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Welcome Aboard

July 12, 2014

As usual its mad in the studio at the moment. We finished shooting Christmas in June for longstanding client 3663 and are continuing brand building with Clarks Maple Syrup, Ludlow Food Centre, Cnwd, Travelodge and Roberts Country Fayre while welcoming a host of new clients onboard and some really exciting projects.

A huge welcome goes out to new clients The Parkhouse Restaurant, Castell Howell Foods, Penderyn Whisky, Bistrot Pierre, Concha Y Toro and Ticco Foods. I’ve done some lovely work with all these guys and they’ve all been great to work with.


Le Bistrot Pierre

Le Bistrot Pierre

Ticco Foods Ltd "The Italian Cake Company"

Ticco Foods Ltd “The Italian Cake Company”

Castell Howell Foods

Castell Howell Foods


The Park House Restaurant

The Park House Restaurant


Concha y Toro and Penderyn Whiskey

Concha y Toro and Penderyn Whiskey

As a result the studio is now booked out non stop until mid September and and we’ve all started doing Saturday shifts to make sure that every client receives the detailed care and attention it requires to deliver amazing images. I’m knackered but its great!



Smashing new boundaries

July 12, 2014

I love studio photography because its always different and there are always new challenges to solve.

I recently stepped into the breach for European importer of Chillian wines, Concha y Toro to provide a solution to a problem it had with the images for its white wines. Its marketing department wanted an image to show the wine emerging from smashed ice. Previous digital agencies had attempted to do this using CGI but the results just weren’t hitting the mark.

In comes super Chef James Sommerin with a big bag of sugar alcohol Isomalt. More often used as a sugar substitute in restaurants, James turned it into huge transparent ‘ice’ sheets’ that we were able to smash and photograph with the wine underneath. The huge advantage of using the Isomalt is that it doesn’t melt under the studio lights in the way that sugar – and of course ice would. We were able to get super crisp edges and shards that look like the real deal. A great project to work on and everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

Ice Wines

Building the Team

June 28, 2014

A big shout out goes to the latest member of the team – Chef André Moore.

André is a chef of many talents and brings to the studio more than 23 years of experience of cooking in some the UK’s finest restaurants, from Cardiff, Scotland, Dorset and London. Originally trained by our very own Colin Gray, Andre went on to become head chef for a number of high profile hotels and restaurants, with large teams under his guidance.

Chef André also brings a whole new dimension to the amazing team. An expert in sports nutrition, André has worked with loads of international elite sports people and teams, designing and cooking specific dishes that not only taste like they have come from a Michelin starred restaurant but meet the exact nutritional needs of the individual.

Its early doors yet but he is already busy working on a host of clients for me and proving to be a great asset. He’s brilliant at thinking around the issues of how you make a delicious dish tell its story to the camera and we have come up with some amazing images together.

A fantastic addition to the team and as an occasional lunchtime treat he makes an amazing Caribbean Goat Curry – what’s not to like?

Chef André Moore

Chef André Moore

Sausages Anyone?

June 4, 2014

Introducing the newest (and certainly the smallest) member of the studio team – Jackson our miniature sausage dog.


Adding to the ever growing wealth of talent here at HJ Photography, Jackson’s roles will include; client liaison, security, waste control management and foam chewing. Telephone training has not gone well but he is great at providing warm cuddles and wet licks as and when required.

Already he is proving a big hit with the clients, who all seem far more impressed with the dog than they do with all the new camera equipment that I’ve just invested heavily in! And who could blame them. He is cute.

HJP Staff Canteen Opens this Week

May 13, 2014

For years now I’ve had a long trail of ‘visitors’ that seem to magically appear around lunchtime. Word seems to have got around that the studio is a reliable place for scrounging some fine food and drink.

While its nice to be so popular I am delighted that this week will see the opening of the James Sommerin Restaurant with Rooms in Penarth – or the HJP staff Canteen as I like to call it. Now they’ll all have a place that they can find the same amazing food they’re used too, but now they can have dinner as well as lunch. It’s also great for all those who are yet to have tried James’ amazing food. And yes it definitely tastes as good as it looks.

Good luck James and Louise!


Estate to Plate

April 18, 2014

Imagine ordering a burger and knowing that the beef comes from cattle in a field that you can see out the window, the bun is baked on site and the pickles are made in the building next door. Now imagine how great that tastes. I’ve been in the studio and out on location recently with Ludlow Food Centre and its café the Ludlow Kitchen. These guys combine farming, food production and retailing all in the grounds of the Earl of Plymouth’s 8,000 acre Oakly Park Estate. It’s food with some serious provenance.

The name of the game has been to build a library of stock photography that instantly tells the story of how the food literally goes from estate to plate. So I’ve been pulling out a variety of kit to capture all the processes to their very best advantage. I’ve been in the field with the cows, encouraging anarchy between the jam makers, photographing coffee from raw green beans to perfect flat white, through to preparing products to perfection in the studio with Captain Col. The Centre now has a wealth of image resource at its fingertips so it can react at speed to a media request or plan the next part of its marketing strategy.

Small Selection of the recent photographic collateral created for Ludlow Food Centre.

Small Selection of the recent photographic collateral created for Ludlow Food Centre.

Food Photographer of the Year, Short-listed again for 2014

March 5, 2014

I’ve been short-listed for the 2014 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Awards. These awards only started two years ago but they are now going global and receive thousands of photographs coming from 152 countries such as India and Guatemala. These are then short-listed down to just 100 by the judging panel. The judges include Yotam Ottolenghi, the London-based Israeli chef, Donna Hay, the Australian food stylist, Andrew Scrivani in New York, food photographer, Sanjeev Kapoor, the Indian culinary superstar and David Loftus, Jamie Oliver’s photographer.

Everything now stays top secret until the end of April when my photo (in the ‘Food in its place’ category) will be exhibited along with the other 99 that made the cut, in the Mall Galleries in London. The winners are then announced in a winners’ reception that last year was hosted by Jay Rayner and is sponsored by Tattinger – which always makes for a good evening!

I’m sworn to secrecy on my short-listed entry for this year, but had the honour of being a finalist in 2012 with these images:


Perfect Pancakes – The Masterchef Way

March 3, 2014

Things were all getting a bit sticky back in the studio recently when two of the Masterchef 2013 boys came over to see what they could do with Clarks Maple Syrup. Larkin Cen and Dale Williams cooked up a storm creating some delicious food using the syrup as the key ingredient. Larkin made the best rice pudding ever and a rather nice Maple chicken, while Dale went for a scrummy baked Camembert, but stole the show with the yummiest, stickiest, pancakes I’ve had in a while.
My challenge was capturing the star of the show (syrup) at its glossiest best before it melted into each dish. Not easy. The pics are now being used as part of Clarks Maple Syrup’s national PR and marketing campaign and are lining up to be printed in some of the UK’s best known glossies such as ‘Hello.’

If you fancy having a go yourself then some of the recipes used on the day can be found at

Blas Y Tir

December 3, 2013

The studio was packed out again last month when we filmed the new winter television advert for Blas Y Tir vegetables to be aired on ITV throughout December.  

Blas Y Tir, or ‘taste of the land’ is the flagship brand for Puffin Produce and is available in all supermarkets. Earlier this year Puffin Produce decided to invest in their first TV campaign to spotlight their very delicious Pembrokeshire early new potatoes. Working with Elevator Design and Nerys Howell we shot the film footage along with stills for the poster campaign in early May. This is about six weeks prior to harvest as Puffin Produce had force grown a special early batch of early potatoes in a poly tunnel, just for us. It was a busy and super productive couple of days and by the end of it we had more than six hours of footage – that then got edited down to produce the 20 second advert. The ad aired on ITV throughout the summer and sales of Blas Y Tir Pembrokeshire potatoes rose by 570%. How’s that for a return on investment?

I’m progressively doing more and more film making and I was delighted to be asked again to film Puffin’s second TV Advert (for the Winter campaign) which gets it’s first airing tonight during the Emmerdale Ad break. It was the same team for the Winter campaign; food consultant Nerys Howel worked hard cooking and styling to ensure that all the produce was the true stars of the show, while Steve Braham from Elevator Design art directed and made the tea.


Anuga 2013

September 25, 2013

This week I’ve been back in the studio with Super Chef Captain Colin shooting all things Welsh and wonderful, on behalf of the Welsh Government’s International Division. Captain Colin and I have been getting ready for the biggest food and drink trade show in the world – Anuga. It only comes around every two years and draws in massive numbers of visitors to Cologne. Its a fab place to see all the latest trends and themes in food and drink.

Captain Col was tasked with creating a set of recipes to showcase some of the delicious Welsh produce which will be on show in Cologne and together we shot them in the studio.  Later this week they will be produced as recipe cards to be given away at the show. So from chocolate truffle with Welsh whisky liquor and vanilla salt, Sea salt spiced sous vide salmon, butter crushed new potatoes, lemon and chilli butter with a caramelised maple syrup, to cockles, laverbread and lamb, lamb, lamb – it’s all good. As usual, I ate the lot.

I’ve included some of Colin’s recipes for those who fancy giving it a go. If you do have a go at the recipes please try and make them look as nice as these.


Milk pancakes with maple syrup and mixed berries

1 cup all-purpose flour, 230g
2 tablespoons sugar, 30g
2 teaspoons baking powder, 10g
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, 230ml
2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, 30g
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 15ml
Assorted toppings, such as butter, maple syrup, confectioners’ sugar, honey, jams, preserves, sweetened whipped cream, tropical fruits, berries or chocolate syrup

Preheat oven to 200 degrees; have a baking sheet or heatproof platter ready to keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter, and egg. Add dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened.

Over a medium heat place a large frying pan preferably nonstick or cast-iron. Lightly brush a thin film of oil over the surface of the pan with a pastry brush or paper towel.

Spoon 1 large tablespoon of batter in to the pan for each pancake, leaving room for them to spread a little.

Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and most have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and keep warm in oven. Continue with more oil and remaining batter. (You’ll have 12 to 15 pancakes.) Serve warm, with desired toppings.
Creamy scrambled eggs with cockles and laverbread

Ingredients, serves 1
1 Tablespoon laverbread, 15g
1 Tablespoon cooked cockles, 15g
2 large eggs
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 Tablespoon Welsh butter, 15g
1 Tablespoon Welsh double cream, 15ml
Toast (if desired)
In a small non stick saucepan melt the butter over a medium heat.
Drain and rinse the cockles well, pat dry with a paper towel.
In a bowl, beat eggs with 1 tablespoons water; season with salt and pepper. Pour into pan; cook, scraping bottom frequently with a flexible heatproof spatula, until just set, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the laverbread, cockles and cream and heat to warm through without over cooking the eggs
Transfer to a plate. Serve with toast, if desired.
Yoghurt pot with berry compote and granola

Ingredients, serves 1
2 Tablespoon fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, red currants), 30g
2 Tablespoon Granola, 30g
250ml yoghurt

In a small pan warm the berries gently just so they release a little juice, put to one side to cool. You can omit this stage if you prefer the berries a little sharper
In the base of a glass or sundae dish place the granola
Top with the yoghurt and finish with the berry compote
Sea salt spiced sous vide salmon, butter crushed new potatoes, lemon and chilli butter and caramelised maple syrup

Ingredients, serves 4
4 x 60g portions of fresh salmon fillet, scaled
25g Spiced sea salt
20g Caster sugar
250g New potatoes
25g Welsh butter for the potatoes
10g Freshly chopped curly parsley (5g for the potatoes, 5g for the butter)
50g Welsh butter for the chilli butter
1 Small red chilli
1 Lemon, finely zested
150g Maple syrup

Combine the sea salt, sugar, generously season the fish fillets and leave to marinate for 2 hours in the fridge
Place the salmon in a vacuum bag and seal
In a water bath set at 46°C and set the timer for 45 minutes, once the water reaches temperature add the salmon and start the timer
Bring a pan salted water to the boil and add the washed potatoes, cut into even pieces if large, add a pinch of salt and boil until tender
Drain and gently mash the potatoes with the butter and chopped parsley, season with cracked black pepper and keep warm
In a small saucepan heat the maple syrup until it caramelises slightly, remove from the heat and keep warm
Cut the chilli in half lengthways and remove the seeds, chop the flesh very finely and add to the 50g of soft butter with the lemon zest, 5g chopped parsley and some cracked black pepper
To serve – remove the salmon from the water bath (it can stay in the water bath at 46°C until required after the timer has gone off if required), brush with the caramelised maple syrup. Place the potatoes into 4 rings and press to form rough potato cakes on the plate. Place the salmon fillet on the potato and top with a roundel of chilli butter, blow torch or place under a grill to quickly start the butter to melt.
Slow braised Welsh Lamb shoulder with rosemary pearl barley risotto and basil pesto
Ingredients, serves 6-8
For the braised lamb shoulder: For the risotto:
Shoulder of Welsh lamb approx. 1.5kg * 150g Pearl barley
1 Onion, 1 Carrot, 1 Clove garlic, 1 Leek, 1 Stick celery * 150g Double cream
1 Sprig rosemary, 1 bay leaf and small bunch of thyme * Sprig rosemary
Lamb stock to cover * 50g Mature Welsh Cheddar
Salt and pepper * Chopped fresh curly parsley
Water to cover
To serve: Basil pesto


Braise the lamb shoulder with the chopped onion, carrot, leek, celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and seasoning in the lamb stock, in a low oven 130°C for at least 3 hours
Remove the lamb from the stock and cool slightly
Strain the cooking stock, reserve about 150ml for the risotto and place the remainder in a large saucepan, boil rapidly to reduce to a syrupy consistency, whisk in a little cold butter, adjust the seasoning and put to one side
Once the lamb is cool enough to handle but still warm shred the meat removing any fat and sinew, place the shredded meat in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and wrap into a log in cling film, rolling up tight with several layers and twisting the ends to make a neat sausage shape, place in the fridge to set, preferably overnight or at least 3 hours
To make the pearl barley risotto – boil the lamb stock and add the pearl barley, cook until tender and all the stock is almost absorbed, add the cream and grated parmesan cheese and finish with the chopped parsley and rosemary, adjust the seasoning, keep warm
Cut the lamb shoulder log into portions, leaving the cling film on each portion and place in a little stock in the oven to re-heat, once fully reheated remove the cling film and carefully serve on top of the pearl barley risotto with the reduced pan juices around the plate
For additional flavour the top of each piece of lamb can be spread with a little Dijon mustard and topped with herb flavoured breadcrumbs that have been gently fried in butter
Finally drizzle a good amount of basil pesto around the plate and enjoy the flavour combinations

Traditional roast Welsh Lamb, braised potatoes and roast gravy
Ingredients, serves 8
1 Leg of Welsh lamb or best end or rump
1 Onion, carrot, stick celery, leek
Sprig thyme, bay leaf and clove of garlic, sprig rosemary
Lamb stock
For the potatoes:
500g Old potatoes
100g Onion
500ml Chicken or vegetable stock
30g Butter, melted
Seasoning – salt & pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C
Roughly chop the vegetables and place in a roasting tin with the herbs, garlic and leg of lamb – if using a rack or rump seal the outer surface in hot oil before placing in the roasting tray
Baste the leg with a little oil and season well with salt and cracked black pepper, place in the hot oven for 40 minutes until well coloured
Meanwhile peel and finely slice the potatoes and onion, do not place in water or wash the potatoes after slicing. In a large bowl add salt and pepper. Place into a casserole dish arranging the top layer decoratively and barely cover with the stock, brush with the melted butter
Turn down the heat to 160°C and place the leg onto the potatoes to finish roasting for a further 60 minutes or so depending on the size of the leg, allow 20 minutes per ½ kilo as a guide. By cooking the lamb on top of the potatoes the juices provide extra flavour and it becomes a one pot dish. If using the rump or rack adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the lamb is kept pink and moist. In all cases remove from the oven and wrap in foil and keep warm for at least 15 minutes before carving to allow the joint to rest
The roasting tray with the vegetables can be de-glazed with a little lamb stock, re-boiled and strained to give a nice roast gravy to accompany the lamb
Chocolate Truffle with Welsh Whisky liqueur and vanilla sea salt

Ingredients, serves 4
70ml Full fat milk
125g Dark chocolate
300ml Welsh double cream
1 Tablespoon Welsh Whisky liqueur, 15ml
Pinch Vanilla salt

In a small pan gently boil the milk
Grate or roughly chop the chocolate into a mixing bowl and pour over the boiling milk
Mix well with a whisk to a smooth glossy thick sauce, add the cream liqueur and put to one side to cool
In a clean cold bowl lightly whip the cream so it is softly peaking but falls back on itself slightly, do not over whip
Slowly fold in the chocolate sauce with the whipped cream and add a pinch of vanilla salt
Spoon into a plastic container and chill in the refrigerator to set for a couple of hours
Using a spoon or ice cream scoop dipped into hot water, scoop balls of truffle and use as desired, either as a dessert in its own right or as a garnish for other desserts such as lemon tarte etc, finish with a pinch of vanilla sea salt and a sprig of mint.


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