Connections Summer 2016 Features

The Samantha Seeley Brand: A Feast for More Than the Eyes

by Hope Ferguson

The Samantha Seeley Brand_ A Feast for More Than the Eyes

Like a lot of stories of reinvention, Samantha Seeley’s began with loss. In Seeley’s case, it was the loss of her job in 2009. To distract herself and make good use of her time while she looked for employment, “I threw myself into baking.” She started selling baked goods – cupcakes, brownies and cookies – at a farmers market in Pine Bush, N.Y. “From there I needed photos of the products I was selling, so I decided to start taking photos of the food I created,” she explains. “I learned as much as I could about photography and food styling to make my photos stand out. I created a blog to promote my farmers market booth and it slowly turned into a recipe and photography blog.”

That blog,, where one can view luscious food photos and grab recipes, is just one item on Samantha Seeley’s menu. She began teaching digital photography and digital storytelling at SUNY Orange in the spring, is planning to offer food photography workshops in the Hudson Valley next year, and eventually wants to shoot food for cookbooks. She also blogs at, a food and lifestyle blog with a focus on whole-grain baking and recipes.

Seeley’s path began with a love of photography. When she started baking, the food and the photography proved a natural pairing. The possibilities for her brand can only expand.

Seeley, a 2016 graduate of the college’s Newburgh location, credits the college’s flexibility and online courses for allowing her to earn her degree in multimedia production. She received an associate degree in liberal arts from SUNY Orange County Community College in 2013. “I knew I needed to continue, but had trouble balancing my blog, other work obligations and freelance photography jobs. A long commute to a four-year university was almost out of the question for me. I needed a SUNY school that would accept my transfer credits and that offered online courses that would be flexible with my schedule. I’m extremely grateful that I found Empire State College and that these types of degrees are available and more widely accepted.”

Her next educational step is to earn a graduate degree in instructional design or media studies. “Nowadays, I find that I am truly passionate about eLearning,” she adds. “I’m sure I owe that in part to Empire State College.”

On a personal note, Seeley is newly engaged and planning a wedding. “We are looking into having our wedding at a cider house or a brewery in the Hudson Valley,” she says. Not surprisingly, “The food and photography were the first vendors I searched for!”

Photography by Samantha Seeley