the site while building a website for a friend, and thought it was so profound. Because unlike most free photo sites, these photos were gorgeous.
For someone like my friend, a single mama with big dreams but a limited budget, being able to access photos as beautiful as her vision was game-changing. She could create everything she needed for her brand without breaking the bank. All because a few gifted photogs willingly shared some of their work.
Wow, I thought. I am so grateful for this resource. So grateful, in fact, I want to share, too.
So I started uploading my photos to Unsplash.
Shortly after I began publishing to Unsplash I received this email from someone who had come across my work:
“ I just heard about Unsplash and their "business model" of giving away photography for FREE! If we as photographers get into the habit of giving away our work for free, how long do you think we'll be able to make a living at what we love??? Exactly what do you think you're accomplishing by contributing to a business that so totally does NOT value our hard work, experience, training, education, expertise, etc. What you're doing is devaluing photography for everyone and hurting an entire industry and those who rely on us for excellent photography. Shame on you!”
Clearly the idea of sharing photography for free is controversial. It does take time, money, resources to build and fuel a creative career. Having clients and brands respect that process and value that work is the primary way we freelancers make cash-money.
However, I never saw Unsplash as a way to put myself out of work. I saw it as a way to reclaim my art as a gift, an offering. A way to join a community of creators and say “look at all the beautiful things we can make together.” #communityovercompetition
So I decided to ignore this email and trust my own gut for how to grow my brand. And how to prioritize the values that are important to me.
You will never reach your destination if you stop & throw stones at every dog that barks.” ~Winston Churchill
Since receiving that email, I have received hundreds of emails from aspiring creators, designers, web developers, and authors, thanking me for the photos I share. I’ve read stories about how my photos have been featured in web designs, book covers, news articles, and even iTunes app features.
I wasn’t just giving away my hard work for free. To me, I was marketing, sharing my work, and perhaps even helping new creatives build their brands and products.
And that was enough.
Except that’s not the end of the story.
Because those aren’t the only emails I’ve been getting.
After 2 years of sharing on Unsplash, my work is now downloaded more than 30,000 times per week and viewed by an average of 22 million fans monthly. The site has helped me build a name for myself, and has become a top referral site for potential new clients.
Turns out, when brands see your work and get to know your name, you’re the first one they call when they need something custom created.
Sharing is Smart Marketing
Every week, I now receive dozens of emails from clients who want to work with me because they found me on Unsplash. Here’s one I was extra excited about. Because there are job out there you didn’t even know you were being considered for. But if your portfolio is out there, waiting to be found, it’s possible you may just be in the running for big gigs:
Hey Brooke, Art Director for Delicious Living Magazine here…we really want to start  off on the right foot …and that means collaborating with you! Our goal is to commission and produce our all our covers…And after reviewing a wide range of artists, we know that you're the perfect fit for the job. Looking forward to a prosperous working collaboration.
Two weeks later, I was in contract to shoot 12 magazine covers for a major publication. And it all happened because 2 years ago, I had an abundance of photos and simply wanted to share.
So, if you’re asking how to get your work seen and shared, how to become a big-named professional, how to reach that ultimate goal of magazine covers or published work, my one piece of advice is to share. Put your beautiful creations out into the world, and NEVER let anyone tell you that your art doesn’t belong there. Create abundantly, and take the time to nourish your art. Don’t wait for a client or a job to begin creating. Start now. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll find clients and companies who need what you are creating.
DID YOU KNOW I JUST LAUNCHED AN ALL NEW DocuVlog?
Discover what A Day in the Life of A Food Photographer is like. Go inside my studio, visit me behind-the-scenes and see what I've got cookin' up. WATCH SEASON 1 of LOVE, LARK NOW.
Wanna nerd out even more? Find tricks, tips and answers 24/7 in my Food Blogging, Photography & Videography Facebook Group. It's free to join!
LEARN FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
You’re just 90-minute away from taking the best, most beautiful food photos of your life. Click here to enroll in my 90-Minute Food Photography Crash Course and kickstart your professional career as a foodtographer.
GET A FREEBIE
Download hi-res images from my archives for FREE at Unsplash.
Plant-based and paleo-friendly Bob’s Red Mill cassava flour turns this recipe for DIY Rosemary Paleo Crackers into the BEST DARNED gluten-free, grain-free crackers you’ve ever made! PLUS, how to make this perfect Rainbow Veggie Platter and win every party ever.Read More
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I’m going to be really straightforward — I am not a cookie person. I’m not much of a sweets person in general. That’s why my mind was blown when I made these cookies, and literally could not stop eating them. Candied pecans are always a winner, and the rosemary adds such a fun twist. Your entire home will smell like the holidays while these bake, and your friends and family will not be disappointed when you bring these to a gathering this season. The best part is how amazingly simple they are.
And stay to the end, because Santé Nuts is spreading the love this season with a giveaway! You’ll be able to catch details on that below.
The Secret Ingredients
There’s really two special things that makes these cookies stand out.
The first is rosemary, which…I mean…you really can’t go wrong with rosemary. It adds this subtle fragrance and flavor to the cookies, and really does a great job bringing out the deliciously sweet flavors.
The second is the candied pecans from Santé Nuts. Oh boy…let me tell you. I had to grab a second bag of these for the cookies, because I realized me and my children had already wholeheartedly consumed the first bag in a matter of minutes. I like to imagine, that in my paradise world, everything I eat tastes like these pecans. They are sweet, buttery, and dangerously addictive.
Put the two together, and you have some seriously killer cookies.
Simple & Sweet
Rosemary and candied pecan shortbread cookies sounds like a fancy pastry you’d pick up at a French bakery, but these are actually the most simple cookies you will ever make.
The candied pecans from Santé Nuts are already prepared to perfection. It’s as simple as chopping them up and adding them to your cookies. No worrying about the sticky, messy, molten hot sugar lava that comes with candying nuts by yourself.
And with a total of 5 ingredients, you’ll be finished before you can “accidentally” eat another entire bag of candied pecans.
Get The Recipe
4 Ingredient Rosemary & Candied Pecan Shortbread Trees
1 cup salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Mix butter and sugar together until well combined. Add in flour and stir until barely incorporated. Don’t overmix. Gently fold in candied pecans and rosemary.
Roll dough out to about 1/4 inches thick and use cookie cutters to cut out your favorite holiday shapes.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, on a nonstick baking sheet, just until the edges are barely brown.
Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool before decorating.
3 Ingredient Flood Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (try almond for another fun twist)
2 - 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
Mix until well combined. Outline on cooled cookies and allow a couple minutes to harden. Zig zag in center of cookie and allow icing to spread to fully cover. Decorate as desired.
Santé Nuts is spreading the holiday cheer this season with a giveaway! For all the details, head on over to my Instagram @brookelark to get all the deets.
Naked cakes are all the rage. It's this absolutely incredible multi-layered cake where the icing isn't the star, the actual cake is. A cake that goes easy on the frosting, but not so easy on the toppings. An absolutely stunning pile of macarons, petals, berries, and more will make this cake the star wherever you take it.Read More
What better way to celebrate the fading days of summer than with a savory heart-shaped tart loaded to the gills with vine-ripened tomatoes, creamy goat cheese and a drizzle of sweet honey.Read More
All the freshest produce of summer, plopped into one pretty salad with grilled chicken and a light champagne vinaigrette. As delicious as it is pretty.
Make a no-bake dinner in minutes with this avocado boat snackboard dinner. A giant platter full of fresh cut avocados, and all the stuff you'd want to stuff them with. Hummus, chicken salad, fireroasted corn, tomatoes and soft-boiled eggs. Perfect for casual weeknight dinners, this big plate is also perfect for parties and gatherings with favorite friends.Read More
How do you find a creative style that’s all yours? In today’s episode of The Creative Sherpa, Brooke Lark spills the secret on finding your pro flow.Read More
So you've heard video is "the next big thing" for bloggers. But you're already so busy with social media, photography, client management and generally keeping your head above water, you wonder if it's worth it. Because video can be time-consuming, a whole new learning curve.
What you've heard is true. Video IS the next big thing. But approaching it strategically will help you tackle it productively.
Some of the chicest social media accounts you'll see have something in common. Those overhead shots that give you a birds-eye view of a casually put together arrangement. They’re called flat lays, and they’ll make your Instagram feed look fabulous. The good news? You don’t need a fancy camera to get started.Read More
Do you always struggle with propping your food photos? Can't figure out what to put in the shot? Forget to prop & don't have time to set up a great tabletop?
That used to be me! I would create a gorgeous dish, then throw it on a table, frantically remembering that I needed some props, hurrying and grabbing random things, tossing them here and there. Then snap the photo. And what I'd be left with was a lot of photos that didn't quite make sense.Read More
Colors, shapes, texture – a food photographer strives to capture the pure essence of food. Our goal is to make you want to reach right in and grab a bite. Hungry yet? Okay, our job is done.Read More
This creative DIY backdrop hack will have your food photography looking professional...for just around $20!Read More
Get more clicks, shares and comments on your Facebook and Instagram posts with these 5 simple tricks! It works!Read More
You can't build a creative business without clients. And you can't get clients without killer pitch emails that open doors and close deals. Here's how to write them.Read More
Eat your quinoa with shiny, happy citrus. It's what clever people do. And we both know how clever YOU are. Click to grab the recipe. Prepare for serious smiling.Read More
Paleo Power! Keep your healthy food resolutions going strong with this seriously insane snackable. Cauliflower hummus & Simple Mills crackers, so you legume-avoiders can enjoy your noshin' and stick to your diet, too.
CLICK TO PRINT THE RECIPE, my fellow cavehumans.
Whether you're shooting with an iPhone or dSLR, these 7 tricks will instantly upgrade your shots.Read More
Sweet roasted carrots, pretty purple kale and a lemon-tahini maple dressing so good, you'll be glad it's detox time.Read More