So, we had a blast.
Now Aimee and my students know what means to have an intensive day workshop with me. I say what I mean and I mean what I say! ;)
It has been another great experience and love more and more teaching every time I do a course. Is just the fun, the connection. And to see all those creative minds cogitating for me is as exciting as could be for a child a giant ice cream.
Since I started styling I have been always curious about the techniques behind the great images I saw on Instagram and Pinterest. Never felt enough for me to just try to replicate a mood, a simple structure (aka triangles or rule of thirds) or a trow a nonsense mess hoping for a beautiful mess. I made my creative journey consciously a headache to understand why some pictures were outstanding while some others were just... meh.
Because if I was kind of ok with the idea of maybe never being the best. I have never been ok with the idea of being meh. But are you?
Is not about my style
Now I really want my students to be able to understand those techniques and structures and to work with light, so they can aim to build a style of their own. And as are established techniques they can be applied to any style without for the students to get off of my workshops feeling to be only able to copycat my own work.
And BTW copycat can be a formula to step out of your comfort zone especially if you are teaching yourself like I did.
Can be a kind of very first step if you are clever in the way you do it. But you need to move away from as fast as possible. Because the issue is not to be told off by the other creatives you get "inspired" by. The issue is that nobody will recognise you and your style, which over the time will only become a meagre imitation of someone else's good job.
Start the good work and start it now!
I can never be too repetitive when I advise my students to don't wait. Get into the work straight away to give roots to all that you have seen and listened to. Start taking photos, start to style them, start to edit them. Doesn't matter the result but you gotta have those creative juices moving or they will stagnate to death.
Don't get into the dieting mode. "I will start on Monday". No excuses, start now! Resistance is part of creativity and to beat it is part of becoming a professional.
How the workshop starts
After a tea and a brief presentation, Aimee guided the group through the 3 pillars of photographing in manual, and at the end of the workshop, we send the same exact notes to the students to make as easy as possible to digest the information.
And as we constantly revisit the manual settings with each person as we shoot, and over the course of the day, we keep this theory part short and sweet.
Learning how to style with a goal in mind
Straight after that, we start with styling some classic situations that involve brown food and scattered elements. Students learn how we compose the styling, how we choose backdrops and props, and how we think when we style professionally with a goal in mind. How to create a beautiful mess or another style that is meaningful and serves your purposes. And last but not least how to get the most out of your styling in terms of time and effort!
We had to shoot raw and cooked pies, cherries open sandwiches and a summery focaccia.
At the end of the morning, the students had half an hour to style a chickpeas salad with garden leaves and herbs. Working in groups they had to choose the backdrop, props and arrange the food. We gave very limited tips and guidance.
Once the 30 minutes were over we came and explained what they could have done better and what strenght their composition had.
This simple exercise helps to "solidify" the notions that the students have just seen and heard.
The Garden Brunch
Lunch time we moved into styling our own brunch! We actually hate at the table away from ants and spiders, but the idea was to show how a summer activity could have been styled and photographed before everyone would sit. And also with people actually sitting there. In this case we decided that the shot was more romantic without the human element
The brunch included a Matcha brownie made with tea by Matchaeologist , an Ethon mess cake, Jarr kombucha, a rice yoghurt lassi by La Cremerie, a pie and a truffle vinaigrette salad.
While we ate almost all these stuff above, we dived into editing the images, this bit is usually at the end of my workshops but as the light was so extremely bright and the temperatures so high we decided was better to stay fresh until 3 pm before getting into my studio again for the storytelling. We used the handmade ceramics from Nom Living to carry our food, sturdy and elegant. Perfect for a pic nic.
As we come to the end of the day, the last 2 hours have been dedicated to teaching how to build a consistent storytelling, including tips and tricks to make a working day as smooth and efficient as possible. The students learned how to shoot motion and once again we worked both flat lay and front shot but this time all merged in the same visual story.
As the last exercise, we decided to style my famous purple potatoes and white chocolate layered cake, you can find the recipe here!
And you can see the results of the shooting here below!
So before wrapping up this post, I want to thank the incredible sponsors that made our student's goody bags so awesome and the day so much more delicious with their products.
am so excited because all of these products are always in my pantry and I honestly love them all!
Matchaeologist for the purest ceremonial grade Matcha selection ever, they have a specific Matcha type for every occasion. I love the full bodied taste and is becoming my to go choice instead of coffee, with a boost of adaptogens in it is BOMB! With almond milk is a comforting mid-day pause.
La Cremerie, after making my yoghurt form years now I can relay on this beautiful rice yoghurt that is mild, naturally sweet and so refreshing. It makes the best vegan Lassi and I use it also for my cakes and creams in place of milk. Also the colours!!
Jarr kombucha is my non-alcoholic cocktail base for my adaptogens mocktails and is my boost for my early morning (I wake 5 am). The best kombucha in town, I promise! Jarr is still bottled by hand by the team in east London.
Nom Living for the most useful handmade props you can dream of, with beautiful textures that live well in most styling. I use them both in my styling than in my daily life as are not only rustic and elegant but sturdy and are oven and dishwasher safe too!
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