Roasted tomatoes ready for shoot, styled by Aran
photo by me
When Aran announced the workshop earlier this year, I jumped on the opportunity to learn from her, to improve my food photos and have a little 'me' day. But everything was so rushed, and I was wondering why I had added yet another thing to my schedule on my way to Montreal the day before M's party.
Radishes sliced thinly for salad, prepping ingredients, Aran shooting tomatoes
I got to the workshop 15 minutes late (this never happens to me!) and joined Aran, 12 women and Mayssam, who had managed to get Aran to Montreal. Aran started the day by going through her process, how she sets up her shoots, where she takes her photos and a little background on how she got to where she is today. Aran is very friendly, a little reserved and seems delicate - but with an added spark that you can see in her photos. I was trying to take everything in and to hear how she gets the photos she publishes on her blog.
Once Aran started preparing her shots I saw how the details matter. A photographer friend of mine had once told me that food photos are 80% about styling and only 20% about photography. I could see that happening here. You can't rush a photo, attention needs to be given to the food arrangement, the background, the herb placement, the fact that a radish looks better sliced thin, etc. This will be my main challenge, to find the time to prepare for a great photo and not taking a couple of pictures right before serving dinner.
Aran's computer for photo analysis, water and ingredients around the kitchen
While watching Aran, my head was going through my to-do list and I was getting a tad impatient with people asking about camera settings, software settings and so on - that was unfair of me. Everyone was taking this day to learn and take away something, and I was forgetting to do the same.
While I was flustered and didn't really have the head in the game, I do see 3 weeks later - relaxed after my vacation - that I picked up a lot of pointers for myself. Be it the importance of careful styling or a few details on lighting that I tend to rush, or even ignore. There is no magic formula to take a good photo, it's good preparation, the details, light and lot's of practice.
I want to use this post to thank Aran for her time, her knowledge, her wonderful talent in food photography and I want to apologize for not bringing my all when she was. I'll never look at a cut tomato quite the same way and there's always a pretty way to present a strawberry.
After lunch it was our turn to style and photograph. You can see my flustered attempts below.
Top photos: Photo by me, styling by Chrystelle and me
Middle photos: Trifle styling by Aran, table styling and photo by me
Bottom photo: Photo and styling by me
Both photos styled by Aran, photo taken with my iPhone