Today I’m writing about a food photography workshop I attended back in September 2013! I wrote about this on my old blog but have lost the post so I’m going to re-do it all from my memory of the day!
The reason I’m bringing it up today is because for anyone starting out in photography, a workshop is always a good place to start. You can learn so much in a small amount of time. They’re also a great way to add to your portfolio and get some practise in!
This workshop was the very first food photography workshop I’d ever attended. Lead by Vanessa Kimbell who is known for her sour dough making and her recipe book Prepped, she taught us so much about styling the food and the use of light and props. (When attending the workshop at the time, her business was known as Juniper and Rose Kitchen Garden but she has now changed it to The Sourdough School).
The first thing we did, was shoot a microwave mushroom risotto. When she pulled it out the packet, it looked like something the dog would eat! I think we all thought, ‘how are we ever going to make that look good!?’ But Vanessa styled it really well. My photo isn’t very good as my focus is off, but the food, set up and lighting were perfect!
After shooting the mushroom risotto, it was coming up to lunchtime and Vanessa had made us all a sweet potato soup. Before eating it though, we got to shoot it! In the first shot, Vanessa held the big pot of soup as we all took it in turns to shoot. If I was a bit taller I think my shot would have been better, but I’m still pleased with it! It’s nice to get the essence of the cook in the image.
After lunch, we went out into her garden where she had her own vegetable patch. We paired up and took it in turns to shoot a variety of vegetables which was great fun!
The next course of the day was dessert! My favourite! Vanessa had styled a variety of sweet things and let us snap away!
Overall the day was amazing and so worth the money! I learnt a great deal mainly about styling the food and dressing it up with props. Here are some tips that I took away with me and would like to pass onto food photographers just starting out:
Find a style that you like, and use it to inspire your own images. In a similar way to how an artist practises drawing using other artists’ images, you could use images from recipe books and food magazines. You should find that your own ideas and style begin to develop.
Borrow props from friends and family or look in local DIY stores for wall paper samples, tiles and lino. Scrap yards or furniture stores are also good for wooden backgrounds.
It’s all about those subtle details. Add icing sugar to a pie/cake to make it look homemade. Read the recipe of the dish you’re photographing and have some of the ingredients in the frame. Add fresh herbs to a dish to add colour and a sense of freshness.
Practise using ready meals and shop bought foods. After all, you don’t want to spend ages cooking and baking to then not feel up to photographing it!