Every once in a while… I like to take a little course to improve my food photography… and travel to a new place as well…
Actually, it has been well over two years since I last took a course related to Food Photography – back in 2011 I joined Meeta, Ilva, Jamie, and Jeanne for the first Plate to Page (P2P) workshop in Weimar Germany. Since then I had also gotten to know Simone, a fellow participant at P2P, and so was thrilled to hear when she and Meeta, along with Sandy announced a Food Photography workshop in the countryside of Almere, Netherlands. As you likely know, I am totally in love with photographing food and place, and welcome any opportunity to improve my craft, especially if it is in the presence of friends new and old
We ended up taking a couple days of ourselves for some sight-seeing first though, I love all the colors, the boats, the bikes, and the different brick homes each with a slightly different gable adorning them up top.
And of course we got to taste some gorgeous seafood at the beautiful restaurant Nevy overlooking the water…who could ask for better scenery than this?
One of my favorite aspects of a food photography workshop is all the available props and setups that are possible – at home it is often tough between scheduling and parenting and working to find the time to really devote to practicing a craft. Over the weekend, Daddy and the baby enjoyed the fresh air at the Lodge exploring and running around, while I got to hang out with a lovely group of women photographing some beautiful food in beautiful light.
I was teamed up with the lovely Scarlett of Fork and Flower from Zürich for the workshop’s exercises – it was an absolute joy to get to know her and create photos together. One of the main assignments was to tell a story through images of an ingredient from Noordmarkt market in Amsterdam – we were given the broad umbrella category of cheese – and while we saw myriad varieties from stands all throughout the market,
it was all the chèvre hand-made by Clara of Wolverlei Geitenhouderij en Kaasmakerij that really caught our eye. With all the textures and colors and flavors, we were instantly drawn in to the lure of all the different types of chèvre, and enjoyed meeting and chatting with Clara as she was so sweet and kind enough to let us snap a few photos and tell us about the cheeses she made.
Back at the Lodge, we started our styled shoots – Scarlett and I found an open barn with a plethora of light streaming in from one side and decided it was the perfect spot for our goat cheese. A couple (or maybe several) shots later, and we were still both totally enthralled with the beauty of cheese
So… what did I learn? This course was for me less about learning concrete skills and more about just having the confidence to trust myself and my choices when it comes to my photography. To acknowledge that I do have a style and a voice, and that it does show through in my images – it is no small thing to say to yourself, “I can do it!” and actually believe it. Photography is my passion, and being able to freeze a thing of beauty in an instant of time, immortalized forever – this is the stuff I live for.
What do I still need to work on? Paying enough attention to detail so I don’t have to clone out things like stray honey drizzles on the plate afterwards or mess with white balance forever, and bringing more context into my shots – figuring out how to capture sense of place along with making food look delicious is not a trivial goal, but something I very much wish to improve upon. And with that also comes needing to work on portraits and having the courage to introduce myself more to have more opportunities to photograph where food and culture meet.