Red Neck Wine Pairing Experiment


Ribs, fried chicken, corn dogs… all this so-called “red neck” foods are delicious but can they go with wine?

Here is my proposal: send me your ideas of “red neck” foods and your suggestion for a wine pairing.

I will gather some friends and film their reactions to your suggestions.

6 Halloween Candy and Wine Pairings Rated from “Rancid” to “Pretty OK”

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Welcome to the first ever Better Booze Hound Panel.  This little group of family and friends gathered in my home to taste some remarkable pairings.

Before and after Halloween I usually have some candy kicking around.  It is either ubiquitous like those little packets of M&Ms or a candy that no one wants to eat like Candy Corn.

Here’s the deets:

This wasn’t too bad.

Wine before Caramel: uncomplicated (cheap) sparkling wine, lemony, fresh

Wine after Caramel: tasted soapy, lost its fruit

This was bad.  I had such hopes (disappointed).

Wine before Sour Candy: pronounced slate minerality, petrol, slight apple, melon

Wine after Sour Candy: salinity, fruit is gone

Note: better experience if you just lick the sour powder off and better yet if you throw out the candy and bite a lemon before the wine.  Then the fruit comes back and the salinity decreases.

This wasn’t horrible.  It was a very oaky Chardonnay.

Wine before Candy Corn: oak, petrol, honeydew melon

Wine after Candy Corn: makes a sting in the back of the throat, reduces fruit, reduces tartness

Note: Candy Corn improved.  It was more like buttercream that its original earplug flavour.

The Absolute Worst.

Wine before Twizzlers: oak, light black pepper, strawberry

Wine after Twizzlers: every bad childhood cold medicine

Horrible, Rancid.  Don’t do this.

Pretty good.  Unexpected.  Alone, both of these are very sweet.  Together they mellow each other.

Wine before Rockets: jolly rancher watermelon or strawberry

Wine after Rockets: still Jolly Rancher but not as sharp.

Note: Rockets tasted more fruity and less sweet with the wine, also they bubble a bit in your mouth.  Kinda fun. Here is the Wikipedia page on Rockets.  You can read those ingredients and tell me if there is a base that is acting with the acid in the wine. ( dextrosecitric acidcalcium stearate, natural and artificial flavors, and colors)

The hoped for combo.  This pairing worked.

Wine before M&Ms: chocolate and black cherry. (this wine exceeded out $15/bottle ceiling)

Wine after M&Ms: a little decrease in fruit.  Chocolate notes are pronounced.

Note: made the M&Ms taste like they were made of milk chocolate

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EVENTS! (W. Brett Wilson for Kelowna Foodbanks)

Here are some photos from a breakfast event at Global Gym. It was held in their massive indoor tennis courts. If you find yourself in here please share it to facebook! It is a community event that I shot pro bono so please spread it around. Supporting our community foodbanks is a DHB thing to do. (DHB = Decent Human Being)





























































Deals, Tips and Fun Stuff

To get current deals, summer photography tips and other fun things (like, join my photography team to community events!) please send me your email address and I’ll make sure that you get the word.

The big deal for the beginning of summer, from now until the end of June is a FREE book of your portraits with every family session. The book is really great too. It is 5×7 and 20pp.

How on Earth do you Price Wedding Photography?

Sometime in the next 10 years or so I am going to need to find a pile of cash to pay for good wedding photography for my children. It is very expensive since it is a highly specialized skillset. Back in the Manitoba Chapter of the Professional Photographer of Canada we used to talk about pricing.

We talked about pricing at almost every meeting. One of the presenters compared us to trades. How much does a Red Seal plumber make? On average $22/hr. He decided that he had equivalent training time, training difficulty and practice, apprenticing, etc. to someone who was a Red Seal plumber.

Then he broke down the amount of time including consultations that he would spend at a wedding – 1hr consultation, 1 hr creation time shooting engagement photo, 2 hours editing and retouching, 1 hr presentation and image selection with the couple, 2 hr creating engagement book or framing the enlargement, 1 hr delivery. 1 hr pre-wedding checkin, 12 hours wedding creation time, 24 hours editing and retouching, 1 hour presentation time with the couple, 5 hours in book design, sizing and editing, 1 hour framing enlargement, 1 hour delivery. Equals 51 hours on an average wedding. That comes to $1100. Plus paying the second shooter $600, frames $500 (average), custom books $800 (average) = $3000, and that is for someone who rates their artistic talent, people skills, social appropriateness and problem solving at the same level as a plumber.

That is a rough idea of how it is priced. Out of the photographer’s plumber-like wages he also pays for insurance, PPOC memberships, conferences, on-going training, studio lighting, backdrops, cameras, upkeep of all equipment and functioning vehicle. Sometimes he will also have a family and be the primary wage earner for the family.

So hooray for plumbers! I had a leak somewhere in the wall in my basement and I certainly didn’t trust myself to dig around and try to fix it. I would never begrudge my plumber of his $22/hr. Sometimes you have a job that only a pro can do. If you are like myself and see some big jobs coming on the horizon, best to start saving up now.

Artist Headshots

This young woman has years of theatre experience and it shows in her dramatic demeanour. These are a few of the images that resulted in just one hour of photography time:
she will have images appropriate for linkedin,





facebook, business cards and some that are appropriate for her boyfriend to make into a huge framed print for the days that she feels insecure. (Let’s face it, we all have those days.)




Trick #7: Relax, You Have a Contingency Plan

7. Create a contingency plan for everything that can go wrong. Your portrait photographer will already have several plans because they are experienced and they have had things go wrong before. Ask them to share them with you as it will bring you greater security. I will describe some of my contingency plans. -10 Tricks

What can go wrong? Well, a bunch of stuff actually.

Is the subject a small child? It is a general rule that the smaller and younger the subject the greater variety of things that can go wrong. Think about it. It is rare for a 20 year old to vomit and poop herself during her portrait session but completely expected that the newborn will. Therefore, have wet wipes, change of clothes, a changing blanket, and fresh props on hand during a newborn session.

For the most part the biggest thing to go wrong is the weather. It is a wonderful thing to have a storm-tossed sky in a photo but that can turn to unruly ground wind and buckets of rain so quickly. Therefore, have hair styling equipment, umbrellas, and a place to run if things turn ugly. Conversely, if I’m doing something daring anyway a huge rainstorm could be perfect. Some people look completely amazing drenched.

Kevn watermarked This is Kevin. The weather for his session was terrifying. It is one of the best portraits that I have made. It is electrifying!

samara watermarked This is Samara. It was on the verge of raining throughout the session. Imagine the image without the wind and the clouds. It wouldn’t be as dramatic.

tiffany lebel rain watermark This is Tiffany. Rain is such a cool thing to have happen in a shoot, if you can find a way to use it everything is better.

IMG_8324 small waterm This is Ian and the weather outside was frightful. So we made drama with an off camera flash and reflector, both managed off screen by my husband. This image was shot mid-day in our livingroom. It was very bright but we made it look like night.

In the family photo featured at the top of this post there were several things going wrong at the same time. The children were restless, the day was chilly, it was pouring rain through the entire shoot. This is what went right – they were perfectly wardrobed so they didn’t match but they looked like a unit, the children were a variety of sizes which is amazing for posing, there is no worry about identical sized children overlapping. Their attitude toward the shoot overcame the rain and made what would be call-off-able weather into a massive improvement to the ordinary. The colours are more saturated, the use of water as an element in the image makes more sense, everything looks clean and the family was having fun doing something unusual in the rain. Also, we had the park to ourselves.

What if the camera isn’t working? Your portrait photographer will probably have a backup with her. What if it some equipment breaks? I actually had a client snap the foot off of my hotshoe (on the flash unit) during a sitting. He was “helping” me. But I know how to make the flash go if I need it without that part. Also, I carry duct tape, gaffer tape, rope and an assortment of bungie cords.

If we plan on sun but get clouds, I know some ways to make it look like the sun is shining on you. If we get sun but we hoped for clouds, I know how to make it dramatic and amazing.

For the things that you are bringing to the session such as clothing and props, please bring extra. If you are planning on wearing a blue shirt pleas bring two or three blue shirts. If you are bringing a baby who will be in the portrait, please bring five blue shirts and extra baby things.

Trick #6: Meaningful Props

6. Collect props that you love and are meaningful. How to choose the props to build in layers of meaning into an image will be unpacked. – 10 Tricks

Here is a real-life example: Tanya and Tyler got married (I was honoured to photograph both the wedding and engagement) then they had a baby (I was honoured to photograph both the maternity and the newborn). Their wedding was country themed with lace and natural elements and plaid. These elements were in every session. When it came time to do the newborn session we had a choice. We could choose from a pile of props that I had or build something meaningful for them.

Here is the beautiful baby:


Everything in this image, every prop carries meaning. There is lace, a basket from their wedding, even the red plaid is the tail of Tyler’s favourite shirt.

Compare the richness of building in the layers of meaning compared to using someone else’s props, props that are in so many other baby photos.

How would you apply this to an adult portrait? For me, I would look around my home and find the objects that mean something to me. The Bible that my mother gave me, an apple (it was my father’s pet name for me), I would have a guitar propped up against the wall (both my husband and my son play) and some of my daughter’s artwork hanging and maybe some discarded dance shoes (both girls create art and dance). I imagine that I’m building this image on my deck and I would have some large photobooks from my favourite artists and probably my dog sleeping at my feet. I’d be curled on a chair with the quilt that my mother-in-law crocheted. So even though it is just a photo of me, it is also a photo of my family and a statement of what is important to me. I think I’ll make that image. Would you like to see it?