I had a wonderful time doing a three day shoot this year for Bar & Restuarant Cebu in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Here's day 1.
There are few things that make for a more exciting photo project than showing up on location to find that the place is already beautifully decorated and filled with sunlight. They had so much nice stuff here that I was really struggling with deciding what to remove to simplify the images. There we so many cool items and SO MANY PLANTS! Every house needs so many more plants. I need more plants. But these homeowners have it down. You should also also know that they found, I said FOUND, the massive cacti in the living room and stairwell. There was so much more of this beautiful mid-century modern house that I wish we could have gotten to, but our shoot focused on the kitchen and took most of the day. But trust me, the rest of it is just as gorgeous.
Client: Imperia Cabinet, Purekitchen
Silver Lake, Staten Island, New York
Project Date: March 23rd, 2017
This townhouse in Boerum Hill had a lot of nice character thanks to the homeowner's items. This was a project Imerpia Cabinet did a few years ago and we photographed as part of a project to catalog all of their work and modernise their website (still under construction at this time).
Townhouse on the upper west side for Purekitchen / Imperia Cabinet. Construction had just finished and we went in quick to get the photos before it sold. Client wanted to keep it simple so we didn't do any staging, just saw the space raw. My favorite is the one point perspective (the first image below) because without the context it could be anywhere. You can imagine your whole dream house around it. The other angles show off the details of the kitchen.
Imperia also made the vanities in the bathrooms, the minibar, and the fireplace chimney surface you see in the background of the final image. I really love the bathtub here, it caught the light so peacefully.
This photo project was the day after the Brooklyn Condo, a 1-2 combo of Park Slope condo photography for Imperia. From this set came one of my favorite photos of the year. I use direct flash to create this very poppy, high fashion, high contrast look. It's very bright and has these great strong shadows and specular highlights that shout "mid-century perfection" to me. I also produced images with several different looks in this set, including some with softer light and some with the night-time look, so that the client can use them to market in different ways. There were several condos in the building and I photographed all of the kitchens and vanities. These are my favorites from the set.
Union Street Condos
Client: Cabinet Manufacturer Imperia Cabinet
Park Slope, Brooklyn
Project Date: May 17th, 2017
This is another favorite architecture shoot from this year. This place completely blew me away when I stepped inside. I couldn't believe how nice it was. I was here to photograph the kitchen and cabinetry for my client, but I couldn't help to explore the house and take a few extra images after I wrapped up in the kitchen. I'll save those photos from share with you another time. For now, the focus is on the work of Imperia Cabinet on this gorgeous kitchen I wish I could have myself. Sergei (of Imperia) and I really like moody, sexy lighting, so here's another spot where I experimented with making some moody night shots in the middle of the day (because we didn't have access in the evening). It required a lot of black cloth and creative editing, and I'm very happy with the results. I also put small lights inside the cabinets to show off their interior details with some sexy light. The objective is to capture the love a homeowner feels for the kitchen of their dreams.
Also: That corner cabinet swing out arm is fkn brilliant.
Client: Imperia Cabinet
Architect: Shuji Suzumori, Idan Naor
Builder: Madsen Consulting, Concord Consulting
Project Date: May 16th, 2017
This is one of my favorite projects for Imperia Cabinet / Purekitchen. I was absolutely in love with this house the second we walked in. The matte black kitchen is gorgeous and the marble was so beautiful. I also love that the homeowner outfitted the kitchen with matte black pots and pans, too. Really love their style. The whole house was gorgeous, but my focus was on the kitchen and vanities since that's what my client brought me there to photograph. I also experimented with producing day and night photos in a single daytime shoot. So have a peek below at the photos I produced for him of this lovely place.
Frost Street Residence: Cabinets & Vanities
Client: Cabinet Manufacturer Imperia Cabinet
Project Date: June 23rd, 2017
The below photos were a little of a gag. We were talking about how messy the backyard was outside the window next to the kitchen since it was still under construction. Sergei jokingly told the homeowner "Oh don't worry, Nicholas can put just put the mediterranean out there." So I did. And I actually love it.
And since I had the window masked out, I decided to do something a little more plausible and put one of my NYC skyline images in there.
I'm hoping to go make some more images of this beautiful place once all the construction is done. Looking forward to that in 2018.
Perhaps, like me, you use mailchimp for your business's newsletters and blog updates. And perhaps, like me, you've had images so big that they bust out of the frame and make your e-mail all ugly. No one wants that.
After some headscratching, I finally came up with the right search terms and found this perfect and simple fix:
And that's how I went from this:
World's greatest newsletter?
Not yet. But progress is progress. Incremental improvement is what it's all about.
My second project with United Elite Group was this private residence in Manhattan. I created several images of the apartment interior for the client to use to promote their business and bring in more customers.
Builder: United Elite Group
Upper West Side, New York
Project Date: Oct 9th, 2017
Alisher of United Elite Group reached out to me via Houzz and requested that I photograph a renovation they were just finishing up. They wanted photographs to document their work and to help sell their services to prospective customers. It was a fun and relaxed shoot in which one of the firm partners, Guzal, helped me with the staging of each shot. We did a variety of shots with lights on and off to show off both the look in natural light as well as the lighting design.
Client: Builder United Elite Group
Upper East Side, New York
Project Date: June 21st, 2017
I first met LPC when I toured this building with them several years ago when they just bought it. It was right next door to the Nooklyn Bushwick office and I came along as part of Nooklyn to take some 'before' pictures of the space. Two years later all the renovations were nearing completion and they were ready for full-scale professional photography, so they reached out to me.
LPC had a vision for what businesses would most benefit from these spaces, so rather than just photographing the space vacant, we collaborated on making the spaces appear fully functional and lived in. We staged each space with a compliment of desks and I brought in interior stylist Katherine Hammond to bring some unique life to each space we'd be capturing.
This is the biggest project I've worked on to date, and it was also the most exciting, the most fun, and without a doubt the most challenging. It was a great experience and I'm looking forward to doing several more like it.
Expect to see more posts detailing how the shoot was done, with breakdowns of how several of the photos were made.
For now, enjoy the finished product below, and check out the implementation at: 455jefferson.com
Owner: Lincoln Property Company
Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York
Project Date: Sept 13th & 14th, Oct 12th, 2017
There are few restaurants that really take me back to the Brooklyn of yesteryear, but this place always does. The style is often imitated these days, but as my mother pointed out on a recent visit, this is the genuine article. It really reminds me of why I love this place, along with upstate new york. There's a coziness to it that is just so comforting. It's a great place to go for a slow, drizzly day.
The pasta is pretty, the pizza is better.
Italinan / Pizzeria
435 Halsey Street
Oct. 24th, 2017, Tuesday
My mother and I were roaming around in Williamsburg running errands while Regina was having hear hair put into braids in anticipation of our honeymoon trip to Hawaii. Braids are no-muss, no-fuss, so Regina can collapse in to bed at night and hop out in the morning without having to do any daily maintenance. Very good for traveling. She was having it done in Bed-Stuy, and she was finished around the time we were ready to have lunch. Any time I'm out, I try to find a restaurant in the neighborhood I'm in so I can have excuse to go there without having to travel. But nothing in Williamsburg was really jumping out to me. However, the last time I'd dropped Regina off at the salon to get her hair done, I wandered around the neighborhood and seriously considered having dinner at Saraghina, so much so that I was standing at the door reading the menu. I decided to have my money and go home that time, but the desire to eat there lingered. You know that feeling when you really want something, but don't get it and it's still nipping at you in the back of your mind. Yeah, that's the one. So I had to go.
It was a drizzly day, which felt perfect for this place. It was slow and there were only a few other diners present. So we got a great seat right by the windows, and I was able to get a few photos of the place without having to avoid patrons in the photos.
There's a quick photo tip for you. Want to photograph a restaurant? Go in the middle of a weekday. This was 2pm on a Tuesday. I only had my iPhone 7 on me because I'm trying to be more conscious about not carrying my camera constantly. It's nice to go out in the city and not have a heavy bag with me. But of course I always get into a situation where I wish I had my camera so I could take better photos. This is one such occasion. But still, I'm happy with the results. It's not like the iPhone is bad, per-se. Just not as good. But if you're reading this on your phone and the images are small, then it's not as obvious as it is on a larger display. So, there's that tangent.
I focused on photographing the space right around the windows, to capture the mood of the day and a bit of the design of the the place. I went very minimal on the edits, but now the lack of perfectly straight lines on that one picture of Regina with the windows behind her is making me a little crazy. But I'm not going to change it. It's important to be comfortable with imperfection. I slipped a few photos of Regina's silhouette in because 1. I love her & 2. I've been playing with more silhouette and dark areas in my photos. So a lot of these were a trial in embracing having really dark areas in my images. I shot so many super bright, light filled images for so long that I'm looking to go in a different direction, and these are experiments in that realm, pushing my iPhone to see what it can do.
After the interiors I took a photo of my menu, which reminds me of a book I made in college out of an old pair of pants. I took a bookbinding class that has always stuck with me. Hand made books always catch my eye and I have to pick them up and inspect how they're put together, which is exactly what happened with this menu. The denim cover is really what too me back to my pants book, which I believe my mother still has on her mantle. I don't make books much anymore, but I still seeing handmade ones, so this was exciting for me. The stamped logo is really nice, too.
The drink was a special that day. Spiced, Spiced Cider. It was fantastic, comforting, a great herald of fall. Regina and I were flying to Hawaii the next day, but we both really love fall, so it was good to get a potent taste of it right before we left.
Finally, the pasta. I don't eat much pasta, so it's a great treat when I do have it. So I was very excited to order this Tagliatelle al Ragu. It's the dish I was eyeing that other day when I was outside looking at the menu. It was good, but the pizza Regina ordered blew it out of the water.
Sorry, no pizza photos, because I've gotten over the hump of making my fellow diners wait while I photograph their food. No reason they should suffer for my craft. If I'm going to take food photos it will be of my own dish, and I try to get my shot as fast as possible so I can enjoy my food at its peak, too. Somethings, though, I get caught up in the moment and keep snapping. But that's how I know I still love doing this, so I'm never going to chase that feeling away.
Nooklyn has been doing a few rounds of headshots to streamline their look when it comes to agent photos. They asked me the take the portraits and I told them portrait photography isn't my bag. Fortunately, they asked Chris Setter, who is doing, as you can see, a fantastic job.
I still had a Profoto B1 and 5' Octobox left over from a week rental for the Convene Food shoot, and I wanted to get some more use out of it before I returned it. One of the Nooklyn photo sessions was on the day before it was due back, so I brought it by for Chris to use for his headshot session. We got it set up and Chris took a few test shots of me before he got started with the agents.
I did some minor retouching on the first two images - removing a few blemishes and a lot of hairs and dust from the shirt, as well as making the background solid white. We were having some trouble getting all the lights to talk, since profoto doesn't like to play with others. He got it working after these test shots, though. The hotshoe passthrough was loose.
I didn't do any retouching on the last image because I'm hoping to use it as a passport photo. We'll see how that goes.
I'm excited to have some top notch photos. Time to go upload them everywhere. I already added one to my About page here on the site, and my page on Nooklyn, which Moiz has been updating to display my photos. Ain't that snazzy?
I was a recording Vlog 002 and a telemarketer called to sell me some bullshit that I might have actually bought if it were an ad on a channel I like that I choose to visit of my own accord. Not someone invading my space and time. Stay out. It's not your world anymore.
I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks when I’m driving, but this day I decided I didn’t want to listen, I wanted to create. So I jumped over my barriers and just hit the record button and started talking. I made an episode before this a while back but it requires editing because there are a bunch of cuts - that’s why this one is made it up first. Fewer barriers to entry. I uploaded it straight from my phone to youtube. I almost added music, but it was a distraction. So here it is, pure and simple. If you want to start a vlog, here are the steps:
- Hit Record
- Hit Publish
Driving Vlog, Episode, I dunno, Two! I made one a while back but I never posted it. Maybe I’ll post it before this one. We’ll see.
I’m out shooting apartments for Nooklyn today. You know, i could tell myself:
“I’m too good to be shooting apartments because I shoot luxury architecture”
But really it’s still fun. I still get to run around town and be outside. It’s just a few minutes in each place, some really quick easy pictures. I’m shooting handheld with my tilt-shift, which is pretty fun and challenging. It keeps me on my toes because it’s not easy. Doing that helps me to develop my skills as a photographer. It helps with composition and learning the ins and outs of the lens, like how distortion is introduced when using the tilt and shift features, as well as developing an intuition for leading lines in the composition. With this, what’s nice is that I get a bunch of rapid fire experience with shooting rooms. This is still what I do even when i’m shooting high end properties and the camera is on a tripod and I’m using lighting equipment. The ideas of composition are still the same. We learn by doing. So going out and shooting tons and tons of places helps to improve my skills.
So my tip is to always keeps shooting and always be open to trying new things. You never know it all and you’ll never be perfect at it. Always approach it with the excitement of a beginner. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.
I’m sorry about my shirt being so bright in the video. I’m not going to color correct it, because I’m shooting on my iPhone while driving and I’m intentionally keeping it incredibly simple. I make videos all the time that require editing and color correction, and then they NEVER get done. So I have to lower the barrier.
That’s what’s fun about the apartments, actually. I don’t spend 4 hours editing a single image like I often do with architecture. It’s usually just minutes, and sometimes even seconds. And then on to the next one. It’s fun to make really quick stuff. I enjoy it. I may not do it forever, but I’m doing it for now.
My heroes in the business sector like Seanwes and GaryVee (notice anything similar about their handles?) constantly say “Document over create” and this is the same thing. Recording this video and being okay with it just as it is, that’s documentation. I don’t get caught up in all the requirements of high quality created content. It’s just:
“Hey, here’s what I’m doing today and I’m talking to you about it!”
I’m in Prospect Lefferts Garden now, going to shoot a place on Clarkson. I’ve shot 6 or 7 buildings today, each with 1-6 units in them. Most of them are just vacant apartments, there’s nothing special about them. But they’re fairly good in build quality. They’re probably in the $2000-$4000+ price range.
I enjoy shooting the showrooms the most, because the furniture and that makes them more engaging both to shoot in and to look at. But even in an empty room, there are still lines to use to enhance the composition and lead the viewer’s eye. So there’s still much to learn even when shooting an empty room.
I had coffee today, as you might have noticed by my talking fast, by the way. It was a great cup of cold brew at Little Roy. I mention this place in a later video, but here are some pics of it anyway. No coffee pic, sorry.
Another thing that I really enjoy about doing this is being outside and free to enjoy and explore the town. I’m bouncing around, an hour at this place, 30 minutes there, 30 minutes at another spot - this gives me a lot of time to travel around between each of these mini-projects to explore the city. I can pop into a new coffee shop to see what it’s like, or a smoothie joint for something healthy and refreshing. I really love this, I love exploring the city and experiencing all it has to offer. Going to these apartments often takes me to sections of neighborhoods I might not visit otherwise. If I’m just sitting at home editing photos on my computer, I’m not doing any of that. And if I went to be a laptop warrior at a coffee shop, I would end up staying at that one spot all day long, rather than bouncing around this much.
You see, I love variety. It’s good for me to go out and explore tons of different places. This style of work allows me to do that by having a little work here and a little work there. What’s really nice is that we’ve gotten a system down with Nooklyn where I don’t have to worry about pricing out every shoot before I do it. Most of these places are pretty standard and we worked on a per-shoot price list. So long as the place isn’t extra special and deserves more attention to detail and more in depth photography, we can just stick to that system and I can breeze through these places, and I know I’m going to get paid. The same day. It’s a really nice feeling for it not to be ambiguous. It’s so satisfying to know it’s certain. I shoot an apartment, I get paid. I buy a coffee. Rinse and repeat.
Compare this to my being a real estate agent some years back. Advertise like crazy. Talk to too many people. Take half out on showings. Maybe rent one place. Maybe. I know this isn’t everyone’s experience with real estate and some folks are totally killing it. But I never found the love for it, and I certainly don’t love that style of “do tons of work and hope that it all works out in the end.” It’s different with the ambient work I do for my photography business - I always have something to show for the work I’ve done. If I spend time producing photos for my portfolio, I have a new and better portfolio. If I shoot videos or post a lot on Instagram or Facebook, I have that many more things that I made and am proud of out there on the internet. So it feels good at the end of the day no matter what. But I’m sure some folks find the same love in doing their real estate advertising. It just wasn’t for me the way this is. And I’m happy I am here now and not there.
Another contrast is with really large photography projects. Lately it seems to be that when things get above around $2000/day threshold, they start to get pretty complex. For those I collect 50% up front, and the remaining balance when we wrap up at the end of the shoot or shortly after. Once the funds are paid in full, the finished photos are delivered and the usage license conveyed. It’s not like this on every single shoot of course, at least not yet. I shot a food project last week that was organized by a producer and not by me. He did Net 30. So, it happens sometimes. But, that's on me because I didn't say anything. Always take responsibility.
It’s because of this that the simple system of shooting apartments can sometimes be satisfying - it’s just so simple I don’t have to think about it. Wanna make $1000 today and have fun tooling around town and recording Vlogs the whole time? No problem, just hop to it.
Fun facts on that food shoot. It was for an event and meeting space company with a catering arm called Convene. Good name, right? Their tagline is "All inclusive premiere meeting & conference rooms." It was organized by my friend Hal, a photographer I met when we were both shooting the same event for different clients - the North 2014 Nordic Food Festival. I wonder if I have those photos up somewhere.
Here, I found two blog posts on Honest Cooking that feature my photos. Honest Cooking put on the North Nordic Food Festival, probably simply because Kalle is Swedish and missed home. J/k. But really.
Haha, the links on these article go to my tumblr, which predate nsdoyle.com. I wonder if I should have them change it, or just let people go to tumblr and then on down the rabbit hole. I’ll see if I can link tumblr to my website. I probably will have them change it, because I believe our dear and glorious leader google likes for there to be external links to my website If you’re well versed in SEO, back me up on this. I hear they like written content to, so that’s why I’m not uploading this video all by its lonesome. By the way, big props if you’ve ready this far. I’m so proud. Shoot me a high five in the comments if you make it all the way to the end.
( I would insert a photo of folks giving a high five, but I don't think I have one. Not quite my style.)
Let’s get back on track. I met Hal Horowitz at North '14. I then saw him again at the Dinner en Blanc, this time I was shooting for Great Performances, by way of my friend Kat, whom I met at a Backyard BBQ (Thanks for the hook up Johnny Stoops. I owe you dinner). I’m pretty sure we ran into each other while shooting the same events more than that, but those are the two that really stick out.
When Hal’s friend German, the executive chef at Convene told Hal they needed photos of the Fall and Winter menu items, Hal know just the guy to call.
RUDELY INTERRUPTED BY A TELEMARKETER AND I’M STILL SOUR ABOUT IT.
Hal, I was so pumped to see you at Dinner en Blanc, by the way. I was getting really bored with it and I had already made up my mind that this was the last event I would ever shoot. It was so exciting to see a familiar face there. Still lights me up. Lemme see if I can round up that photo of you I took there. Here we go.
You know, I believe I can honestly trace my wearing all white back to this very event. I don’t remember how much they paid me for this, but I’m pretty sure I spent the entire amount on my outfit. I’d been wanting to get some silk clothing for a long time, so I bought some white silk pants and a white silk shirt from Tommy Bahama. I then googled Rockport to see if they had any nice white loafers, which is how I discovered:
My favoritest shoe since my Rockport ‘Business Runner’ ground pounders.
Rockport TruWalk Zero Wingtip in dark brown and bonkers-ass orange.
Pretty bummed that both of these are out of production. Although I am currently rocking my second pair of Venetians, I wore my first ones into a pretty sorry state, and the TruWalks I wore right through to the ground. Literally. Speaking of wearing out clothes, those Tommy Bahama pants I bought in July 2015 had their final day today, August 25th, 2017. So they made it just over two years until I strained them too hard doing photo crunches in the second to last apartment I shot today. I should have worn a belt so they weren’t sagging, but oh well. I’m not so good about keeping clothing in peak shape for a long period of time. I’m more in the “have 5 pieces and wear them until they’re totally decimated” school of thought. Can’t say it’s the best approach, but it’s just what I do.
But I have been needing some more walking shoes. I’ll ruin these Venetians if I keep this up, so I tend to wear my trail runners when I’m out shooting these apartments. They do they job, but I want something new. Maybe Rockport’s latest truwalks? We’ll see.
I saw a guy in Father Knows Best wearing these badboys Cole Hann’s ZEROGRAND and oh man do I want some. But that’s not really going to solve my “shoes I can walk 20k steps a day in and not obliterate both them and my feet” issue here. I remember hunting for those shoes a few hours before the Dinner en Blanc. Do you know how hard it is to buy solid white loafers in a physical store at the end of July? Ain’t easy. I probably hit 4-5 places before landing in the mega Macy’s on 34th, where I bought the only pair they had, the display pair, which though some stroke of magic were the right size.
Wait, shoes, what?
It’s 4am and I’m still writing, so if you were wondering where all these bizarre tangents are coming from, there’s your answer. I really thought I was just going to publish this video with the content I’d already written and a text saying “and I stopped here so I could produce more videos’, but there’s a time when you can’t or shouldn’t produce more videos, and that’s when you and everyone in your house is supposed to be asleep. But I can write all I want, so maybe I’ll start writing late at night when I’ve still got tons of fuel for creation but can’t make noise. The gentle clickity clack of my laptop keyboard isn’t going to hurt anybody, right?
But all of this could be its own post, so let’s get back on track, shall we?
North 2014 was my very first paid food shoot, as far as I can recall. If I’m wrong and you happen you know of a previous one, please chime in. I don’t have the most solid memory. That’s why I’m trying to write, blog, and vlog so much more. Need to make up for the shoddy memory and get the stuff down on paper.
Thanks for reading! 6:48am. Hope you got a kick out of all of this. Let me know in the comments.
One of my photos of Ancolie was used in an article in the New York Post about foods being served in reusable glass jars. The sustainability aspect is one of my favorite things about Ancolie, so I'm happy to see more busiensses doing the same.
Fun fact: Regina and I went to see Hamilton last week and I was marveling at the design of the Tyme booth in Times Square. You can't see it all that well in that picture, and I was resisting the urge to take photos of it in that moment, but of course now I regret it. The bent wooden slats with a crown of plants is to lovably eco.
These are the last 3 pictures I took at Northeast Kingdom before it went out to pasture. The final "closed" image is pretty appropriate.
This place along with Hana Natural, made the Jefferson Station section of Bushwick what it is. It was a classic Brooklyn rustic farm-to-table place, the type that brought the food scene to Brooklyn over the past few years. In it's honor, I'm dedicating this autumn to photographing similar restaurants throughout Brooklyn to feature on Nooklyn Hoods.
About these photos:
On April 6th, 2016, Moiz (far right, second image) and I were picking up burgers for the office, and I snapped a few quick pictures. The top one is the best, thanks to the beautiful sunlight pouring in the window balanded with the incandescent bulb above, the depth of field obscuring the foreground clutter, and the sharp clarity of the two diners and the menu. There's a great tonal range of bright spots to deep blacks. Very happy with this one, and the memories it brings back.
Rest In Peace, Northeast Kingdom.
You want a camera that is going to make the best pictures ever. One that will make all your photo dreams come true.
Here it is!
Any camera you love to use.
Not quite what you were expecting? Let’s break it down.
1. Do you have a camera now?
Most likely, you have a cellphone camera. You’ll upgrade that phone every few years, so it’s going to keep getting better. Do you use it? Do you love it? Sweet, you’re done. Go snap away.
2. What are you struggling with?
If you’re not getting the photos you want, why? Is it because of your camera, or is because of inexperience? Is it because your camera is so big you don't carry it around?
The camera is just a tool. You need to understand light, composition, and your subject much more than you need to know how to use a camera. Once you have a clear idea of the photos you want to take, you can upgrade to a camera that solves your specific problems.
3. Get the camera you want.
Spend $100. Spend $10,000. Get a camera you’re excited to use every day, so you wake up and can’t wait to take pictures.
Don’t worry about getting the ‘best’ or the ‘right’ camera, just get one that makes you happy. Practice will make you good, and if one camera or another gets you taking more photos, then that’s the one that will make you a better photographer. So go with your heart.
4. Get a different camera. Get more cameras.
You’re not stuck with the first camera you get forever. If you decide you want something else from your photography your present camera isn’t well suited for, get one that is. Sell your old one, or keep it. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that you keep taking pictures, whatever it takes.
- Start with the camera you've got
- Get a camera that solves your specific problems
- Get a camera that makes you happy.
- You're not stuck with one camera forever. Try something new.
So grab a camera and have fun.
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Let me know what you're struggling with, and I'll make some content just for you. :)