Tender Look Photography has moved to Joanna Joy Photography!

Tender Look Photography has rebranded and moved to a new website!  (I left this old site up because I'm sentimental that way and love to flip through old photos for a trip down memory lane!)  The new site has fresh look but the same love of natural photos - documenting wedding days,  capturing family relationships for gorgeous wall prints. . . Visit Joanna Joy Photography to view current pricing, recent weddings, and tons of helpful wedding planning advise on the new blog!

Recommended Vendors

Tender Look Photography only refers vendors we have worked with and we admire.  We will not list a vendor simply because it is requested.  The quality of work and quality of service must be at a level we think our brides would appreciate on their wedding day.  It is more than the execution of a beautiful cake or tasty plate of food - its the attitude of the vendor and the complete package that makes a vendor a pleasure to work with.  So many times we walk away from an event impressed with a fellow wedding professional.  We hope you read these reviews and consider these vendors for your wedding day.  Attending so many events, we feel our experience can help benefit you with these personal referrals!

Culinary Canvas Holiday Showcase

Written by Joanna on Sunday, 18 November 2012. Posted in Recommended Vendors

Fine Food Catering

Culinary Canvas invited us to be part of their Holiday Showcase event.  We walked away from the party with a few shots of the food and an addiction to Bacon Wrapped Honey Glazed Shrimp and Ganoche in Vodka sauce.  We horded our little gift baggies of yummy biscotti and super moist pumpkin rolls - I confess to being super reluctant to share!!  I'm also embarrassed to say I'm not a foodie and failed to recognize several flavors without reading the little identifying cards.


Despite my culinary failings, I'm still being entrusted with the Thanksgiving dinner.  This weekend enjoy your meals, but if you burn the turkey or walk away from the table less then satisfied, maybe for Christmas or New Years, Culinary Canvas can rescue your party!  Check out their website at www.culinarycanvascatering.com or read our interview with Rachel and Luke here.

Vendor Interview || Levine Machine

on Monday, 09 July 2012. Posted in Recommended Vendors

Event Venue Recommendation

Everyday is location scouting day for photographers.  It's always been my whine that we have to struggle a little harder to find great locations here in the barren desert with little history.  Fortunately, Arizona continually proves me wrong!  Great stuff is everywhere!

Driving out to the hike at Rio Salado this past Saturday morning, this gorgeous graphic wall caught my attention.  One the way back, we made a point to swing by and grab a few photos.  I was lucky enough to meet the building owner Micheal Levine.  He gave me a quick tour of this building.

The outside property is available to photographers for a shooting fee.  You can view additional information about the property and contact Mr Levine at Levine Machine.  When shooting at a wheat field recently, the local farmer shared a story - he lost 16 acres due to fire.  People visiting his property without permission has caused the damage.  Please be respectful of property owners.  Gain permission before shooting at any location.

This building is available for weddings as well.  I'm not sure if the snake would lead the congo at the reception? but that might be fun!  For brides looking for a location a little less generic than a local hotel or resort, this building has so much style!!

The Blog at levinvemachine.com features video showing the install of the wall and the making of the snakemobile. The Downtown Phoenix Journal has an interesting video on the saving of historic warehouses in downtown Phoenix.

Interview with Culinary Canvas Catering

Written by Joanna on Friday, 22 June 2012. Posted in Recommended Vendors

Wedding Vendor Review || Preferred Vendor Interview

From the moment we first sit together for coffee and chat about your wedding, we love to be involved and be as helpful as we can. So many times we are asked for recommendations for other wedding vendors. We love to refer great companies - someone who will make your day just a little bit more special. Amber first introduced me to the Timpe family several years ago - here is her personal testimony of meals that left an long lasting impression! That's what a wedding dinner should be, whether a simple luncheon for a dozen loved ones or a feast of large proportions - each should be a wonderful memory of a delicious meal, shared with precious family and friends, and love passed all around.

Amber: "My experience with the Timpe family kitchen started 8 summers ago. After meeting Rachel and her cousin Christan (who is now my sister-in-law) at a youth camp. I had to go visit them in their home town in Butler, PA . I was greeted with so much love from the whole family. I was hugged, kissed and brought first thing to the kitchen where they expressed their love and appreciation to you. As I went from home to home getting the "full Italian family experience". Every meal was made with love, fresh ingredients and much thought and theme went into them all. Every meal was set out with fresh ironed napkins and adorable table setting. I remember calling my Mom a few nights later after arriving and telling her I had never been kissed or fed so much yummy food in all my life! One of the evenings I was at Rachel's home watching her mom Nancy prepare dinner. I looked at the piles of dirty dishes mounting up as she continued to cook dinner. I asked her what keeps you cooking like this every meal knowing all the dirty dishes for all the special sauces and fresh steamed green beans etc..... And she simply said it's one of the ways I let my family know how much I love them. I walked away from my visit with many wonderful memories and a special appreciation for a good home cooked Italian meal made with love. After Rachel got married and moved here to Phoenix. I would come over and partake of her cooking experiments. I saw right away the talent she had and the magic she created out of a few simple ingredients. My new husband defiantly appreciated that special frozen jar of Rachel's spaghetti sauce that I would save for a special candle light dinner for us newlyweds. It honestly brings joy to my heart that my dear friend Rachel followed her passion for cooking and is sharing her family's passion for cooking with the rest the world. And yes, in my humble opinion food tastes better sprinkled with love."

We had an opportunity to interview Culinary Canvas Catering. Here's a little insight into their passion for cooking.

How long have you been a caterer? We have been officially in business since Aug 2011, but we have worked closely through the last 15+ years in the restaurant/food industry through family and friends' businesses including, Sanso's Italian Deli and Pizzeria, The Grapevine Restaurant, and Luigi's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, as well as we love to entertain and cook for friends and family. We are a combination of delicious home cooking and industry experience with family and friends for over 15+ Years!

When did you get started? Our story and passion starts well beyond just Culinary Canvas Catering. We were raised in a family that loved home-made meals and quality Italian ingredients! We have fond memories of Mom making Lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan, Cheese Manicotti, etc., which now are a number of well loved dishes that we provide currently on our menu for Culinary Canvas Catering.

What or who got you started in catering? We have always loved entertaining friends and family at any celebration or gathering. Making different special dishes and providing great food for everyone to enjoy sparked a passion and interest to share the food so many grew to love with a wider audience; and create a local business around those recipes.

What is your favorite part of the job? This would definitely be working with the customers to design a menu to fit their venue. This is a special time to get to know them and what we can create to make the food successful for an event. We enjoy a smile on our customers' faces when they receive compliments about how delicious the food was at their celebration. We make you part of the family at Culinary Canvas Catering and take the ownership of every event with care and great enthusiasm to make sure it fits your needs perfectly!

What is the most challenging part of being a caterer? The most challenging is indecision of where to start with an event on a customer's standpoint. It is very hard for a customer to know exactly what they want for every event or which direction to go, which can make planning stressful. We try to make it easier for the customer by guiding them through this process. Our first step is to talk with the customer to get basic information about the venue, then we talk about what the event is specifically (Theme Wise or how they perceive the venue to be "Social" or "Family Style" or "Buffet Style"), which helps us formulate a tailored fit for their event. We take demographics, atmosphere, budget, concerns, special needs, etc. all in to consideration while helping you plan your event.

What is the most interesting event you serviced? We love to do social events and hors d'oeuvre parties. These are great ways to get to know everyone and mingle with the customer in a unique way.

What would be your top piece advice to a bridal couple?
This is a once in a lifetime event... Make it special and meaningful to you as a couple so that you get to enjoy it! Be willing to go the extra mile for your special events and we will be sure to meet your expectations.

How would you describe your style? We are a very flexible and agile type catering company. We have room to be creative, but keep it intimate and affordable for the customer.

How many weddings/events do you average per year? We are a new catering company to the phoenix area, so we haven't had a high volume of wedding events thus far, but have had lots of experience helping and serving food with friends' and family weddings. We have done several large scale events for different celebrations or promotions, as well as quoted a number of large events and. Though wedding events aren't high on our list yet, we are fully capable of the staff and services to undertake such a challenge and exciting event. I would encourage anyone interested in our services to contact us and let us at least provide you with options and a quote to compare with other vendors you may be considering.

What has been your most memorable assignment and why? The most memorable assignment was the couples dinner for Evening Light Fellowship; this was an event that was put together very well and we did great with the limited resources we had to service (approx. 140 People); We had our cooks working with focus on the foods and we had our serving crew managing the buffet table. It was a special time for couples' to spend together and enjoy a delicious rewarding meal.

What do you feel is the most challenging thing about catering?
The time flow a few hours just before an event to make sure food is hot or prepped and brought out exactly on time and kept the freshest it can possibly be. Also, translating a customer's vision into reality can be a challenge, but so far we have done a great job connecting and going beyond the expectation of our customers.

Why don't you tell me a little about yourself, your business, and your workflow?
We are a small catering company in the Phoenix area. We want to share our cuisine with anyone who enjoys good food as friends and family. We try to keep an intimate, friendly relationship with our customers, and we care about providing quality ingredients as well as presentation.

Upon initial contact with a customer through leads and/or referrals we collect contact information, date of the event, and the rudimentary information to determine availability that day; and if we have the capacity/capability of doing your venue. We then ask detailed information about the event; questions that you might not have considered usually come up and things are discussed to work out a rough plan. Once we have collected enough details and information pertaining to the event, we can make a first estimate on the catering services we will be providing and make a first draft proposal. The proposal is reviewed by the customer and changes/adjustments/additions are discussed. We then put the changes into a formal final proposal for final approval by the customer. The event is then put into official action and we make the necessary preparations for it.

Through the planning process we like to keep in close contact with staff and customers to make sure communication is seamless. We set up meetings and communication over the phone, in person, and by email. We keep our customers involved every step of the planning process; then we take our qualified staff and turn their vision for their event into reality.

What is your philosophy on catering?
We take care of you like family!

Luke Timpe - Owner / Manager

Rachel Ruebbelke - Head Chef / Kitchen Manager and Food Blogger


Facebook: www.facebook.com/culinarycanvascatering

Twitter: www.twitter.com/culinarycanvas

Text culinarycanvas to 90210

Vendor Review - Pretty Polka Dots

Written by Joanna on Saturday, 15 October 2011. Posted in Recommended Vendors

Arizona Wedding Vendor Review - Baker

Our lastest wedding featured this darling cake created by Jackie Austin.  I had the opportunity to interview Jackie about her training and methods.

How long have you been making cakes?

- About 10 years

How were you trained? how did you learn?

- I took a few classes as a teenager and then taught myself new techniques along the way.

What types of cakes do you make? layers? fillings?

- All my cakes and fillings are made from scratch. I have a few favorites that I use frequently, but for the most part I will work with the customer if they have specific flavors in mind. 

Fondue or frosting? Pros and cons for each?

- I prefer to work with fondant. It looks beautiful and there is SO much you can do with it. 

Price ranges?

- That completely depends on the amount of guests and how much detail will be on the cake.

Advice of freezing cake for the anniversary?

- Pre-freeze the cake uncovered for approx 2 hours (to allow the frosting to harden)

- Take the cake out of the freezer and wrap in 3 layers of plastic wrap

- Place inside a ziploc bag and remove as much air as possible

- Return cake to cake box and wrap the entire box in plastic wrap

- Remove from freezer and allow 48 hours to thaw in refrigerator before eating

How do you find inspiration or do you duplicate photos from brides or more of a collaboration?

- I first like to get an idea of what the customer wants: flowers, colors, shapes, etc. If they have pictures that helps me get a visual. We can then build on that idea and work out the specifics.

I have the privilege of knowing Jackie personally, beyond the professional vendor capacity.  She is a joy to know.  If you are looking for a baker or need a cake you are welcome to contact us at Tender Look Photography.  Jackie is putting together a portfolio of her created cakes.  In the near future we plan to display those photos here along with additional information.  In the meantime you are welcome to contact her directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Creations in Cuisine Catering

Written by Joanna on Saturday, 15 October 2011. Posted in Recommended Vendors

Arizona Wedding Vendor Review - Caterer

Some of you attend a wedding and regardless of the beautiful flowers or designer dresses or lovely emotional speeches, you walk away judging the wedding a success or not based on the quality of the food.  You know who you are!  A foodie or a food snob or just someone who values a yummy dinner plate.  I'm partial to a great meal myself.  I read My Culinary Canvas faithfully and don't skip meals - and yes chocolate can be a meal!  This weekend's wedding dinner exceeded expectations.  Wedding food can be dry and flavorless.  I've never catered a wedding but I understand the challenges involved - a large crowd, time schedules that don't run on schedule, less then ideal prep conditions etc.  Creations In Cuisine Catering did a wonderful job.  The table set up and food presentation was top notch and thoughtfully laid out.

This was an autumn wedding and the food stayed in season - down home comfort food.  I'm not a food critic and can't label all the flavors but the shredded beef was not shredded beef.  It was butter.  Literally melted in your mouth.  The pork with cranberry chutney was flavorful and the ceaser salad tangy.  The carrots were perfect - not bland and limp - but sweet with a bit of crunch still in them.  What's not to like about mashed potatoes? if they are creamy with dill and a great gravy it's easy to eat too much!  Did I mention we enjoyed dinner?? We did.  I would recommend Creations In Cuisine Catering to anyone.  We were too busy eating our food to take a picture of our plates - visit their website for photos and more information.