Behind The Scenes of The Summer Bounty Photography Workshop and My Nectarine and Vanilla Cake Recipe
If you are pondering on attending a styling and photography workshop but you are not sure of the value or the contents of my courses you have come to the right place.
In this blog post, I reveal the behind the scene of ours last workshop, again a sold-out, and how we make sure our student have a fun day and go home with the most effective techniques possible.
I still remember my day at university in Italy, where all was so abstract and academical to make you feel you had applied for a rocket science course, not an art course! I couldn’t help myself but think that must have been another, more effective way to teach.
So, I tailored my workshop to be approachable, with smooth and clear instructions, and actionable techniques that create clarity and not overwhelm!
And, our last one day workshop with Kimberly TheLittlePlantation, has been organized with the scope of giving to our students lots of creative inspiration to go home with and a clear structure to make it possible for them to repeat basic and more advanced techniques within their style.
This is the ethos for both of us. We want our student to feel independent artists, empower their creativity rather than teaching them a “cut and paste” standard aesthetic that goes on repeat student after student.
In this workshop, we aimed for our clients to create a natural, effortlessly, and organically styled storytelling, and help them gain a solid understanding of the founding principles of composition. We like to keep this kind of workshop limited to 4 students only to give undivided attention to each of them.
Continuously being creative in this fast-paced world of social media can be daunting even for well-established bloggers. Creating a group workshop, we also created a nurturing day for our students to exchange creative visions to enrich their aesthetic and the perception of food photography. Is a valuable bonus for all of us ( even for Kimberly and me as teachers) to have the opportunity to style with other passionate creatives for a whole day!
How the day unfolds
The workshop starts downstairs at the wooden table with a nice tea and the most lovely chocolate snack by goldenballs.co. We do a brief presentation to warm up the students and create ease within the group.
We then move straight to create the first styling for the storytelling. We choose to start with 2 ingredient shots to fully focus the attention on the process and techniques.
With these easiest stylings, we create the foundation for the next more advanced steps, and we explain our storytelling process. We reveal how to create an enticing and diverse set of photographs that are cohesive and tell an interesting story about our cake.
This is probably the part that excite me the most, as turns always to be revelation for most of my students to see and understand how doable is to create a really good photograpic sequence of a recipe.
Hands on experience
After the preliminary shots that sets the tone for the storytelling as well as explaining the way we organise our work, the students are invited to do their own flat lay of my cake before assembling. They have full ownership of their styling, me and Kimberly only peep in to see if they have been stuck and to acnowledge the final result and maybe tidy up some very small details.
This below is the result our students came up with!
The choice of ceramics they made was a pleasant surprise to us, the dark plates make a huge difference in the look of the cakes nicely contrasting with their light colour. Sucha great job they have done!
Building storytelling that works
After eating the delicious vegan lunch made from scratch by Kimberly, we return to the storytelling. Our aim is for the students to learn how to narrate the cake in a way that is relevant to the recipe process and enticing for the audience. I explain what works and what doesn’t, how to choose props, colours and linens.
We also explore how the student different cameras and lenses work helping them to adjust the styling to their own gear for the best results, so everyone go home with the shots that has been dreaming of.
Within the storytelling, we also teach our students how to incorporate the human element, movement, and the elements that make recipe storytelling unique.
Also, we reveal our process of building a cohesive sequence of stylings, how to save time, and how to be creative and never repetitive while also well organized.
Learning how to shoot a large collection of images from one single recipe is crucial for when you start having several clients, or if your time for shooting is restricted for any reason, to create as much content as possible in one single session. Still having fun and creating rich and creative photos that inspires you and your audience!
OUR STUDENTS LEARNED
truly explore the boundaries of THEIR creativity,
be inspired by the colours and flavours of the season
hone food styling and food photography skills
create stylish, effortless looking food images
gain a solid, technical understanding of styling and composition
get a sense of how to prepare to work on a professional food set
create a storytelling that communicate and inspire
how to make a shoot and styling research beforehand so the shooting day can flow with ease
Editing the work
We completed the day with a solid hour of work on Lightroom, learning straightforward editing skills. Editing is crucial to deliver the unique personal style and to create the mood for the recipe and the season.
Kimbelry held the lesson giving clear step by step directions to correct different images for a cohesive final look, for trubleshooting lens abberation and how to work with light/shadow and colours. As well as more advanced tips.
Our Students are now lready to leave with a solid foundation for their food photography and generous goody bags by our sponsors!
And so before getting to the recipe, I own a HUGE thank you to our incredible sponsors.
WEARETRIBE natural vegan and sugar-free sport nutrition and beyond (with compostable packagings!)
FIVE DOT BOTANICS purest natural skincare
NOM LIVING affordable hand made ceramics
AYSE fine art hand made lace-printed ceramics and more
JARR our favorite kombucha of all times
GOLDEN BALLS most delicious natural protein snacks
For this cake, you need a food processor and 2 cake tins of 15cm (6")circa diameter, mixing bowls and a saucepan.
Preparation time 10 min
Cooking time 20 min
Baking time 30-40 min
For the cake:
350 g white self raising spelt flour
90 g coconut or other sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp flax meal + 6 Tbsp water (90ml)
100 ml extra virgin olive oil (3 and 1/2 oz + 1/4 tsp)
250 ml almond or oat milk (8 and 1/2 oz + 1 Tbsp)
dash of vanilla extract
1 lemon the zest only
1/2 lemon the juice only ( 20ml circa or an abundant Tbsp)
For the Frosting
100 gr vegan white chocolate, melted
250 gr vegan butter
1 small necatrine 2 apricots (better if are not too juicy, if the peaches are very watery just use more apricots instead)
150 gr raw sugar (powdered for best results)
a dash of vanilla essence
For the frosting
-Carefully melt the white chocolate in a saucepan over a low flame wisking it constantly. Leave to cool down.
-Rinse and pulse the fruit into a paste.
-In a mixer with whisk attachment, whip the butter with sugar, peaches and add the cooled melted chocolate. Beat at high speed until all is incorporated and put in the fridge to set.
For the cake
- Turn the oven on at 180°C. Grease the 3 tins of 15cm (6") with olive oil.
- Mix the 2 Tbsp of flax seeds with the 6 spoons of water in a small glass. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together
- In a jar also mix the liquid ingredients together.
- Add the flax seeds to the liquid ingredients and incorporate with the dry, gently folding them together.
- Pass the batter equally into the 2 tins.
Cook for 30-40 minutes. And set aside to cool
When the cake is cool and the frosting set you can assemble your cake.
Cut the cakes top if are rounded and spread a generous amount of frosting on both cakes, add dome nectarines or apricot with the addition of some tart berries. Pile the 2 cakes together and decorate with more fruit and edible flowers.