California transplant Paige Allsup helps local businesses
navigate the world of online marketing
Written by Cassie McClure | Photography by Pips Ink Photography
For Paige Allsup, the relationship between a restaurant’s food and its customers is an experience of not only taste, but also imagery. Using the brush of her photography, Paige’s business, Pips Ink, uses the canvas of food to create mouthwatering images that speak to the true essence of a restaurant’s brand.
Paige grew up with a disposable camera in her hand, convincing friends to be her stand-in models. When she was 18 and got her first “real” camera, she stayed away from photographing people, honing in on landscapes first and then weddings. (Her work has been seen on the extremely popular wedding website The Knot.) More recently, she discovered a love of commercial photography, especially food.
The Pips Ink studio at 207 Avenida de Mesilla had its grand opening in November 2017, and since then, Paige has been relishing the opportunity to get to know local business owners one-on-one and delve into their needs. Pips Ink focuses not only on commercial photography, but also social media management—making the best use of the photos in a wider online circulation.
Coming to Las Cruces from California, Paige has noticed how local businesses engage with the photography they want for their food and products. She says, “I try and convince owners that professional photography is key to their success—you need to brand yourself and stand out. You have to build relationships in Las Cruces and I want to help people grow their relationships and businesses.”
Paige continually stays aware of what’s trending in food photography. “Right now, it’s having hands in the picture, or an un-sharp focus on a person in the background,” she explains. “It gives a feeling of relatability and that it’s legit. There are so many things you can do with food, like bringing lighting to see it differently, and try a view from up high, then close and from the side. The table becomes a stage.”
Pips Ink also creates videography because sometimes movement is part of the atmosphere, like a belly dancer in the background when the food is set on the table. “It’s great to start a business with imagery, but I understand that photography may not be the first thing you want to buy,” Paige notes. “I work with people, and especially with non-profits, to keep my rates reasonable.”
For Pips Ink social media management services, Paige uses various online tools to ensure her customers feel in the loop day-by-day. Most businesses sense that they need a presence online, but having the time to upload and think of a caption distracts from their main business. “I always want to stress the importance of professionalism online,” she laughs. “No selfies of business owners on Instagram. You’re not the restaurant.”
Paige values her relationships with her clients, saying, “If people aren’t comfortable with you, you shouldn’t be taking their picture. The first half hour people are still getting to know you. After that, when the smiles become real, that’s when you get the shots.”
Getting a sense of a client before the shoot is also helpful. “I want you to know exactly what I’m shooting, and make you, as the subject, look like you belong in an environment,” she explains. “I meet you, get to know you and I know exactly where we can go. I want to make the subject cohesive with its surroundings.”